MHRD launches National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)

MHRD has launched National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), would enable parents, students, teachers, educational institutions and other stakeholders to rank institutions on the basis of a set of objective parameters and a transparent process.

This framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country, which has been drawn from recommendations arrived at by a Core Committee set up by MHRD, to identify the broad parameters for ranking various universities and institutions.

The ranking framework is designed such that institutions belonging to different sectoral fields such as Engineering, Management etc. will be compared separately in their own respective peer groups. The framework will evaluate institutions on five parameters—teaching, learning and resources (TLR); research, professional practice and collaborative performance (RPC); graduation outcome (GO); outreach and inclusivity (OI); and perception (PR) of end users. Each of these has been further subdivided to comprehensively assess an institute.

It is felt that this Framework caters to Indian Academic Atmosphere by considering diversity and inclusiveness apart from excellence in teaching learning and research as a parameter for ranking of the Institutions. This will also be a step forward in starting a new era of accountability in higher education in the country.

The Framework is presently available for engineering and management institutions. The methodologies, parameters and process for ranking universities along with architecture and planning institutions would be developed during the course of time.

EduLegaL View:

Our Higher Education System currently has NAAC and NBA as Accreditation Agency, which evaluates institutions on scientific parameters. Here comes another Ranking Parameter and Process. Another sort of burden on the Higher Education System.

Instead of developing new framework, it would have been more prudent to strengthen and consolidate the existing system of Accreditation. The CGPA achieved on Accreditation can also be used to create Rankings within the Institutions rather than asking the Institutions to participate in a new process.

Well the Argument continues !

Now a Master’s Degree in Vocational Education

In a major boost to Vocational Education, UGC following the introduction of Bachelor’s Degree in Vocational Education [B.Voc], has now specified Master’s Degree in Vocational Education.

Earlier, in the year 2012, under the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework / National Skill Qualification Framework, UGC had specified Bachelor’s Degree in Vocational Education paving way to pursue degree course in different trades. UGC also from time to invites proposal for conducting various courses under B.Voc. Programmes in different skill based trades.

UGC recently in exercise of its powers under section 22 [3] of the UGC Act, 1956 has specified a new Degree, Master in Vocational Education [M.Voc.]. The Gazette Notification dated 23rd July 2015, which amends the earlier Gazette published on 5th July 2014 regarding specification of degree introduces a 2 year Master’s Course in Vocational Education. UGC has also specified that entry eligibility for this Master’s Course shall be Bachelor’s Degree in Vocational Education.

Indian Government has taken several intitiatives in recent times to boost the skill sector by introducing National Skill Development Mission, National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 2015, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) scheme and the Skill Loan scheme.

EduLegaL View:

The introduction of Master’s Degree in Vocational Education will strengthen the vocational education sector and will allow the students having achieved bachelor’s degree in vocational sector to have further specialization in their chosen trade. This is a kind of a specialization hierarchy, which is very common in our education system, like MD after MBBS, MBA after BBA. This step also recognizes the need and importance of Vocational Education in transforming an economy.

Ravi Bhardwaj |

Distance Education Certifications now valid for Government Employment

In a big departure from its earlier stand, the Centre has notified in July 25 Notification that degrees, diplomas and certificates granted by universities through open and distance-learning mode of education for programmes including technical education would now be considered valid for Government Employment.

Earlier, all the concerned regulators MHRD, UGC and AICTE had barred universities and other higher-educational institutions from offering diploma, bachelors and postgraduate courses in engineering and technology other than MBA and MCA through distance-learning. In fact some State / State Open Universities were seriously reprimanded by UGC / DEB for imparting technical education through Distance Education Mode.

However, Madhav Menon Committee had advocated that recognition of technical education qualification from distance education mode is consistent with National Policy of Education and should be allowed by using Study Learning Material for theory component, face-to-face / e-learning for interaction and compulsory practical component for development of requisite skill. Regular face-to-face counselling sessions during weekends should be used for clarification and removal of doubts. Laboratory experiments could be conducted in AICTE recognized colleges taking into account the physical infrastructure and human resource required for the purpose.

Higher Education in our country has experienced substantial growth however has failed to scale upto the required strengths more so because it is highly dependent on conventional education, which is highly capital-intensive. The need of the hour is to develop an alternative mode of education to supplement the conventional education system, through policy initiatives to facilitate the expansion of higher education sector for the fulfillment of aspirations of those who are deprived of pursuing it for whatever reason and recognising the qualifications earned through distance education for employability is certainly one of such policy initiatives.

The Notification reads as under:

“The central government hereby notifies that all the degrees/diplomas/certificates including technical education degrees and diplomas awarded through open and distance learning mode of education by the universities established by an Act of Parliament or state legislature, institutions deemed to be universities under section 3 of the UGC Act 1956 and Institution of National Importance declared under an Act of Parliament stand automatically recognised for the purpose of employment to posts and services under the central government provided they have been approved by the UGC”

The proposed Distance Education Council Bill, 2014 also makes provisions for technical education within the scope of Distance Education and the proposed Council has representations from AICTE and other technical / professional regulators.

Notification – Recognition of ODL mode degrees for the purpose of employment under Central Government

EduLegal View:

This is a big step towards encouragement of distance education in the country and so also to alleviate doubts relating to the recognition of distance education qualification. It is also consistent with National Policy of Education, as present rigid entry requirements to formal courses restricting the access of a large segment of people to technical and managerial education is restricting the GER and therefore programmes through open and distance- learning processes, including use of the mass media should be encouraged and one of the means of encouragement is to recognise the qualifications earned through distance education mode.