Ramakanta Biswas

Is Odisha witnessing a sharp decline in education standards? Well, the latest National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) ranking hints at a degrading trend in the education standard, particularly in the higher education.
The NIRF ranking for the year 2023 revealed that Odisha's state-run Utkal University has slipped to 93rd position in the latest ranking. The varsity stood at 8th position from the bottom among the 100 universities across the country with a score of 43.45. Last year, Utkal University was ranked 88th in the NIRF ranking. 

No other public university from Odisha has been featured in the top 100 university list released by the education ministry. Similarly, not a single college from the state found a place in the top 100 college list.   

The decline in the rank has triggered concern among the educationists in the State. Speaking on the NIRF ranking, educationist and former Director of NIT Rourkela Sunil Kumar Sarangi said, "The ranking varies every year, but we cannot term it degrading. We can say there is no visible improvement. We will be happy if there will be a noteworthy improvement in the ranking."

"However, I will say that due importance is not being given to education in Odisha. Most of the IITs in the country are doing well. If the methodology of IITs is fetching good results, what is the harm in adopting the methodology? Why the Odisha government is not adopting that?"

Sarangi further stated that the claims that the expenditure in IITs is better are not true. Bad administration ruins institute, he added. 

"If the government set the objective to improve the ranking next year, it can be achieved definitely. However, no one is interested in it. There must be some vested interest not to look into the matter," Sarangi concluded. 

Earlier, the premier State-run university was dropped from A+ to A in the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) grading. The varsity scored 3.16 Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) in the assessment to secure A grade.

The varsity was last accredited as A+ in an assessment by NAAC in 2016.

Coming to the NIRF ranking, the Ministry of Education released the ranking for the year 2023 on Monday. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has been declared the best educational institute under the overall category.

Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore got second position and Indian Institute of Technology, IIT-Delhi, was awarded third position in the same category.

All India Institute of Medical Science, AIIMS New Delhi was awarded the 5th position and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi got the 10th position in the overall category.

In the category of top ten Universities in the country, IISc, Bangalore is in First position and JNU in second position. Jamia Millia Islamia got 3rd position, Banaras Hindu University 5th position and Aligarh Muslim University bagged 9th position in this category.

The University of Hyderabad is also in 10th position in the same category. The Ministry announced ranking for several categories including Overall, Top ten Universities, Engineering, Pharmacy and Management.