NIRF Ranking Shakes the B School World!



For survival and further excellence, B schools will have to address the core of education, research and employability as highlighted in NIRF ranking methodology. Will have to  cut down on strategies of gaming on the fringe and  mere brand building for attracting students with hollow hallmarks. 

Anxiety and excitement surrounded the release of NIRF 2019 ranking, its 4th on higher education institutions since its first ranking came in 2016.  NIRF has created flutters in the higher education arena drawing every institutions to the board room, be it universities, colleges, IITs or IIMs, govt. or private institutions for review and chalking the way forward, some dismayed with awe, others in gloom as they doomed. It is no exaggeration that NIRF has shaken the institutions across disciplines and has created a new paradigm for measuring excellence and quality. The ranking results show that barring few of the top institutions which are old and have established credentials, rest of the institutions need to  re-calibrate their  priorities and focus on creating value through right and relevant curriculum, teaching- learning process, rich intellectual pool with teaching and research abilities, invest  resources while keeping students in the center. Ironically, priority of many institutions in past decade has been on working on the peripheries and creating hollow branding to attract students and neglecting  few of the above important academic pursuits. This trend has been encouraged by the sudden spurt of private ranking agencies across the country, few national level and others regional or even state level.

In the management education category, it is a jolt this year for the premier IIM Ahmedabad to see itself dethroned to second place from the first of NIRF 2018 and several other rankings over the years  by IIM Bangalore.. IIM A is not alone in making headlines for the dip  this year as central university like Delhi University also went down to 13h rank in the university category.  The top 6 ranks in management include 5 IIMs,  one IIT  (IIT Kharagpur).  XLRI is the only private B school to be found in Top 10 at rank 7. Among the top 25 ranked institutions it is IIMs, IITs and NITs only,  except for XLRI, MDI, S P Jain, Great Lakes, NMIMS and Symbiosis which are private institutions. These private institutions in rankings other than NIRF,  figure among the top rungs. Among IIMs,  28th rank is the lowest which is of IIM Ranchi which is a relatively new IIM.  To the dismay of many,  one time favorites and otherwise ranked higher, two other govt. institutions, IIFT and FMS Delhi have  moved down to 31st and 36th ranks respectively in NIRF. Even among the private institutions, few like IMT Ghaziabad (41), IMI Delhi (27), TAPMI (33), K J Somaiya (54) and others which figure amongst the top ranked institutions otherwise are much lower in NIRF rankings.

NIRF having a credible methodology and has evolved as an objective measure over the years  thus showing mirrors to the institutes around few of the critical parameters which are important  for higher education in every discipline. For example in the management category, it has incorporated in its ranking methodology, Teaching, Learning & Resources (TLR); Research and Professional Practice (RPP); Graduation Outcome (GO); Outreach and Inclusivity (OI) and Perception. The ranking methodology and parameters and the process adopted are quite different from the other ranking agencies which many a times are found to be subjective and biased. The latter  have numerous categories under each stream unlike NIRF where every type of institutions is clubbed under one stream only.

The overall score and parameter scores of NIRF ranked institutions throw a picture very different in color than they are  often  believed and show a wide divide and variations in strengths and status of the 75 ranked institutions. On the top IIM B has overall score of 81.34 out of 100 followed by a sharp dip in the score of rank 4 IIM Lucknow which is at 67.29,  a difference of  14.05 score indicating significant strength gap between the top and 4th place. IIM L loses out to IIM Bangalore across all parameters but most significantly in research, (RPP: -20.5), Perception(-30.43) and Outreach and Inclusivity(OI; -15.54. IIM A fell short of Bangalore in teaching learning (TLR), OI and Perception though it is ahead of the latter in RPP by 2.73 score. XLRI  at 6th rank in the list of 75 ranked schools, is the first private B  school and  is lower by 15.61 points of IIM B score, research is lower by 26.09 score and perception by 54 points.  MDI at 12th rank, the second private B school is lower by 19.45 points overall and  approx. 20 points less in RPP of IIM B  whereas the third private school,  S P Jain at 16th rank is 25.67 points lower overall and 38.8 (!!!)  points lesser than IIM B in RPP. Further by the 27th ranked schools, the overall score is lesser by 29.17 points, by 50th rank the difference is of 36.62 score and at 75th rank it is lower by 42.14 points of the top.  The RPP (research) below IIML, MDI and few others as exceptions,  fall in range of scores, mere 9 to 19 and dips further in the range of 1 to 4 score for  50 and below ranked schools. This shows high variances in quality research and publications. One of the prime reasons for a university like DU even  is poor research which has slipped to 13th rank this year. The other large variation can be seen in the Perception parameter indicating stakeholders’ perception where the scores vary from 100 to 1.  TLR which measures the faculty – student ratio, quality of faculty, total budget &  its utilization and  GO which measures passed out graduates, placements, median salary, pursuing higher education and entrepreneurship also  have a major impact on the rankings of the institutes. While some of the high ranked institutions have TLR in the range of 100-80, the rest are in range of 60-80.  This variation  in TLR is indicative of the quality of  faculty resources employed ( academic credentials, research,  Ph. D/non Ph. D, experience) which vary even within IIMs,  not to talk of the variance between  the top 20-30 institutes and middle & bottom rung of 75 institutes. IIM Rohtak ranked 23rd has TLR of 59.9 as against the top rung IIMs having TLR score above 90.  TLR has been highlighted as one the key reasons for DU’s downfall as well as it faces severe faculty crunch due to no regular appointments for some years now. A high TLR also indicates the long term intent of the institute as it counts for the proportion of capital expenses of the total budget and this ids found to be missing in many B schools.  GO varies in scores from 60 to 90 and this implies the variation that the B schools show in the number of placements and the CTC\.  While IIMs take lead here with scores of 90 plus, private institutes MDI, SP Jain too do well. However, others in the list will have to really aspire for more and ensure  that they create skills and parity with  industry needs.

The 2019 NIRF ranking of 75 B schools clearly brings out three clusters. First, the top 3 IIMs (B, A & C with scores of 79.05, 80.61 & 81.34 respectively) with narrow score range are tipped for high order competition across parameters with global aspirations. Second cluster can be considered having other IIMs and few private select B schools in the rank band of 4-31 where scores lie between 50-70 (wide variation) and institutes need to focus around research, perception, TLR, GO, OI, sequence indicating the order of their priority for future efforts. The third cluster can be identified that of private b schools, both autonomous and private university run which fall below 30th rank and  the score range is 40-50 ( the score differences between schools are in decimals). This cluster typically characterizes low research, low perception, relatively low TLR, GO and OI. Something astonishing is that few of the institutions from the third and second cluster are found amongst the top B schools ranked in other rankings, hence  raising question mark on their objectivity and neutrality. Not that the NIRF methodology or its  parameter are  without questions. For instance, it combines govt. supported and private institutions together, institutions of huge differences in age and scale, institutions which are standalone or part of university are also clubbed together. A university linked B school or a 50 year old institution would have its own impact on their ranking as compared to stand alone or a newer institution.   Similarly too much focus on research and neglect of other impacts institutions create on society, industry and others can be questioned. Further, aspects like the value system they disseminate in youngsters, the long term and global  intent new B schools carry for their future, identifying their unique and best practices, internationalization, rural immersion and industry connect are few important elements which are missing from the  parameters in the NIRF ranking and should be considered. However, the moot question remains is,  will B schools in the country wake up to NIRF standards focusing  on the core issues of value creation or will they continue frittering  away on the fringes (for brand building out of nothing), addressing to the needs of various rankings and accreditations while remaining hollow in teaching-learning, skill development, industry readiness, placements, CTC and other ?  It is these latter type  B schools gaming  on the fringes which shall shake out of this NIRF rankings and other quality initiatives in the higher education sector.




“ Socio- Cultural & Economic perspective of Empowering women and Child Health”“5E 9D NUT+ GEN” – A Suggestive model 


Understanding the importance of a good child health for human development  especially in a country like India where dividend of healthy human capital is very high for its growth, the theme of  the sessions “ Socio- Cultural & Economic perspective of Empowering women and Child Health” brings about child health into focus.  As can be understood, the session through its deliberations  is attempting  to explore the assurance of good child health by empowering women as a change agent  looking at the socio-cultural & economic perspective of an ecosystem.

The  authors  in their presentation have  first brought  out  healthy nutrition as a critical input for ensuring good child health which has been explained  while deliberating  in the  background the meaning, size and impact of malnutrition in any society, which is quite significant requiring a holistic approach for its eradication.

With the objective  of eradication of malnutrition in the society to ensure good child health, the authors have proposed a suggestive model  drawing cues from real life cases and mythological beliefs in society,  “5E 9D NUT+ GEN”. The model has following key tenets:

  • Model has a Socio – Cultural, Economic & Other Context
  • Model reinforces integrated approach including every Stakeholder
  • Emphasizes efficiency and effectiveness of the Channel

 focusing  on  

  • Empowering Women  (5E9D)
  • Nutrition plus Hygiene ( NUT+)
  • Genuity (GEN)

As is mentioned, the model  “5E 9D NUT+ GEN” advocates of Hygiene in addition to Nutrition to beneficiaries , assured through an integrated approach around a given ecosystem focusing on Empowering women and Genuity.

socio cultural eco perspective on women emp and child health

Women Emp and Child Health Background


Higher Education and Human Development : A Study from India



Dr. Rajiv R Thakur, Dean –Development & Professor Strategy, BIMTECH, Noida

Mr.  Ankit Mishra, BIMTECH, Noida

Unlike the popular belief, development of any country is not economic alone; rather it is measured by the people and their capabilities.  Human Development Index (HDI), a measure of development initiated by UNDP includes knowledge, a long healthy life and decent living standard of people. Amongst the top ten countries in HDI 2018, a country like Singapore  ranked 9th  under HDI has 38th  ranking in terms of nominal GDP and the number 1 HDI ranked country Norway is at 28th rank in terms of  nominal GDP. Contrarily, the US which is no 1 in nominal GDP terms is at 13th position in HDI rank.  Such findings and more  suggest that economic policies have varied impact on the development of people and their  capabilities, a higher level economic growth does not necessarily have a higher positive impact on people.

In this paper, further  focus is on analyzing the status of higher education contributing to knowledge creation  across states of the country and comparing it with the development status. The objective is to understand the kind of impact knowledge has on the development status of different  states in the country. The preliminary finding from AISHE report shows a state like Kerala having Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER)  of 36% in the year 2017-18 and the Development index 2017-18 is found to be at 0.78 which is much ahead of the many other states. On the other hand a state like Bihar which had 13 % GER in 2017-18 is having Human Development Index at 0.56 much less than Kerala. Further in- depth stud suggest that there is a significant role of knowledge creation towards human development. The paper delves over the status of higher education in India and its state wise variations and draws up priorities to improve the status of higher education for a long term sustainable impact on human development


Human Development Index (HDI) by UNDP explains human development combining three aspects namely, knowledge, long healthy life and decent living standard of people.  Unlike the popular belief, development of any country is not economic alone. The difference between economic development and human development can be very well explained by looking at the empirical data of GDP levels (economic) and HDI index (development) of few countries. Amongst the top ten countries in HDI 2018, a country like Singapore, which ranked 9th under HDI has 38th ranking in terms of nominal GDP and the number 1 HDI ranked country Norway is at 28th rank in terms of nominal GDP. Contrarily, the US which is no 1 in nominal GDP terms is at 13th position in HDI rank. These data show that rich and advanced countries measured in terms of GDP alone do not guarantee higher level of human development in those countries, the US being one of the foremost examples.  Countries ranking lower in GDP terms like Singapore or Norway have higher human development index thus indicating that there are more factors to development in human society than the economic side of it.  India which is 6th largest country in terms of nominal GDP  is poorly ranked at 130th rank in human development as per  HD Index.  India’s neighbor Sri Lanka though at 66th position in terms of nominal GDP ranking is above India at 76th rank in HDI ranking. These make the difference more clear and visible,

It is therefore important to understand that HDI, a comprehensive index as a measure of development indicates the limitations of measuring a country’s development on economic parameter alone and thereby necessitating study of the impact of other factors such as health and knowledge as per HDI index on human development.  Of the three factors, impacting people development and their capabilities as per HDI, knowledge is one of the three. This paper focuses on analyzing the role of knowledge (education) and its impact on people development in different states of India.  Further the paper has focused on higher education only as far knowledge creation is concerned. The objective is to understand whether knowledge (education) makes an impact or no and if it does what kind of impact it has. More importantly, it is the attempt of the paper to understand the status of higher education in India and its state wise variations measured under certain parameters.  This shall help policy makers to redraw the priorities to improve the status, particularly in those states which are lagging behind and getting adversely impacted in development.

Measuring Development

The GDP or Gross Domestic Product of a country provides a measure of the monetary value of the goods and services that country produces in a specific year. This measurement is an important aspect of economic analysis prevalent today. At an individual level, Per capita income (PCI) or average income measures the average income earned per person in a given area (city, region, country, etc.) in a specified year. It is calculated by dividing the area’s total income by its total population. The parameter shows the average income individuals of a country have. Beyond these macro and micro measurements of economy, Gini coefficient is a measure which is a single number aimed at measuring the degree of inequality in the distribution of income in a nation. It is used to measure how far a country’s wealth or income distribution deviates from a totally equal distribution. This index is used and measured in 157 countries of the world.

With times, thinking on measuring human development evolved into more holistic measures. It was increasingly felt that material well-being is important, but it is also important to enjoy sufficient well-being in things like community, culture, governance, knowledge and wisdom, health, spirituality and psychological welfare, a balanced use of time, and harmony with the environment. This thinking brought forward the measurement concept of Gross National Happiness (GNH) in the 1970s. GNH is a much richer objective than GDP or economic growth. How we are doing as a society or nation is an important question in GNH. This index is used and measured in 156 countries of the world.

Increasing concern for environmental sustainability has brought the concept of Green GDP. It is a term used for expressing GDP after adjusting for environment degradations. Green GDP is an attempt to measure the growth of an economy by subtracting the costs of environmental damages and ecological degradations from the GDP. Further, recently a measurement Global Peace Index (GPI) has been introduced which measures the relative position of nations’ and regions’ peacefulness. The GPI ranks 163 independent states and territories according to their levels of peacefulness. The GPI starts with the same personal consumption data that the GDP is based on, but then makes some crucial distinctions. It adjusts for factors such as income distribution, adds factors such as the value of household and volunteer work, and subtracts factors such as the costs of crime and pollution.

On the other hand, Human Development Index (HDI) measuring human development, the index in focus in this paper is a statistical tool used to measure a country’s overall achievement in its social and economic dimensions. The social and economic dimensions of a country are based on their level of educational attainment, the health of people and their standard of living.  Human Development Index (HDI) is calculated as (Life Expectancy Index X Education Index X Income Index) 1/3. The new Human Development Index (HDI) is geometric mean of Life Expectancy Index (LEI), Education Index (EI) and Income Index (II). After this calculation total value lies between 0 and 1. As per the values gained, countries are placed in the list of the division of countries. They are divided into very high human development, high human development, medium high human development and low high human development countries.

Education Index assessment

Higher education is found to be effective in enhancing the human capabilities and their productivity levels and add up to the desired outcomes of economic growth and development. It has an impact on socio-economic and development of a country and has an influence on raising the quality of human life and capital. Nelson Mandela believes that instruction is the most powerful weapon to change the world. Instruction is considered extendedly a real tool to reinforce commercial growth social and private cases. As per him, advanced instruction is the most important factor in stable human improvement.

One of the three measurements in HDI is the education index assessment. Until the year 2009, knowledge and education used to be measured by the adult literacy rate and the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER). However with the new index, Education Index assessment is composite of two indices, namely Mean Years of Schooling Index (MYSI) and Expected Years of Schooling Index (EYSI). In the present paper the gross enrolment ratio (GER), yardstick used until 2009 for measuring education levels  has been used to study the impact of education on development in the states of India.

Of the seven states in India picked  up in Table 1 Maharashtra leads in GDP terms with Rs 24.96 lakh crores in the year 2017-18. Uttar Pradesh one of largest states in the country is at Rs 13.75 lakh crores GDP. Odissa is at the bottom and Bihar is a notch higher at Rs 4.87 lakh crore.  GDP levels  in 2009-10 remained in similar order across these states. If GDP measuring  economic prosperity of states were alone the criteria for development, Maharashtra state should have been at the top followed by U.P. However, looking at development from a holistic prism of HDI, within India across these states, GDP size does not necessarily have a direct and positive impact on human development. For instance states with higher GDP such as Maharashtra, U.P., having relatively bigger size GDP as compared to Kerala are lower in Human Index levels. While Kerala amongst the three states tops HDI at 0.784 ( with GDP  of Rs. 7.47 Lakh Crores ), Maharashtra and U.P. having much higher GDP sizes ( Rs 24.96 and Rs 13.75 Lakh crs) have  HDI at 0.695 and 0.583 respectively which are much lower than Kerala. Jharkhand which has a lesser size GDP than Bihar is much higher than it in HDI. Odissa also is ahead in HDI from Bihar even though it is almost similar in GDP size.  These suggest that economic policies alone have varied impact on the development of people and their capabilities, a higher level economic growth does not necessarily have a higher positive impact on the development of people. There is a definite role of other factors as indicated in the HD index such as health and education.


State GDP in ₹ lakh crore

(2017-18 est.)

GDP in ₹ lakh crore


Human development Index (2017-18) Human development Index (2009-10)
Kerala 7.47 2.31 0.784 0.732
Maharashtra 24.96 8.55 0.695 0.651
Andhra Pradesh 7.54 4.76 0.643 0.581
Bihar 4.87 1.62 0.566 0.511
Jharkhand 2.55 1.006 0.589 0.572
Oddisa 4.15 1.62 0.597 0.533
Uttar Pradesh 13.75 5.23 0.583 0.529
India 129.85 61.08 0.640 0.570

Table 1.

(Data from CMIE, Wikipedia,,, AISHE,

 Education and Human Development

The findings from All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2017-18 report shows a state like Kerala having Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) of 36% and the Development index 2017-18 is found to be at 0.78 which is much ahead of the many other states. On the other hand a state like Bihar which has 13 % GER is having Human Development Index at 0.56 much less than Kerala. Increase in Human Development Index in the year 2017-18 of Bihar state over 2009-10 is also meager at 0.05 in spite of being at a low base level as compared to other states.  These data suggest a relationship and role of knowledge creation towards human development.

Maharashtra though top most state in terms of GDP amongst the states listed in Table 1 but lags behind Kerala in HDI ranking and one of the reason apparent could be lower GER at 31.2% in 2017-18 as compared to Kerala with GER of 36.2%. Andhra Pradesh  having much less GDP than Uttar Pradesh has a higher HDI ranking which possibly is impacted by the higher GER of 30.9% as compared to 25.9 % of Uttar Pradesh. Bihar at the  bottom of the HDI ranking in the table has also got the lowest GER of 13 %. Jharkhand a relatively new state carved out of Bihar has a higher GER of 18% and also scores a higher HDI rank at 0.589

State GDP in ₹ lakh crore

(2017-18 est.)

GDP in ₹ lakh crore


Human development Index (2017-18) Human development Index (2009-10) GER (2017-18) GER


Kerala 7.47 2.31 0.784 0.732 36.2% 13.1%
Maharashtra 24.96 8.55 0.695 0.651 31.2% 21.4%
Andhra Pradesh 7.54 4.76 0.643 0.581 30.9% 16.9%
Bihar 4.87 1.62 0.566 0.511 13% 11%
Jharkhand 2.55 1.006 0.589 0.572 18% 9.4%
Orrisa 4.15 1.62 0.597 0.533 22% 11.3%
Uttar Pradesh 13.75 5.23 0.583 0.529 25.9% 10.9%
India 129.85 61.08 0.640 0.570 25.8% 15%


(Data from CMIE, Wikipedia,, AISHE,

It is evident from the above analysis that GER in higher education has an impact on the human development and has a positive relationship. States with higher GER are showing higher HDI ranking, though latter doesn’t necessarily move in the direction of  GDP movements. Globally across, a similar trend is found to be prevailing at national level.   From Table 3,   it can be inferred that Norway with HDI rank 1 has 99 % literacy rate with 80.55% GER in higher education and a high education index of .915. Germany in top 5 HDI rankings again has 99 % literacy rate with 0.94 education index though the higher education GER is 68.33%. Pakistan which has 150th HDI rank has a low literacy rate of 58% and a lower education index of 0.411 and an abysmally low GER in higher education at 10.12%. Amongst the countries in Indian Sub-continent countries listed in Table 3 India at 130th HDI ranking is shade better in literacy rate at 74.04%, education index of 0.566 and GER of 25.8% in higher education. This implies that across countries there is a movement in same direction in education and the development levels of people.


Countries Literacy rate Education Index Higher education GER HDI Index and rank
Norway 99%(2014)  0.915 80.55% 0.953        (1)
Germany 99%(2014)  0.940 68.33% 0.936        (5)
Singapore 97%(2014)  0.832 83.94% 0.932        (9)
Finland 100%(2017)  0.905 86.99% 0.920       (15)
India 74.04% (2011)  0.566 25.8% 0.640      (130)
Bhutan 71.4%(2017) 0.445 27.02% 0.612      (134)
Bangladesh 72.76%(2016) 0.508 17.62% 0.608      (136)
Pakistan 58%(2017) 0.411 10.12% 0.562      (150)


(Data source: country website, Economic survey, UNESCO and UNDP)

Few of significant findings from AISHE report suggest the positive relationship between the higher education in Indian states and development of people. Few of the relevant findings can be listed as:

  1. Kerala has the highest GER and consequently have higher HDI as compared to all other states.
  2. As compared to 2009, in 2017 Kerala’s GER has improved immensely and so has it’s HDI over the period.
  3. All other states except Bihar has seen improvement more than 9% on an average in their GER which has a positive  impact on their HDI
  4. Bihar, despite its low performance in improving GER has improved drastically in HDI which can be explained because of improvements in its economy and health over a very low base considering that the state is quite backward in each of these parameters.
  5. One thing to note here is that the change in 2017 over 2009 of HDI in Kerala and Bihar both is quite  closer to each other despite having huge difference in change in GER of both states. This anomaly can be explained because of the low base in all three parameters in case of Bihar and improvements over a period on these parameters yielded a higher rate of growth.
  6. In country wise data, the impact of education Index can be seen on HDI of the country. This is applicable to almost all countries.
  7. Countries having higher GER have higher education Index ( Germany being an exception) which contribute to higher  HDI .
  8. Huge differences in GER in countries like Norway and India also has large differences in education Index.

 Status of Higher Education in India

 In order to understand variations in education levels and development levels measured by Development index in the indicated states in India, the study has focussed on the AISHE data reflecting upon the status of higher education across these states. Table 4. shows the  number of institutions in the states, their growth over last 5 years and number of colleges per lakh population.  The most developed of these  states as per HDI index has the highest number of colleges per lakh of population in 2017-18 and the growth of  university  over last 5 years have also been highest at 5.22% . Bihar the lowest in HDI index has just 14 colleges per lakh of population and the growth rate of universities in last 5 years have been just 3.41%  and colleges 2.27% . Remaining states show a corresponding trend between HDI levels and the number of colleges per lakh of population. States those have been proactive in providing opportunities for education to its people have seen higher GER and hence better education possibilities translating into better human development. It is evident that GER is also dependent on certain factors like density of educational Institute in the region, disciplines offered, quality of education in the institutions, facilities provided by institutions and also the participation of stakeholders in general.

Table 5 shows GER growth over years keeping very low in development lagging states like Bihar and states like Kerala having taken lead in growth of GER over the years. However states like Jharkhand has caught up in GER growth rates but for them reaching the desired level is also a humongous task. What is equally concerning is that economically prosperous states like Maharashtra is lagging behind with a very low growth rate in GER which is not a healthy sign for the development of its people. Similarly the larger states like Uttar Pradesh are also quite low on growth of GER which would further arrest its efforts to develop.

Pupil Teacher ratio is another critical parameter to measure the effectiveness and quality of education having deeper impact on outcomes. Backward states like Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh  have a highly adverse ratio of  67, 59 and  60 respectively whereas states like Kerala and Maharashtra have better ratio than national average of 30 having a ratio of  20 and 27 respectively. Incidentally states like Andhra Pradesh and Oddisha are having favourable pupil teacher ratio  though in other parameters of education they are lagging behind.

What is most intriguing is the growth of teacher recruitment over last 5 years in backward states of Bihar, Oddisha, Uttar Pradesh which has been negative,  raising question over the priority of education in their policy, it  being the most critical tool for people development.

Parameter 1 Institution

States/parameter Total(2017-18) Specialization


Growth(last 5 yr average) College/lakh(2017-18)
Kerala 1759 Agriculture: 4

Engineering: 101

Management: 26

Medical: 149


Univ.: 5.22%

College: 3.29%



Maharashtra 6318 Agriculture: 104

Engineering: 233

Management: 95

Medical: 220

Univ.: 4.77%

College: -0.98%

Andhra Pradesh 3446 Agriculture: 17

Engineering: 223

Management: 38

Medical: 195

Univ.: 6.15%

College: 0.63%

Bihar 930 Agriculture: 6

Engineering: 28

Management: 2

Medical: 25

Univ.: 3.41%

College: 2.27%

Jharkhand 395 Agriculture: 00

Engineering: 15

Management: 2

Medical: 13

Univ.: 15.32%

College: 2.30%

Orrisa 1423 Agriculture: 00

Engineering: 65

Management: 26

Medical: 40

Univ.: 4.61%



Uttar Pradesh 7849 Agriculture: 13

Engineering: 114

Management: 77

Medical: 103

Univ.: 5.25%

College: 6.30%


 Table 4.

Data source: AISHE reports

 Parameter 2: student and enrolment



GER(2017-18) GPI(2017-18) Social



Level wise Enrolment


Level wise out-turn


Growth in enrolment(Last 5 year Average)
Kerala 36.2% 1.26 GEN: 557395

SC: 67764                                                                                                       ST: 10089                               OBC: 447669

Phd: 3755         UG: 2421610

M.Phill: 719     PGDip: 1489

PG: 51707       Diploma: 669

Phd: 616


PG: 39440

UG: 147016


Dip: 518

Diploma: 14404



Maharashtra 31.1% 0.91 GEN:2223305                              SC: 503283                                ST: 184995                                 OBC:1220174


Phd:  9206      UG: 3314911

M.phill: 2421    PGdip: 19730  PG:   445783     Dip: 315911


Phd: 2654

M.Phill: 1158

PG: 148926

UG: 598579


Dip: 8752

Diploma: 99513



Andhra Pradesh 30.9% 0.78 Gen: 641395                           SC: 273702                      ST: 73655                 OBC: 708530


Phd: 6289      UG: 1290153

M.phill: 897     PGdip: 2614 PG: 219296      Dip: 167214


Phd: 2368

M.Phill: 354

PG: 87170

UG: 255919

PG Dip: 1416

Diploma: 36902

Bihar 13% 0.79 Gen: 670331                            SC: 160254                              ST: 21541                               OBC: 662469


Phd: 2856     UG: 1333769

M.phill: NA   PGdip: 2771  PG: 125139    Dip: 44349


Phd: 872

M.Phill: NA

PG: 37225

UG: 36902

PG Dip: 886

Diploma: 7957

Jharkhand 18% 0.96 Gen: 240840                          SC: 662469                           ST: 122919                    OBC: 262048


Phd: 1798       UG: 578778

M.phill: 204     PGdip: 4003

PG: 69168         Dip: 29585


Phd: 354

M.Phill: 174

PG: 15929

UG: 126074

PG Dip: 1333

Diploma: 6851

Orrisa 22% 0.85 Gen: 534039                                SC: 153035                                ST: 124967                                 OBC: 203736


Phd: 2982       UG: 793548

M.phill: 1080   PGdip: 3000

PG: 73233         Dip: 125599


Phd: 798

M.Phill: 959

PG: 19267

UG: 19267

PG Dip: 1087

Diploma: 32361

Uttar Pradesh 25.9% 1.06 Gen: 2958984                                SC: 1086562                                ST: 45336                              OBC: 2364493


Phd: 15408   UG: 5446769           M.phill: 860   PGdip: 19621

PG: 637473    Dip: 260547


Phd: 2615

M.Phill: 441

PG: 234261

UG: 1363021


Diploma: 68038


 Table 5.

Data source: AISHE reports

                          Parameter 3: Pupil Teacher Ratio



Pupil Teacher  ratio


Growth in no. of teachers(last 5year average)
Kerala 20 2.76%
Maharashtra 27 0.25%
Andhra Pradesh 19 -1.79%
Bihar 67 -0.98%
Jharkhand 59 8.91%
Odissa 28 -1.72%
Uttar Pradesh 60 -3.21%


Data source: AISHE reports

         Policy Implications and the Way Forward

India has gained in world economy owing to the skilled workforce. However, the potential of its human resources is harnessed much less than its potential because of lack of education amongst the majority population, unemployment and existing poverty levels.  World Bank and UNESCO constituted a taskforce in the year 2000 which had observed the positive impact of higher education in increasing wages and productivity. The report inferred that the latter have a direct impact on enriching the individuals and the society thereby impacting human development.

India focuses on three goals in its policy towards higher education, namely, expansion, inclusion and excellence. However, vast differences have been noticed in the outcomes across its states and in also pursuing such policies.  The recent document  published by  The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Ayog), Strategy for New India @ 75 emphasizes making higher education more inclusive  and improving the GER to 35 % on an average from 25 % by 2022-23. It has recognized the importance of improving access and equity of higher education in the country besides its emphasis on excellence. One of the important directions to make higher education attractive is to improve employability of students. Curriculum which is old and not aligned with the job market requirements cuts down on the relevance of the education and has an impact on the abilities and creativity of students. Further it recognizes the need of faculty recruitment as a large number of posts are vacant. Moreover due to lack of training their competence is also inadequate. It is suggested that there should be merit based incentives which can attract better talent to the teaching profession.

With the advent of digital technology and the remotest of India being connected through internet, scope of online teaching platforms should be harnessed to make the education more inclusive. The document sees an opportunity in broadening the scope of Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) and Open and Distance Learning (ODL). It suggests that universities of high credence should be allowed to offer online education programme. Technology can also facilitate overcoming the problem of faculty shortages.

Besides ensuring the reach and increase in GER, increased focus on quality and excellence is timely and here lies the big challenge. As the issue in front of the country is not only of providing opportunity of higher education but also ensuring that the education is of relevance and of quality.

There has been a realization and demand for taking the spending on education beyond 6% of gross domestic product which is far less at present times. The role of private sector is recognized in increasing the spending besides the funding agencies. The states have recently got larger devolution of funds under the 14th finance commission. NITI Aayog is expected to guide states in matters of education expenditure and ensure threshold bounds. A better coordination I required between central government, other central agencies and state govt. for better and effective coordination towards implementation.

Looking beyond, it is important to mention here that India may have witnessed its economic emergence supported by higher education however its larger potential has been restricted due to  lagging access and  relevant learning outcomes at primary and elementary levels for the masses. The progress achieved so far may not be sustainable unless the majority in the society can be self dependent and confident which can only happen with right knowledge and skills. A sincere attempt has to be made in not only devising but timely and effective implementation of policies for providing opportunities for education at all levels ensuring proper choices for a sustainable future.

References;jsessionid=F00DFBCDB115326C020D9A1C2F2FC731; All India survey on Higher Education report 2017-18; Ministry of human resource development Bureau of planning, monitoring & statistics 2011 report United Nations Development Programme

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Strategy for New India@75, Niti Ayog, Govt. of India, 2018

Brand Building & Reputation Management in Indian Higher Education


Dr. Rajiv R Thakur
Dean-Development & Professor, Strategy
BIMTECH, Gr. Noida

Dr Anup Kumar
Asst. Professor, Operations
IMT Nagpur

Higher education in India is represented by its 799 universities, with a break up of 44 central universities, 540 state universities, 122 deemed universities, 90 private universities, 5 institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and 75 Institutes of National Importance which include AIIMS, IIT’s and NIT’s among others. Other institutions include 39,071 colleges as Government Degree Colleges and Private Degree Colleges, including 1800 exclusive women’s colleges, functioning under these universities and institutions (UGC Data 2016). In addition there are thousands of technical colleges belonging to engineering, medical, management, architecture and others. While since decades there has been a focus on the spread of higher education across the country and increase in Gross Enrollment Ratio, in the recent past while there has been a greater emphasis on the qualitative aspects of education setting new benchmarks and a global orientation. The Govt. has been highlighting the need for global benchmarking for the institutions and universities with an objective of establishing India as a global hub for quality higher education. However when it comes to on-ground realities they show a dismal picture and any talk of building Indian Higher Education as a brand appears to be a wishful thinking and nothing more.
0.000025 per cent; 0.015036 per cent!!!!, these are the highly abysmal percentages which work out for Times and QS rankings of the Indian Higher Education institutions which feature in those rankings out of the total number existing in the country as per UGC data 2016. 0.11 is the percentage for the management institutes which feature in FT rankings of the total estimated 3500 B schools in the country including IIMs, IITs and ISB. It doesn’t take much to understand the reasons behind these abysmal status as everyone can see for themselves the sad and pathetic state of affairs around the country even with the institutes of national importance and central universities. Several authors have penned down in volumes, well researched, deeply analyzed and well explained reasons for this malaise. Lack of vision and futuristic outlook on one hand and stuck up with the old and archaic system, mostly crippled on the other, lack of basic resources – intellectual and monetary, scarcity of requisite faculty strength and their capabilities towards teaching and world class research, absence of leadership and ownership compounded by poor accountability and above all the learning environment which has become archaic and devoid of present or future realities are few of the basic reasons behind this shameful scenario of a nation which at one time in history was the flag bearer of knowledge and intellectual power in the whole world.
The GMAC 2017 application trends for Management programmes worldwide show that for India international application figure is abysmally low which is less than 1% of application volume. India is equally bad in the regional break up and has less than 1% application destination wise of the total international applications for all 956 institutions covered in the survey. International application pipelines were largest for programmes in Canada, Europe and US. International applicants represent 57% of US application volumes, 70% in Canada, 89% in Europe, 20% in East and SE Asia. On the contrary, India and China represent the largest volumes of international applicants to programs worldwide indicating interests of students outside their own country. This reflects a very sad state of affairs for Indian management education as far its quality and standards are concerned which stand nowhere in the international arena in spite of IIMs (A,B,C), ISB, select University MBA programmes and a set of well-meaning autonomous PGDM institutes in the country.
Against the above background of the higher education in the country, the focus in this is article is on its brand building and reputation management. Brand as a concept, we understand, is an entity or a subset of organizational identity. The other entities of organizational identities are names, symbols, logos, tag lines and self-presentations. These all identities are perceived by images inside the mind of customers, community, investors and employees. If all these images are amalgamated it is called overall organizational reputation. Therefore the essence of reputation management is bigger than or it is a holistic approach of brand building.
For an educational organization to build the images, it is essential to innovate at the basics, for instance – the hygiene, infrastructure (building, class rooms, desks, labs, IT, library, books, software tools etc.), teaching-learning environment, updated curriculum, skill impartation, vocational or job orientation, faculty competence and more. Basic hygiene level, what to talk about cutting edge standards in higher education can only be ensured if it provides the right relevance for youth beyond degrees. Only after that comes the next level of research, innovation.
Study and Findings
The most appropriate approach felt and adopted for this study for understanding these aspects of higher education in the country was to conduct interviews with any of the stakeholders of higher education institutions across the country and find out the realities.

Starting with a relatively new university and that too in the heart of national capital Delhi in Greater Noida, Gautam Budha University started functioning in the year 2008. Dr Pooja Mishra an accomplished academician working in a leading B School who attended this university and completed her Ph D in management in the year 2016 found the facilities and infrastructure state of the art and stated that it has an extensive library and also has hostel facilities for students. The work environment and culture was found to be extremely healthy. The IT facilities are extensive and provides easily accessible computational facilities to both students and faculty. Dr Pooja added that the university has huge volumes of books and e-journals which covers books related to a variety of disciplines such as humanities, information technology, computer science, management etc. It also provides access to online databases. The teaching and learning process is well designed and mapped out. The Ph.D. programme is well structured where students undergo extensive coursework so as to speed on research areas such as review of literature, writing a research paper / case study etc. Additionally, there exists a mentoring process which provides an insight and overview of the subjects. The curriculum especially with regards to Research methodology and Statistical tools are extensively designed and updated which helps researchers in their research journey.
Most importantly, Dr Pooja Misra highlighted that the Gautam Budh University had a leadership with a vision to become a globally acclaimed brand with integrated, academic and research orientation wherein students should be able to manage seamlessly continuity and change.
Dr Soni Sharma alumnus of another central university Jamia Milia Islamia established in the pre independence days in the year 1920 in the heart of national capital could not find any futuristic approach by government or university for masters students in humanities even though Central universities have a good brand value because of their approach to maintain quality in academic system. Dr Soni who is a Business Communication Faulty added that, “the curriculum was not revised and were out dated till, we were never asked to prepare any project unlikely the recent times, there was very less opportunity of research for postgraduate students and I only wish if there could be more research orientation like dissertation or project submission during my post-graduation study, I would have done better in research”. Another important aspect she highlighted was Hygiene and cleanliness which she found was always a problem at education institution. This is the least preferred priority. Washrooms are never maintained or cleaned.

Prof Chanchal Kushwaha a marketing professor who studied B.Sc., down South in University College, Thiruvananthapuram, University of Kerala 25 years ago shared that in last 25 years the university has not changed much, though very few would know that this is one of the oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher education in India, established in 1866 and has distinguished alumni like former President late K R Narayana, ISRO Chairman, Kris Gopalakrishnan, CEO Infosys, many civil servants, ambassadors from Indian foreign service, sports icons, poets writers, film stars and others. Until 2 years back when 150 years celebrations happened, Dr Chanchal found the same old heritage government college building with a huge centralized library. Though the university was strong in research, the university in 1993 had only conventional courses and still after 25 years it remains the same with no professional courses being added.

The Business School, Jammu University, Head and Professor (retd.) Dr B C Sharma is highly disappointed with the state of affairs in Indian Higher education in general and in J & K in particular and finds that the entire system is crippled by the shortage of faculty and the out dated curriculum, teaching – learning methods which is devoid of the connect it should have with the stakeholders i.e. the society or the industry. As one moves away from the city of Jammu things get even worse in terms of basic amenities such as infrastructure, faculty strength and competency, he highlighted. Dr. Sharma blames the contractual culture prevalent for decades now in the institutions which neglects accountability and ownership on one hand and is a demotivation for worthy to join this noble profession. Another dedicated academician from Jammu region Prof Ajeet Angral, retd. Principal of a prestigious degree college highlights the absence of a strong mechanism for teaching- learning process and between teacher and student, teacher is more important, teachers role is basic and critical which is missing these days. Dr Angral added that the availability of teachers in campus for knowledge sharing and the ability to understand the language of students were important. He felt that no doubt teacher is also a part of society but need of the hour is that he or she should be more like a ‘Fakir’ rather than acting like a bureaucrat. According to both of them this aspect of teaching learning and role and commitment of teacher is most critical for a sustainable brand building process in addition to infrastructure, digital/net- working, research ,international exposure ,capacity building & students support system, governance vision etc.

In a state like Bihar in eastern part of India, the higher education system is almost dead. Session for Undergraduate and Post graduate programmes at the B P Mandal University Madhepura are running late by 2 years and 3 years late implying that a undergraduate students finishes his degree in 5 years instead of 3. Students who passed their examination in 2013 have not got their certificates yet. UGC while initiating a global outlook for higher education institutions has mandated a faculty – students ratio of 1:20, as against which the university colleges have a pitiable ratio of 1:1000. Sri Krishna Mahila College Begusarai in Bihar has a strength of 10,500 girl students for which sanctioned faculty number is 30 out of which the college has just 9 faculty implying a ratio of 1: 1200 students. C M Science college a NAAC A grade college in Bihar is supposed to have no system ensuring financial accountability. Cases of no classes being held and only examinations taking place is prevalent in majority colleges across the state. Situation of Patna University is no different.
However there are exceptions like St Xavier’s College under Ranchi University which is in Jharkhand in the neighbouring state of Bihar. Ms Madhuri Kumar an alumnus and presently working as a journalist in The Times of India considers it as one of the best institutions in the country. Right from its state-of-the-art infrastructure to hygiene, teaching and campus discipline it has everything in its agenda, she shared. “With the passage of time, now an autonomous body, the College is imparting courses in various vocational courses. The faculty is motivated enough to guide the students on the right path. There is ample opportunity for students coming from poor tribal background and the learning process is rather scientific and research oriented. The curriculum I know has been updated according to the need of the hour” Ms Madhuri added while highlighting the focus on inclusivity in a predominantly tribal state.

In the west of India one of the leading universities is MLSU at Udaipur in the state of Rajasthan. HOD Dept. of English, Dr Pradip Trikha talking on Inclusivity highlighted that the university is in tribal region and it has taken effective measures to increase gross enrolment ratio, and check the dropout percentage from the degree courses by introducing skill developing courses. Measures are taken to conduct regional economic surveys from time to time to inform the govt, about effective implementation of its schemes in social sectors. Super-numeric seats are reserved for tribal students to conduct their Ph.D. in all the departments. These All such measures have enhanced branding & reputation of MLSU. But apart from these few exceptions, the problem of faculty shortage and crippled higher education system is found length and breadth in the state and also in the state of Maharastara from Kolhan to Mumbai.

From the above study conducted on a broad spectrum from north to down south and east to west, rural / semi-urban to national capital, state level college to central universities, institutions from pre independence days to institutions established during last one decade bring out few starling evidences of the stage and the status of higher education in the country calling for a transformative approach to rebuild it and with contextual objectives. Merely slogans of Building world class institutions or Global education hubs with stray initiatives will not help. Few of the evident value propositions for stakeholders which have made exceptional higher education institutions successful and the lack of them making the majority a failure so far are important to identified and focussed upon such as:

• vision and futuristic outlook
• stakeholders perspective enabling them with skills and vocation
• basic resources – infrastructural and monetary
• requisite intellectual base and faculty strength, their competency
• capabilities towards teaching and world class research, absence of leadership and ownership teaching – learning process and the learning environment
• technology as a strategic driver
• inclusiveness
• accountability and ownership
• value system and ethics

The Way Forward

Dr. Neeraj Viswakarma, Ph D and alumnus of IIT Kanpur and a faculty of Decision sciences at one of the IIMs highlights the role of technology in education branding in the present times as he explains the rapidly changing technologies are the process of transforming a higher education by reducing the barrier of time and space requirement. “Now, the learning resources are available round the clock and around the globe with the help of the modern technology. The availability of latest resources like software self to changing requirement of the industry. Institutes readiness to adopt and use the software packages and research databases for learning and skill enhancement increases its acceptability in the business world that ultimately leads to students’ employability in the business. And the employability of student in the industry is a very big factor to institutes brand image”, Dr Neeraj emphasized.

Echoing similar emphasis Mr Sanjiv Dubey, formerly Asia Pacific executive IT Service Delivery at IBM and a prolific author of books on IT and Strategy of organizations said “I feel any brand is primarily it’s product so I would leave everything else and focus on student academic and industry preparedness, nothing else, … any may disagree but here applies the doughnut principle i.e. the core and the fringe. If we give more importance to fringe then the core we compromise the core without realizing or realizing it late. I would still go by the axiom एकहि साधे सब सधे सब साधे सब जाय।

The authors agree to the views of the experts like Dr Neeraj, Mr Dubey that the role of higher educational Institute not only limited to teaching but also to train, to undertake research and provide the services to the society for the social uplifting of the society. The quality research requires the deeper understanding of the subject matter of the study and current progress in the field of study. It is possible by looking into journals, books, magazines, and other related documents. A library full of these (journals, books, magazines and etc) resources is the one of the biggest support to achieve the quality research. The equity research increases the visibility of the organization on the globe and hence it increases the prestige and brand of Institute globally.

Dr Vinita Srivastava, Ph D from GGSIP University carrying industry experience from an MNC firm Cipla and presently a marketing faculty shares her experience of teaching at IIM Kashipur and highlights the faculty, academics and student triad on which education stands. She adds branding will depend on the quality of all three. More so on the academic curricula because other two will align to it and curricula will demonstrate physical evidence to this service category called education. Academic curricula shall demonstrate originality of thought process, recency and forethoughtfulness. Highlighting the triad relationship and its effectiveness, Dr Neeraj, other experts and the authors highlight the triad’s quality aspect of brand building in today’s globally competitive environment. The institutes are required to bring innovative teaching methodology in the classroom to fulfill the need of increasing social geographical diversity of the students. The teaching quality can be improved through information technologies and innovative teaching physiology is like case-based, simulation-based audio & video visuals and simulation games by creating a virtual environment. For creating the virtual environment of industry through the technology and encourage the student to participate in the problem solving and critical thinking. It will help the student to understand the real world problem in the virtual environment and their analytical and problem-solving skill will be enhanced by it that ultimately help the student to become a better manager in the future. It will ultimately help in Institute brand building and recognition.
An example of quality enhancement can be seen at MLSU despite being in a state which is otherwise a laggard. Dr Trikha shared that regular FDPs for faculty enhanced potential of the human resources in strengthening quality research, mentoring & guiding for the betterment of institution. He further added that higher education especially in terms of infra, classrooms, software data base, library resources and cleanliness, hygiene etc. are on the upsurge due to RUSA, but areas of student discipline requires effective measures.

Brand Building and Reputation Management
Brand, organizational identity and reputation as they relate to large organizations have been around for quite some time with an established wealth of published research and extant literature. The underlying wisdom of the gained knowledge is: the greater the alignment between these three concepts, the more consistent and therefore the more successful the branding efforts will be. The challenge is how to align those three. Reputation is distinct from the actual character or behavior of the company and may be better or worse. When the reputation of a company is more positive than its underlying reality, this gap poses a substantial risk. Firm with strong positive reputation attracts better stakeholders and hence the better brand. There are various risks associated with reputation namely.
1. Reputation – reality Gap
2. Changing beliefs and expectations
3. Weak internal and basic coordination
To manage the reputation it is essential to manage the said risks, therefore following may be the ways of managing reputation
1. Objectively asses reputation versus reality
2. Assess the impact of changing expectations and mange it
3. Focus on reputational risks
4. Appoint single point solutions to manage the reputation to build a strong and sustainable reputation
Every interaction with customers and other stakeholders influences and adds to the accruing brand equity of the firm: the more positive the customer experience, the stronger the brand, and greater is the positive reputation for the organization. Fombrun and Rindova (2000) explain that reputation is the more or less favorable regard in which a firm is held by its stakeholder. Such regard, which translates into a greater reputation when compared to competing firms, allows

Figure 1 Branding framework

Designed by: Anshuman, BIMTECH

them to cope with the intense nature of competition and offer intuitive, relevant and customized values to their customers.
These can be applied in the context of Higher education institutions in the country. A Brand building model for Higher education institutions has been attempted as shown in Figure 1, that shows branding framework for higher educational institutes. The framework is based upon the expectations of the students and industries that is accomplished by value propositions and activity centers. The model has taken the value chain of management education however this can be replicated for other streams too.
Branding and Reputation Management in higher education in India should carry a stakeholders perspectives focusing on the expectations of the students and the society which includes the corporates, industries and the community. Addressing these expectations, the right value propositions should be identified within the context of times to be created in the different activity centres of the value chain of the institutions around the values of CRU i.e. credibility, relevance and usefulness. Dr. Harivansh Chaturvedi, Alternate President, EPSI adds further that CRU (credible, Relevant and Useful) value propositions should create the ‘differentiators’ for the institutions while meeting the stakeholders expectations. Moreover, branding should be aligned and conform with the vision and values of higher education institutions in India, he concludes.


Indian Management Education on the Global Map: Resurrecting it from its Nadir!

The GMAC 2017 application trends for Management programmes worldwide with 965 respondents  show as an increasing trend in the applications of  the 2017 admission cycle. MBA programs continue to be the most sought-after curriculum among the bouquet that is offered by management institutions worldwide.  Others are Executive, Masters, Part Time etc. For India, the  survey shows that  85% of the two year full time prgrammes here reported application growth which is more than the percentages in the East/South East Asia and the USA at 77% & 32 % respectively.

Out of this macro trend, the survey shows growing trend of international applications pipeline worldwide. International application pipelines were largest for programmes in Canada, Europe and US. International applicants represent 57% of US application volumes, 70% in Canada, 89% in  Europe, 20% in East and SE Asia.  However for India international applications  is abysmally low i.e. less than 1% of application  volume.  India fairs equally bad in the regional break up and has less than 1% application destination wise of the total international applications for all 956 instituions.  Programmes  in  East/South East Asia is much ahead at 9% and US is leap bound ahead at  51%.

On the contrary, India and China represent the largest volumes of international applicants to programs worldwide indicating interests of students outside their own country.   This reflects a very sad state of affairs  for Indian management education as far its quality and standards are concerned which stand no where in the international arena in spite of IIMs(A,B,C), ISB, select University MBA programmes and a set of well-meaning autonomous PGDM  institutes in the country.


It is worthwhile to look into the reasons for this sad state of affairs even after  six-seven  decades of  history of management education in the country.

To begin with, the sentiments of students and the aspirants are most important to understand. Reaction of one of the Indian students spoken with from premier B-schools, more than explains what they think of Indian programmes. “Do you really expect the programme design and curriculum we are following ….and the  kind of pressure we are putting on students to perform, will do any sort of good to Indian society?—-India is producing nothing but workbots for MNCs…World is on Android 8.1 and we are still working on symbian Java phones”, young India is quite vociferous, the moment one touches Indian education.

A typical  Management programme offered in India is of Two years duration spread across trimester/semester comprising of 35 plus courses, between compulsory (20-25) and electives (10-12) with overall minimum teaching load of 1100 odd hours plus internships(globally this figure is 700-800). The core courses are  found to be more or less standard across  programmes. Electives though offered in bouquet and revised corresponding to the needs, the number  of choices and flexibility to register for them are quite limited. Curriculum and teaching pedagogy lack innovation and practical learning except for counted exceptions.

The shocking reality is that such a programme, a more or less standardized one is offered across students who get admitted from diverse backgrounds of age, work experience (0-5plus years), educational background(Engineering, Social sciences, Physical or Life sciences, Commerce,  CAs, Doctors and others) with diverse purposes, interests and  aptitude.

Awareness and initiatives on new pedagogical tools for innovative and experiential learning and industry need/skill based courses are late starters and is far lagging behind from world standards. Accreditations both national and international with an emphasis on Assurance of Learning  though emphasized of late, their impact on results will take a longer time. Reason being, the basic philosophy and approach behind the design and delivery of programmes in India have run out of context of the present times and thereby have no attraction for students outside or in India who deserve and one who can afford.

Talking  globally, a look at the programme design, curriculum and pedagogical tools of the few institutions from FT 50 list across the US, Canada, Europe, SE Asia, Australia reveal certain startling differences from India.  All across regions, programme philosophy emphasize on “innovative portfolio of MBA programs which help students finding the ideal balance among professional, educational and personal goals”(Kellogg, US). Unlike India, MBA students in these countries typically have work experience nothing less than 3 years. For fresh students bouquet has Masters and for higher work experienced, Executive programmes are offered.

The most important differentiator is personalized curriculum. It is  to the extent that MIT Sloan offers choice to students to  “self-manage” their curriculum or from different track and certificate options to match their interests and career goals.  It offers the joint degree program Leaders for Global Operations, which combines coursework in management and engineering (Engg. School) with an internship at an MIT partner company. INSEAD (Europe) has the one year accelerated full-time MBA programme for those who can not afford to stay away from job for long.

In contrast to what was explained earlier, broadly, 10 odd  compulsory subjects are offered while  a plethora of elective choices from various disciplines, up to 200 even(Wharton US) is on the platter. The NUS MBA imparts and  encourages industry-specific expertise and runs courses on healthcare, real estate, digital business, analytics and operations besides functional expertise. Schools like AGSM Australia, offer popular courses such as “Building Business in China” or “Building Business in India” on entrepreneurship that take learning out of the classroom and prepare students for real global ventures.

The programmes emphasize on creating essentials of a successful business in their curriculum. Few of the best practices are listed here  which get included in various schools. Creating collaboration  and innovation learning (Stanford, MIT); connecting classroom learning to real organizations; language learning;  identifying areas  for leadership development efforts; gaining new insights into global business by engaging around the world; international exchange to broaden experience academically, professionally and culturally (e.g. 3 integrated campuses of INSEAD, Europe, Asia, Middle East); business project to source a real-world business issue and learn commercial acumen; intensive week of experiential leadership learning and others. Evidently enough, pedagogy trends here include team projects and experiential learning besides lectures and cases.

Unlike India these programs have globally renowned faculty that combine industry experience and active research with impressive teaching abilities. Critical differentiator if one looks at vacant positions and the profile of faculty in India.

Unlike India where B schools have been christened as placement agencies in the minds of students and their parents, abroad focus is on enabling students to get a job rather than placing them. Career Development Office in these schools sponsor many programs designed to help students set and achieve career goals. They provide networking opportunities and powerful connections with international recruiters and corporations.

It’s really sad and a concern to see India not more than a  spec  in the eyes of students globally. India in history is known as a seat of learning India, however, in present cant  contain students migrating overseas in such huge numbers. It is shameful as not only its leads to brain drain but  it’s a big dent on building a competitive  human resource pool for the country.

Only a handful Indian B schools have introduced the desired  transformation that too very late on   being compelled by  the competitive realities of the world and also due to recent mandates and accreditation requirements. Mandates are for meeting  benchmarks in curriculum design, pedagogy, faculty quality and their competence in  teaching and research, overall institution building, internationalization etc.

Recent  initiatives of the govt.  for  creating a competitive environment and a pushing the vision of global excellence is not just sufficient. Institutions like IIMs and others will have to adopt an early transformative approach which can only be possible if meritocracy, accountability and dynamism are ensured in the system and the leadership. It’s a good sign that few corporates have come up with institutions with good intention and  approach, however, it is the Institutes of national importance (IIMs, IITs) and others established ones  who have to gear up to the needs. Institution building of eminence is a time taking process and a short cut and populist approach so far followed by the govt., devoid of the futuristic realities would take the institutions to shambles.

New Institutions of National Importance:  Are we killing them before they are born? Dashing all the hopes for Indian Higher Education to attain global excellence!


New Institutions of National Importance:  Are we killing them before they are born? Dashing all the hopes for Indian Higher Education to attain global excellence!

Dr Rajiv R. Thakur

Professor, Strategy

Birla Inst. of Management Technology (BIMTECH), Gr Noida.

(Views Are Personal)

Deep concerns and angst have been aired in the country over the lack of quality and standards of higher education institutions in general and more specifically in institutes of ‘national importance’ such as IITs, IIMs and the select central universities. The concern gets magnified looking at international rankings which measure quality and excellence as per global standards. Talking of the year 2018, Indian Institute of Science is the only institution from India which could feature in the prestigious Times Higher Education World University Ranking 2018 (91-100 band)  as compared to 6 from China, 5 from Japan and 2 from city state Singapore within Asia.  The US dominates this list with 43 institutions while other European countries  including the UK has significant numbers.

In the other well-regarded global rankings, QS World Universities Rankings for 2018, only six Indian universities turned up in the top 400 out of which five are  IITs. The only non-IIT Indian institution is the Indian Institute of Science. Considering the  large number of higher education institutions, the country has today, the above numbers are pity and show abysmal poor quality and standards of the institutions as per global standards. As per 2016 UGC data, India has 799 universities, with a break up of 44 central universities, 540 state universities, 122 deemed universities, 90 private universities, 5 institutions established and functioning under the State Act, and 75 Institutes of National Importance which include AIIMS, IIT’s and NIT’s among others.  Other institutions include 39,071 colleges as Government Degree Colleges and Private Degree Colleges, including 1800 exclusive women’s colleges, functioning under these universities and institutions.

The story of Post Graduate Management education is no different.  The country today has 20 institutes of national importance, namely, the IIMs and over 3000 institutions offering post graduation in management which include few of the top acclaimed management institutions in the country such as MDI, XLRI, SPJIMR, IMI, IMT and others with greater acceptance in the industry. However, the global FT MBA rankings which ranks 100 top global institutions had just four Indian institutes from India this year, namely ISB, IIM-A, IIM-B and IIM-C. Interestingly, ISB which is not an  institute of national importance has taken a lead over the three IIMs in the list.

0.000025 per cent; 0.015036 per cent OOPS!!, these are the percentages which work out for Times and QS rankings of the Indian institutions which feature in those rankings out of the total number of higher education institutions existing in the country as per UGC data 2016. 0.11 is the percentage for the Management institutes which feature in FT rankings of the total estimated 3500 B schools in the country including IIMs, IITs and ISB. It doesn’t take much to understand the reasons behind these abysmal status as everyone can see for themselves the sad and pathetic state of affairs around the country even with the  institutes of national importance and  central universities. Several authors have penned down in volumes, well researched, deeply analyzed and well explained reasons for this malaise. Lack of vision and futuristic outlook on one hand and stuck up with the old and archaic system, mostly crippled on the other,  lack of basic resources – intellectual and monetary, scarcity of requisite faculty strength and their capabilities towards teaching and world class research, absence of leadership and ownership compounded by poor accountability and above all the learning environment which has become archaic and devoid of present or future realities are few of the basic reasons behind this shameful scenario of a nation which at one time in history was the flag bearer of knowledge and intellectual power in the whole world.

The purpose here is not  to repeat what have already been researched and said about  institutions in existence for long and those which have benchmarked themselves well within India but get exposed, the moment they look out of the window overseas.  Rather, the objective is to touch upon the new and emerging  dimension of the problem which is   even more dangerous and frightening. This is about the new institutions (of national importance)  which govt. has planned and opened across the length and breadth of the country with greater expectations for the good of society and for the good of Indian education. Much is being talked  by the present government about the new IIMs, IITs, AIIMs, NITs  and it is being hoped that they will be the differentiators both nationally and internationally.

The reality check however, unfolds a different story which is not at all encouraging rather raises despair.  These institutions had their origin and were functional immediately after the announcement of their creation. This rush to make them operational at any cost and that too at the hands of Mentoring institutions with zero manpower of its own and without a leader who can properly think and plan has resulted into a chaos. Results so far has been no where closer to the objectives behind their creation.  Provisions have been made for temporary campuses in one or the other available premises of state govt. and a ‘Mentor’ institution has been identified to lay the foundation (older established institutions of national importance e.g. IIM Kolkata, IIM L, IIM K for new IIMs; IIT D, IIT M for newer IITs and similarly others).

The dictionary (Cambridge; )  meaning of the word ‘Mentor’ is “a person who gives a younger or less experienced person help andadvice overa period of time, especially at work or school”, alternatively, “an experienced and trusted person who gives another person advice and help, especially related to work or school, over a period of time”.  The definition clearly implies that for every institution there should be a full- fledged structure and set of ‘people of its own’ whom ‘an experienced’ and ‘trusted’ (i.e. Mentor)  would  ‘advise and help’.  In reality things are different and raise a big question mark on the way things are happening.   Forget the inception year, even after 2-4 years of existence,  there is neither a structure nor an eco system or employees of their own in many of these new institutions. Implications are thus grave and far reaching with no leadership, no regular faculty nor  staff. There is none who can own up these  institution even after 2-4 years of their existence.  Hence these institutions don’t have their own purpose defined, have no reason of their own for existence, no vision for themselves, no road map which could define how they would be different and by when they  would  be recognized as an institution of national importance in true sense. Dream of International recognition is distant far away. The scenario looks dangerous as the latest hope of the govt. of building world class institutions with these initiatives seems to have doomed.

In all of these institutions, all these years admissions have happened, programme and courses have been designed, teaching and exams have taken place, degrees distributed, ceremonial convocation taken place with fan fare and  name sake placements have also happened, however, these can’t  be seen as a career for the students. Worse these placements are no different than of B or C category institutions’ placements. Isn’t it a joke on the people of the country with so much public money spent that all these happened without the purpose and relevance of institutions defined, without its vision and objectives defined, without any of its own people on place who would ultimately own up these institutions.   Instead what is happening?, would say these are the cases of ‘Cut Copy Paste’. The Mentor institute with little accountability and ownership engages itself in this exercise of ‘cut copy paste’ and pretends creating an institute of national importance. In the process, it does everything to project success and fulfill its own narrow gains. The loss is of the new institution, the loss is of the National leadership who took the mantle on himself of transforming education system and creating cutting edge institutions, loss is of the youth and the countrymen, loss is of the country, as it’s dream looks shattered of coming out of the shameful scenario of  0.000025 per cent!!!


What should be the way forward. It’s definitely a good idea and step by the government to broad base institutions across the country with a strategic vision of creating world class institutions and providing  more and more opportunities to the  country’s youth in their meaningful career building. Unfortunately, experience so far as discussed above has been disappointing and the implementation on ground has been utterly chaotic. The chaos on ground has resulted into the  loss of precious resources in time, money etc. but more critically has been  responsible for killing the very ethos and purpose of establishing institutions of global excellence. Future needs an immediate  reversal of the existing state of affairs.

First and foremost, the govt. and the management i.e. the Board of Governors of these institutions need to ensure  4 Ps i.e. Purpose, People, Pedestal and Pride.

Purpose – These institutions are not mere degree awarding institutions rather in their pursuit of global excellence they should have unique purposes for the youth, the industry, society and for the congruent region and the state. Each of the institutions should have their unique purposes identified first and accordingly the entire institution and its offering should be designed.  Standardization  is not the answer and therefore replicating or ‘cut copy paste’ from mentor institutions which lie in a totally different life cycle,  which have evolved and are existing in a very different environment is proving suicidal for these new institutions.

People – Leadership, faculty, staff in any institution are its backbone. There can be no alternative to their ownership and commitment for the institution and it is this intellectual capital base which shall drive the institution. Hence not only People are required on permanent basis but they should be competent. It is they who should run and drive the institution and not the hegemonic super power called a Mentor institute. The latter as the word suggest should restrict its role as some one who guides and advises wherever required. Institutions as intended  can not be built without its own leadership – individual or collective nor it can run on ad hoc temporary faculty and staff.  Unfortunately, in almost every case, the institution had  no leadership for long  nor the people. Mentors have a short sighted, stop gap approach with very little  commitment  and try to somehow buy time until the permanent team is on place. Even more dangerous is when people from Mentor institutions start pursuing their own personal agenda and there have been extreme cases where new institutions and their people have been run as colonies by the mentors.

Pedestal – i.e. Land, building and state of the art infrastructure. These are the basic platform on which the institution has to run. There cannot be different standards for running  two different sets of institutions in the country. On one hand, the rules don’t permit private institutions to start functioning without adequate specified infrastructure and on the other these institutions of national importance are being being forced to start from a temporary makeshift pedestals which are inadequate and no way closer to the minimum desired levels. There are institutions where even after years together, land has not been made available what to speak about buildings. Land building and the state of infrastructure needs to be in place at the earliest. Again delay happens because institutions lack their own people don’t exist and the mentors don’t want dirty their hands with these type of works. Naturally, by definition, mentors are there to advise and guide.

Pride for all its stakeholders is for what these institutions should stand for. These institutions shouldn’t be a place for regrets. As it is happening, many students and parents regret the decision to join, regret staying and studying in them and lastly regret the kind of career they get which is not even ordinary as compared to their expectations. Purpose and People only can set in the Pride in the institution, amongst students, parents and the society at large. Only Pride can take these institutions to the desired heights. Regrets are making these institutions decay before they stand up.

While these 4 Ps are the Macro aspects to be taken care, at the micro and operational level, ITO is critical. Faulty ITO – Input, Throughput and Output is the danger at the operational level, which can be seen as  the reason of  the decay of these institutions before they die. Purpose of these institutions should be deciding  the Porgramme Design, Its curriculum, teaching-learning processes (constituents of Throughput) and the elements of Programme and Curriculum should decide on the Input of students and faculty. In absence of the Purpose, what the Mentor does is the ‘Cut copy Paste’ job and  damages the foundation before it is laid down. Programme design, curriculum, courses and teaching learning process for the new institutions cannot be similar to that of a 30 year or even older institutions.  Neither these new age institution whose genesis is in a different era with the objective of leapfrogging  global excellence should be bounded by the older thinking, design and processes. The blatant ‘Cut copy paste’ methodology unfortunately does that to them. Students as inputs are randomly picked with limited profiling and in many institutions admissions happen without laid down criteria which result into a poor set of undeserving students. This important and most critical aspect is being neglected primarily because of lack of ownership and accountability which is noticed in mentoring institutions, The latter take short cuts and avoid deeper pains as there are no apparent gains as in teaching a course which are highly remunerative. It fails me to understand why Mentor institute faculty should be the only ones teaching and teaching for such hefty sums. Its not that there are no good faculty outside the mentoring institutions. It’s also beyond reasoning how a faculty overloaded with teaching assignments (reasons not unknown) are shouldered with additional administrative responsibilities of mentoring new institutions. It can’t be possible that mentoring institution doesn’t have other set of competent faculty. The govt. and the management needs to audit and investigate these fallacies.

Faculty shortage which are permanent to institutions as Inputs is a major setback. As it is there is a general crunch of good faculty and the chaos existing in these institutions dissuade good faculty from joining these institutions. Moreover, right faculty choices are not made. The recent race and criterion for research has regressed teaching to the back seat and faculty teaching skills and capabilities is often being  compromised in favour of better research credentials. Moreover, the rules restrict the numbers. Even when employed they are put on contract. Uncertainty hangs on their heads and there is always a tendency for instability. As a consequence,  these institutions lack faculty resources who can be called permanent, committed and working for the institution. Even the students don’t get what they should and it impacts their learning process and subject knowledge. Institutions are forced to run on Visiting faculty either from outside or from mentoring institution which is again damaging in the longer run. The inappropriate mix of Input and Throughput has shown a highly negative impact on the output, the skills sets – professional and life skills which get generated. Career are never built. Even the jobs are not on place as industry looking at the state of affairs refrain from picking up students. Situation is of pity and far away from the purpose for which these institutions have been created.

There are other critical dimensions to the problems of establishment and growth of these institutions which can be encapsulated in 3 Cs.  

Competition of the day and Rules of Past don’t go together. Govt. has flushed these institutions with rich resources in form of grants and there is no resource crunch as far their projects are concerned. However, the rules and procedures running these institutions are archaic and too much  bureaucratic   which holds back decision making and is time taking. Paper work, lack of clarity of rules and implications  amongst decision makers compounded by the shaky decision making delay decisions. There is hardly any flexibility and for most of the critical decisions, people are reserved in taking any bold decisions. Consequently there is a delay  and  spillover of project timelines and cost. Compromises and delaying decisions on certain critical points such as recruitment of faculty, setting up of infrastructure, purchase of software and hardware for students, basic amenities like safe drinking water, sanitation, reprographics etc. have severe adverse impact which results into dissatisfied stakeholders who quite naturally silently kill the future prospects of the institutions. Most shameful is when students have to beg for money from staff and faculty for occasions which are supposed to be funded by institution. These are examples which show extreme distortion of rules or the ad-hoc  decisions taken by individuals.  Future of these institutions become even more horrific  when contrasted with the realities of the external world today. The pace and purpose with which the other world is moving. Corporate sector has been quite active in getting into the domain of higher education and the likes of Jindals, Munjal, Shiv Nadar of HCL fame, Bennett have opened some of the universities with futuristic lofty vision which are not only pre-equipped with world class state of the art infrastructure but is quality oriented with best of international collaboration, faculty recruitments, courses with futuristic values and are in great demand. These new institutions reflect seriousness and a strategic thrust to build institutions of global repute and the advantage they have with them is committed resources, speed and flexibility coupled with commitment and accountability, Govt. initiated institutions lack these moreover the archaic rules do not allow them to have even the necessary manpower required. It is unfortunate to see that the norms which are set for institutions are much flouted in these institutions. For instance, there are institutions running for more than 2-3 years and have students on campus but there is no provision for a lady or male warden, no doctor, no counselor. Leave these alone the house-keeping and security staff are hired on daily wages and that too in inadequate numbers. Its difficult to fathom how with these realties one can expect even a normal future of these institutions forget about an extra ordinary one which is actually aimed at by the government.

Capacity Building is the next big thing which will be required to face this big competition. As it is institution evolve and excel through capacity building only in various arenas, faculty being the most critical assisted by the staff but with the competition this will be required to be built on the faster place. It is sad to often read that there is a faculty crunch in the country. On the contrary we see faculty and scholars from India doing so well in the foreign universities and receiving wider recognition, we see exodus of fresh scholar to outside world and we also see many industry professional seeking to pursue career in academics moving abroad or they fall short from switching over. These are negative trends for the country and the old and new institutions of national importance alike.   It seems the crunch is not because of shortfall in supply but there is something that demotivates the faculty to start or continue longer in these institutions. Worse is the situation with new institutions where mostly appointments are ad hoc and contract based which is a major deterrent for them to attract good faculty especially because of their newness there are many other challenges in terms of  not so conducive work environment, lack of facilities and resources etc. Faculty is engaged in many of the activities which are non-academic because of the paucity of staff and this eat up their time and efforts from doing research and enhancing their teaching skills. On top of it the non-collegial and arbitrary attitude of the super bosses from mentoring institutions demotivate the faculty on campus which result in moving in and out of faculty at a very short intervals. So is true with the case of staff members. Arranging of other resources for capacity building such as library books, databases, cases,  software and other state of the art technology driven tools are also very slow and limited. These are major detterant not only for the normal growth of these institutions but are the major limitation on face of the fierce competition that is emerging on the higher education landscape in the country and globally.

The third C which is ‘Cut Copy Paste’  from old to new in this new dynamic, ever evolving competitive environment where globally institutions are looking futuristic and designing programme and courses of future relevance very different than what older institutions in India are doing is going to be self defeating. This approach is very very short sighted and makes no logic except that it helps the govt. and the older mentoring institutions to show the society that they have achieved the target and so many IITs, IIMs, AIIMs, NITs have been opened up and successfully running. It doesn’t serve the vision of the govt. of setting up world class institutions. This practice of ‘cut copy paste’ shall immediately go away along with the practice of starting instructions without people leadership and proper infrastructure of their own. This is when capacity building will happen only which can take forward the institution.

My fear and so is of  many others that all these initiatives of establishing new institutes of national importance with grand vision is going to fall flat unless cured well in time. It’s not too late when the issues are addressed and projects are started on a clean slate. An on-site independent audit by people of great veracity should be conducted and facts should be collected talking to various stakeholders and checking for the facts themselves. The facts emerging from various institutions shall help in identifying issues and problems common to many. My guess would be that addressing them would require a trans formative approach. Hopefully this makes a new beginning for these institutions and brings them to the right track from where the most aspirational goal of attaining global excellence and recognition is achieved.