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Mainstream, VOL 60 No 47 November 12, 2022

ESG Approach: Ranking and Regulation of Management Institutions | Nand L. Dhameja and Manish Dhameja

Saturday 12 November 2022

by Nand L. Dhameja & Manish Dhameja

Education spreads seed of development. In the words of Benjamin Disraeli, fate of a country depends upon the education of its people. Development of education institutions is measured in terms of ranks developed on the basis of certain parameters. As such, ranking is a communication about the institution to various stakeholders - to students, parents interested, management, government to ascertain how the resources are being utilised.

The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) as approved by the Ministry of Human Development (MHRD) was launched by the government on 29th September 2015. Besides NIRF, various private agencies also rank institutions. NIRF is more objective one and is relatively a better ranking system.

The NIRF system launched in 2015, reports every year ranks for various education disciplines i.e., management, engineering, medical, dental, architecture, law, pharmacy.

The paper relates to discussion and analysis of ranking of management institutions. For the year 2022 NIRF covers 751 management institutions and presents details of the five parameters and the rank score for the top 100 management institutions; the score for the top first and the 100th institution were 83.35 and 41.44 respectively.

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The NIRF framework broadly covers five parameters, each having sub-parameters. The five parameters having their respective weight in parenthesis are as:

a). Teaching, Learning and Resources (TLR), (30)
b). Research and Profesional Practice (RP), (30)
c). Graduation Outcomes like placement (GO), (20)
d). Outreach and Inclusivity concerning geographical diversity of
students and faculty (OI), (10)
e). Perception (PR). (10)

For the above five parameters, faculty is the fulcrum, is the prime mover and plays a key role in the management, growth and accreditation of an institution. Faculty is the heart of learning process, has been the centre of reform and rejuvenation of the education system by the various education policies and education committees.

Issue of concern is that one can ascertain ranking and parameters details only of top 100 institutions while NIRF ranking, as stated earlier, covers 751 management institutions and 3129 institutions are approved by the AICTE; while institutions are having low rank even after a decade or so of their existence?

Further, of the top 100 ranked institutions during 2022, 18 institutions gained in ranks while 47 lost their rank over that of 2021 by various steps. For example, the Institutions which gained their rank in 2022 over that of 2021 included IIT Delhi, IIM Raipur, IIM Rohtak, Anna University, Lovely University, IIM Ranchi, IIFT, Jaipuria Greater Noida, Jamila Malila Ismailia. On the other hand, the institutions which lost in their rank by various steps included, IIM Indore, IIT Mumbai, IIM Shillong, MDI Gurgaon, BIMT Greater Noida, IMI Kolkata, Great Lake Chennai,

For the top 100 management institutions, frequency distribution for the five parameters is presented in Table 1; and the presentation is for different rank slabs; i.e.

  • for the first top 25 ranked;
  • next 25, (i.e., 26th to 50th rank);
  • next 25, (i.e., 51st to 75th rank) and
  • next 25, (i.e., 76th to 100 th rank).

Table 2 presents respective score for the ranked institutions

Table 1 & Table 2 are presented at the end.

From the analysis of rank and score of institutes one finds as:

• The institute of the top 100th rank has a score of 83.33, while the 25th ranked institute has a score of 58.14; the corresponding scores for institutes ranked 50th, 75th and 100th are 50.64; 45.18 and 41.44 respectively.
• Fall in score for relatively low rank institutes is primarily due to their low graduation outcome i.e., placement, and poor geographical diversity.
• For Research and Practice parameter (RP), and for Peer Perception parameter (PP), one finds that the institutes of relatively higher rank had higher research contribution.
• For Teaching, Learning and Resources parameter (TLR) (i.e. Teaching parameter), and for Graduation Outcomes parameter (GO) (i.e. Placemen Parameter); and for Outreach and Inclusivity parameter (OI) (i.e. Geographical Diversity parameters); one finds that the institutes of relatively higher rank had higher geographical diversity, and had higher score for placement.
• In other words, top rank institutions besides having higher score in teaching, have high score in research & practice, graduation outcome (placement), outreach and inclusiveness (geographical diversity) and, peer perception.

The key for higher and high score rank is transparency and accountability.

It may be mentioned that National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020) lays greater emphasis on faculty development, recruitment of skilled and highly motivated faculty. The Policy observes that teaching duties will not be excessive, the activity of teaching to remain pleasant, there should be adequate time for interaction with students, conducting research, and other university activities. Further, the faculty will be given the freedom to design their own curricular and pedagogical approaches within the approved framework, including textbook and reading material selections, assignments, and assessments. Empowering the faculty to conduct innovative teaching, research, and service teaching and research is the key motivator and enabler to do truly outstanding, creative work. Excellence will be further incentivized through appropriate rewards, promotions, recognitions, and movement into institutional leadership. Faculty should not be loaded with excessive administrative work.

There is well laid out salary structure and promotion norms for faculty – assistant professor, associate professor and professor and these have been revised over time as per the recommendations of the various committees and as also envisioned by the University Grant Commission.

The issues for concern are: how the appointment of faculty is transparent, objective as per the prescribed norms and also the payment is as per the prescribed scales; and these are considered for ranking or appraisal by various agencies like, NAAC, NBA, in particular for private institutions which account for above three fourth of our higher education system?

It may be mentioned that various Committees and Commissions had observed that in terms of quality, higher education is over-regulated and under-governed. In that respect, the government appointed National Knowledge Commission (NKC) lead by Sam Pitroda in 2005. The Commission argued for the establishment of Independent Regulatory Authority in Higher Education (IRAHE) which was to take over the approval, recognition and regulatory functions of UGC, AICTE, NCTE, MCI and DEC leaving UGC to focus on the funding function. Similarly, the Yashpal (YP) Committee (2009) argued that the “multiplicity of regulatory authorities with overlapping and conflicting mandate have resulted in compartmentalization of knowledge’ that has been detrimental to higher education and recommended the establishment of an overarching National Commission for Higher Education and Research (NCHER). Similarly, National Commission for Higher Education Policy (NEP 20) argued that higher education has been subjected to heavy regulation with little achievement, such as heavy concentration of power within a few bodies, conflicts of interest among these bodies, and resulting lacking of accountability. The Policy recommended establishment of Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) as an umbrella body for entire higher education excluding medical and legal education. HECI will have four independent verticals’ namely, regulation, accreditation, funding and setting standards. Issue in that respect is how soon the existing regulatory bodies say UGC, AICTE, etc. would be integrated with the proposed one and also how the four verticals would be independent of each other. Further, there is a proposal to merge NAAC and NBA into a new single accreditation and ranking body to enable communication and smooth functioning.

In that respect, adoption of ESG. i.e., Environmental, Social and Governance approach to academic institutions, would provide an important insight about development of higher education system. In that regard, parameters for the three ESG aspects could be briefly listed as under:

Environmental parameters:

• Institutes’ association or involvement with Society
• Institutes impacting environment - climate change
• Institute’s national and international linkages in terms of faculty and students’ exchange

Social parameters:

  • Extent of geographical diversity among faculty
  • Extent of geographical diversity among students; or do they come from a particular region
  • Percentage of students having experience after graduation
  • Students’ have on-campus as well as off-campus placement facility
  • Students are involved in the management of the institute
  • Students are encouraged to take part in sports and other social activities
  • Institute is management driven, or faculty driven, or students driven
  • System of feedback from students and employees is objective, timely and transparent

Governance parameters:

• Employees are well looked after, and are paid the recommended scales
• Faculty is involved mainly with the academic work; is encouraged and is given adequate opportunities for academic work and research.
• Faculty research is recognized, transparent and rewarded
• Teaching methodology is upgraded/ and academic curriculum are revised in line with the demand from industry
• Technology is upgraded to be competitive; digitalization is encouraged, and does not take precedent over conceptualization
• Policy of exit and entry route as recommended by NEP-20 is in practice and is transparent
• Institution develops three, or five year plan and these are
reviewed periodically
• Accounts are maintained and are subject to audit

To sum up, list of parameters to be representative, could be made exhaustive and regulatory bodies like, AICTE could use it to develop ESG reporting standards or indices. As a short-time measure, every institution could use this parameter list as a check-list to observe its rank, negative marking for non-compliance of a particular parameter.

Table 1
Frequency Distribution of Ranked Institutions: for Five the Performance Parameters along with their respective Score

Parameter (Weights in Parenthesis) Institutions Ranks: 
Range
76-100 51-75 26- 50 1-25
* Teaching, Learning and Resources (TLR) (30) (Teaching)
< 40
41 — 60 3 9 1 1
61-80 22 16 24 15
Above 80 - 9
2. Research and Professional Practice (RP) (30)
< 5 1 2 - -
6- 10 10 2 1 -
11 — 20 7 13 5 -
Above 2 0 7 8 19 25
3. Graduation Outcomes (GO) (20)Placement
40 -60 7 3 1
61- 80 16 13 11 1
Above 80 2 9 13 24
* Outreach and Inclusivity (OI) (10) Geographical Diversity
< 40 1 - -
41 — 60 11 6 7 5
61 — 80 12 19 17 20
Above 80 1 - 1 -
* Peer Perception (PP) (10)
< 5 10 4 --- 0
6 — 10 6 3 to 2 0
11 — 20 5 8 11 1
Above 20  4 10 12 24

Table 2
 Rank Score for NIRF Ranked Institutions 

Institution IIMA NMIIMS Mumbai BHU IMT Hydbd Jamu  University
NIRF RANK 1 25 50 75 100
NIRF SCORE 83.33 58.14 50.64 45.18 41.44

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[Authors Welcome Comments / Suggestions / Feedback on the ESG Parameter Checklist. Responses would be acknowledged & would be valuable inputs for developing the study further. Identity of Respondents would not be revealed)]

(Authors: Nand L. Dhameja, Professor Emeritus FMS, Manav Rachna International Institute of Research & Studies, Faridabad & Manish Dhameja, Senior Banker worked in South Africa, UAE and South Asia | Opinions expressed are of the authors and not the organisations to which they belong)

References

  • New Education Policy: Missing Wood and Implementation Issues, Nand Dhameja, (The Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 57, No. 1, July 2021)
  • Environmental, Social Responsibility (ESG): New Age Financial Reporting, Nand L. Dhameja and Manish Dhameja, (Mainstream, VOL LX No 15, New Delhi, April 2, 2022)
  • ESG: New Age Financial Reporting in India- Challenges for Future, Nand L. Dhameja, Samo Bobek, Manish Dhameja, Priyanka Singh (The Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 58, No. 2, October, 2022)
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