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National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF 2023)

National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) & World University Ranking (WUR) 2022

Arun C Mehta
Formerlly Professor & Head of EMIS Department, NIEPA, New Delhi

In this note, we briefly discuss and take a view of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) & World University Ranking (WUR) 2022 with regard to higher education institutions in India which is respectively initiated by the Ministry of Education, Government of India and Times Higher Education Magazine.

National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)

The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) was initiated by the Department of Higher Education of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (now Ministry of Education) in 2016 which categorized institutions under universities, institutions, engineering, and pharmacy. Initially, because of the poor quality of the data, no ranking was announced in the case of the B category institutions. However, later the quality of data improved and new categories of institutions were added.

In this brief note ranking of the first ten universities and institutions right from 2016 to the latest 2022 is glanced at. In the latest 2022 ranking, Teaching Learning and Resources (weight-age 0.30), Research and Professional Practices (weight-age 0.30), Graduation Outcomes (weight-age 0.20), Outreach and Inclusivity (weight-age 0.10), and Perception (weight-age 0.10), are the parameters which have been used broadly in ranking institutions. Each of these parameters is further sub-categorized through which the institutions are ranked. National Board of Accreditation (NBA) is continued to be the Ranking Agency on behalf of NIRF for 2022.

The latest NIFR released on 15th July by the Minister of Education has categorized different institutions falling under Overall, Universities, Colleges, Research Institutes, Engineering, Medical, Management, Pharmacy, Dental, Law, and Architecture institutions.

The NIFR Dataset

In the 2022 ranking, all candidate institutions, independent of their discipline or nature have been included in the given overall ranking provided that they have a total strength of 1,000 students in undergraduate and/or postgraduate programs. As many as 18,875 universities, colleges, institutions, etc. have participated in NIFR 2022 Rankings. It may be recalled that as per the AISHE, there were about 1,043 universities, 42,342 colleges, and 11,779 stand-alone institutions in the Country data from which were collected during the year 2019-20; thus indicating that a good number of such institutions are still out of the reach of NIFR in 2022.

The NIFR 2022 has specified the process through which the institutions had to provide the data. Institutions that were desirous of participating in the ranking process were required to submit the data in the format which is specifically designed by the NIRF. The NIRF 2022 made it mandatory for participating institutions to upload their data on their website so that it is publically visible to anyone.

The finalized data submitted after the comments and observations received from the NIRF must be made available on its website and must be remained there for at least three years all of which would help in improving the transparency and overall quality of data. Had there been a need, the accreditation team had to physically visit the institution concerned and scrutinize the records. The interested institutions needed to register themselves on the NIFR portal.

NIRF: 2017 to 2022, OVERALL Rankings

Name Score























Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai, (Tamil Nadu)


87.59 1  

1 (86.76)


1 (85.31)


1 (83.88)


2 (81.39)


2 (73.97)

Indian Institute of Science  Bengaluru, (Karnataka)


83.57 2  

2 (82.67)


2 (84.18)


2 (82.28)


1 (82.16)


1 (82.28)

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, Mumbai (Maharashtra) 82.35 3 3 (82.52) 4 (80.75) 4 (78.62) 3 (79.20) 3 (71.78)
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi,  New Delhi(Delhi)


82.22 4  

4 (81.75)


3 (81.33)


3 (78.69)


4 (73.97)


5 (64.18)

Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh) 77.83 5  

5 (76.50)


6 (74.99)


6 (79.07)


7 (65.39)


7 (60.69)

Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Kharagpur (West Bengal)




75.94 6  



6 (75.62)




5 (75.85)




5 (74.31)




5 (71.39)




4 (68.43)

Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee,  Roorkee (Uttarakhand)


71.48 7
7 (71.40) 8 (68.48) 8 (67.68) 8 (64.93) 9 (59.84)
IIT Guwahati, Guwahati (Assam) 69.75 8 8 (69.26) 9 (68.81) 9 (65.47) 12 (60.16)
All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi (Delhi)






















Maybe AIIMS is included for the first time in NIRF 2022








Jawaharlal Nehru University,  New Delhi (Delhi)


67.25 10  

9 (66.61)


8 (68.76)


7 (68.68)


6 (67.57)


6 (61.53)

BHU Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) 64.81 11 10 (63.10) 10 (62.03) 10 (64.55) 9 (63.52) 10 (58.92)
Anna University Chennai (Tamil Nadu) 10 (62.82)

Note: Overall ranks were not awarded in 2016, Source: NIRF, different years. Readers are requested to refer source of information and provide a full reference to the contents used.

NIRF Overall Ranking: 2017 to 2022, First 10 Institutions

In this brief note, we take a review of the first ten ranked institutions that found a place in NIRF 2022 which includes all types of institutions including universities, colleges, institutions, and other types of institutions mentioned above. The objective is to see how these first 10 ranked institutions performed in the past years starting the first year of NIRF i.e. 2016; unfortunately, NIFR 2016 does not present an overall rank but has ranked for each of the four categories considered in ranking in that year. Because of this, the past performance of the first 10 institutions is viewed between the years 2022 to 2017.

The analysis is summarised in the form of a Table which indicates that by and large, the first 10 ranked institutions that found a place in the overall ranking in 2022 have also had high ranks since the beginning of NIRF 2017. However, there are a few exceptions that indicate improvement in the case of a few institutions and a slight decline in the case of a few others.

Further, it has been observed that the highest first ranked institution though it is on the top of the list but still not perfect as their overall scores are far below 100, an institution can attain as per the NIFR framework but not a single institution is near in achieving the same. Further, it has also been observed a wide gap in scores of the first and the tenth institutions in 2022 in the overall rank. Further, it has been observed that the gap in scores of the first ranked and the second rank institutions in 2022 is wide and significant and it would be rather difficult to bridge the gap in the coming years.

It is also important to discuss whether NIFR ranking is required to be computed every year or once in five years? How much change/improvement does occur in an institution in a year?  Do they change swiftly between the two years? The gap between the top and the bottom and middle-ranked institutions is so wide and significant that the bottom-ranked institutions will take longer or may not even be able to bridge the gap. On the other hand, it is rather difficult also for the top-ranked institutions to further improve their overall scores which are visible in their 2022 scores. It has also been observed that compared to the initial scores in 2017, scores look very impressive in 2022 but the last three years’ scores of these institutions suggest that even the top-ranked institutions reached a saturation point and it would be difficult for them to further improve.

The initial wide gap in scores may also be attributed to the fact that institutions were not equipped to have all the requisite information to submit to the NIFR  portal. But with each passing year and also because of the gradual improvement in the higher education database through the AISHE, the same has improved significantly and institutions now are better equipped to submit the information required for NIRF ranking.

NIRF in India was initiated 3 years after such an exercise was undertaken globally to rank the global World in universities in the year 2013. Like the NIRF ranking, the World University Ranking is also available for the year. As many as 13 performance indicators spread over areas of the international outlook, research, knowledge transfer and teaching have been used in the global international ranking in 2022. As many as 2,100 institutions (mostly universities, around 1,600) from all over the World from about 99 countries participated in the World University Ranking in 2022 all of which have not been assigned ranks because of the deficiencies in the database which they submitted. Both the University of Oxford in the area of teaching and Harward University in the area of research continued to be the best universities in the World.

So far as the participation of India in the World ranking is concerned as many as 89 institutions participated in 2022 but all of them have not been assigned the ranking and they are termed as Reporters; the number of such institutions is around 18 which includes Tata Institute of Funadamental Research, Management Development Institute, Mizoram University, University of Kerala, etc.

The outcome of the NIFR ranking is also reflected in the World ranking; the Indian Institute of Science located in Banglore is the highest ranked institution from India and is placed in the rank bracket of 301 to 350; this means that IIS is amongst the top best 350 institutions of the World.

Next to IIS, there are a few institutions that are otherwise not ranked in the first 10 ranked institutions in NIFR 2022 but has found a place in the rank bracket of 351 to 400 which includes the newly established IIT Ropar and IIT Indore which are followed by institutions like Thapar Institute of Engineering & Technology and Alagappa University, the only two institutions from India to find a place in the rank bracket of 501 to 600.

Two of the top-ranked universities in the NIFR 2022, namely the Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi University, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi could find a place only in the rank bracket of 601 to 800. On the other hand, the Aligarh Muslim University is ranked between 801 to 1000 bracket so the newly entered KIIT is in this bracket. Surprisingly none of the top-ranked IITs such as IIT Madras, IIT  Mumbai, and IIT Delhi as per NIRE 2022 could find a place in the World ranking. Overall only 35 Indian universities could find a place in the top 1,000 universities of the Wolrd.

Many of the USA Universities like the previous years ranked at the top as it seems that the barring one, the World’s top universities are all located in the USA; that is the reason why a large number of students not only from India but also from across the World used to prefer universities located in the USA; top 10 universities of the World are the University of Oxford, California Institute of Technology, Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Cambridge, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of California, Berkeley, Yale University, and The University of Chicago. India still needs continued effort not only to further strengthen its higher education sector but a lot more also is required to improve the efficiency of its school education sector without which the higher education sector cannot grow on its own which has become necessary because of its resolution to attain a high GER of 50 percent in the year 2035.

The World ranking is also available region wise and the same for the Asia Region reveals that India is far behind and needs concerted efforts to improve its higher education & keep pace with the other countries of the world, such as China for which it needs to allocate at least 6 percent of its GDP as has been reassured in the recently adopted NEP 2020. As many as 829 institutions reported data from the Asia Region of which 89 institutions were from India out of which 18 could not be assigned ranks and are termed only as the Reporter.

With a cursory look at the ranks of the Indian institutions, one gets the impression that a few not much known have found a place in the ranking in the Asian Region on the other hand institutions, such as JNU, JMI, AMU and many of the top-ranked IITs ranked in the 1st to 10th  in NIFR 2022 couldn’t find a place in top 150 institutions located in the Asia region. Tsinghua University and Peking University both from the Peoples’ Republic of China are the best in Asia with their ranks standing at 1st and 2nd in 2022. On the other hand, the National University of Singapore is the third best institution located in the Asian Region.

The top-ranked NIRF 2022, the Indian Institute of Science Banglore is the 42nd best institution in Asia which is followed by the JSS Academy of Higher Education & Research which is ranked  65th.  Maybe the Jawaharlal Nehreu University, Jamia Milia Islamia University, Delhi University, etc are the best-known universities in India but all of these institutions are ranked much lower respectively at 167th, 160th, in the 201 to 250th  bracket all of which indicate that Indian higher education still needs to improve a lot to keep a pace with the best such institutions in Asia. Similarly, the top-ranked IITs could not find a place compared to IIT Ropar (68th Rank), IIT Indore (87th Rank), IIT Gandhinagar (120th  Rank), Aligarh Muslim University (122th   Rank) etc.

Data on Higher Education in India

Recent Initiatives (SDG, SEQI, EDI & PGI)

Selected Publications of Prof. Mona Khare on Higher Education in India

National Institute of Ranking Framework 2022: Brief Anlaysis by Arun C Mehta

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