A Model for Quality and Inclusive Education

A Model for Quality and Inclusive Education

A Model for Quality and Inclusive Education


The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), a system implemented by the Ministry of Education in India to evaluate and rank higher education institutions, has highlighted an intriguing aspect regarding Tamil Nadu’s approach to education. The latest NIRF ranking for the top 100 colleges in India in 2023 demonstrates the remarkable consistency of Tamil Nadu in providing education that is not only of good quality but also inclusive.


GS-02 (Education, Government Policies & Interventions)


  • NIRF ranking 2023.

Mains Questions:

  • Examine the reasons behind Tamil Nadu’s consistent success in achieving both quality and inclusive higher education and its implications for other states. (150 words)

NIRF Ranking:

  • A ranking system across the country to rank institutions on various parameters depending on the category of the institution.
  • Launched on 29th September 2015 under Ministry of Education (Erstwhile Ministry of Human Resource Development)
  • It is the first ever initiative to rank the Higher Education Institutions in the country


Dimensions of the Article:

  • NIRF Ranking and its Parameters
  • Participation and Proportion
  • Regional Disparities in College Rankings
  • Consistency in Tamil Nadu’s Performance
  • Geographical Distribution and Social Inclusion

I. NIRF Ranking and its Parameters:

  • The NIRF adopts a comprehensive metric for ranking colleges, encompassing five parameters with varying weightage: Teaching, Learning and Resources (40%), Graduation Outcome (25%), Research and Professional Practices (15%), Outreach and Inclusivity (10%), and Perception (10%).
  • Despite its imperfections, this ranking metric proves reasonably robust as it incorporates a broad range of curated parameters.

II. Participation and Proportion:

  • The number of colleges participating in the NIRF ranking has witnessed a five-fold increase, from 535 in 2017 to 2,746 in 2023. While this growth is significant, it is crucial to acknowledge that the participating colleges represent only a fraction of the total number of colleges in India.
  • Given the widespread recognition and credibility associated with the NIRF ranking, it is reasonable to assume that many high-quality colleges actively participate in the evaluation process.
  • Attaining a position in the top 100 rankings not only enhances their reputation but also augments the demand for admissions. Conversely, non-participating colleges may lack quality and lag behind in most ranking parameters.

III. Regional Disparities in College Rankings:

  • The analysis of the top 100 NIRF-ranked colleges in 2023 reveals the dominance of Tamil Nadu, with 35 colleges securing a position in the list. Delhi follows closely with 32 colleges, while Kerala and West Bengal contribute 14 and 8 colleges, respectively.
  • These four states collectively account for 89% of the top-ranked colleges, highlighting the substantial disparity among regions. Remarkably, populous states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Odisha do not have a single college in the top 100.
  • Even the other southern states exhibit a disappointing performance, with Karnataka featuring two colleges, Telangana with one, and Andhra Pradesh with none. The significant share of Tamil Nadu (35%) surpasses the combined share of the other four southern states (17%) by a significant margin.

IV. Consistency in Tamil Nadu’s Performance:

  • Even within the last five years, characterized by rapid growth in the number of participating colleges, Tamil Nadu has maintained its supremacy, except for 2022, when it was on par with Delhi.

V. Geographical Distribution and Social Inclusion:

  • Chennai accounts for only 26% (9 colleges) of the top-ranked institutions. Coimbatore, with an equal share, consistently competes with Chennai. Tiruchirappalli follows with five colleges (14%). The remaining 12 colleges are spread across 11 different locations.
  • This distribution pattern is not unique to the current year but has been observed in previous rankings as well. Although urban areas like Chennai, Coimbatore, and Tiruchirappalli may benefit more, it is likely that the top-ranked colleges from these regions, spanning three different areas, also cater to poor and disadvantaged groups, both within these regions and their neighboring areas.
  • Tamil Nadu’s robust implementation of reservation policies, coupled with a high reservation quota, contributes to this inclusive approach. Furthermore, the presence of over one-third of the top-ranked colleges in various locations not only caters to rural and underserved areas but also offers quality education opportunities to students from economically deprived backgrounds, who may lack the financial resources and social networks to pursue education in Chennai, Coimbatore, or Tiruchirappalli.
  • Therefore, the colleges outside Chennai, as well as other districts, play a significant role in promoting quality and inclusion, aligning with the state’s development goals focused on social justice. Kerala is the only other state that achieves a similar level of success in this regard.

Way Forward:

Tamil Nadu’s consistent and impressive performance in higher education demonstrates that quality and inclusion can be achieved concurrently and consistently. This achievement should serve as an inspiration for other southern states, which already possess inclusive and effective social welfare systems, to reflect on the reasons for their lagging performance and take proactive steps to address the existing challenges.