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Task of Rating Indian Engineering Colleges

A couple of research organizations including the mass media groups have been conducting periodical surveys and opinion polls to judge academic institutions in various streams. Thus they come up with the rating of top engineering institute in Uttarakhand. By and large, these studies are primarily based on the following parameters:
·        Campus overview
·        Status of faculty
·        Quality of students
·        Research output
·        Industry interface
·        Refereed publications
·        Academic productivity

Such studies are contended to be with an objective of projecting an insight on each of these colleges for millions of aspirant engineering students across the country. And thus help them in taking a decisive step in choosing suitable engineering college.

In one of these surveys, the organisers did admit that rating academic institutions is indeed, a difficult task as nearly 3500 institutions including autonomous and private universities exist in the country. It was also revealed that at the outset this study commenced half a decade ago with focus on just over 400 colleges on a six-point rating scale. In the subsequent two years, the number rose to 720 and later 1000 while their cut-offs, output and placements steered the ratings. Progressively, the modus operandi in rating was changed since the number of colleges and universities also increased. This in turn provided a data to judge aspects like the top university in India for engineering among others.

The latest survey had kept in view the student preferences as represented by cut-offs in the state and central admission modes. Reportedly, over 23 state and national entrances and over 12 private and deemed universities with their own admission norms and cut-off scores were examined. The findings in this study were reckoned at regional and national levels by the size of the respondents in the sample tests and opinion polls. This provided a scorecard whereby the top 25 percent numbering around 940 colleges and universities were short-listed.

These institutions were further filtered by other yardsticks bringing down their figure to 600. It was based on their participation in supplementary research funding process, TEQIP (Government of India’s Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme) and the status of accreditation. This methodology in the rating of engineering colleges also included examination of publication record and the corresponding citation and the Hirsch index figures from Elsevier’s Scopus for a 3-year period. The H-index reflects the academic acumen of a scientist or a scholar in the context of productivity and citation impact of published works. The Scopus and H-index are regarded as right tools in ascertaining the worth of doctorates and allied thesis materials.

Compilation of data on these factors paved the way for a cumulative rating to create around nine clusters unlike the five on previous occasions. Thus these colleges were graded as per the rating criterion in various domains such as -
o   Exceptional
o   Outstanding
o   Very Good
o   Good
o   Above Average
o   Fair
o   Average
o   Pass
o   Improve
While one may appreciate such studies, the fact remains that at times these findings could be partial in one form or the other since engineering institutes in India are a diverse lot.

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