Bhubaneswar: The gradual decline of National Institute of Technology (NIT) Rourkela in Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings has become a cause for concern with teachers
Though the NIT-Rourkela held on to its number 1 position in the state and country in the latest rankings released recently, there has been a consistent drop in its ranking since 2017.
2017: World 601-800; India 14; NITs: 1
2018: World 601-800; India 14; NITs: 1
2019: World 601-800; India 19; NITs: 1
2020: World 801-1000; India 29; NITs: 1
2021: World 801-1000; India 29; NITs: 1
2022: World 801-1000; India 30; NITs: 1
NIT-Rourkela insiders attribute it to lack of leadership and vision and not to fall in the standard of education. “We are sad our rank has gone down among Indian universities from 14 to 30 in the last five years,” said a teacher requesting anonymity.
In 2019, the premier technical institute grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons. Allegations of nepotism and corruption abounded as Comptroller-cum-Auditor General (CAG) rapped it for gross irregularities in recruitment and promotions in various departments, including financial burden running to over a crore. The constitution of selection panel, in one case, was termed as “invalid”.
“Senior faculty members have been ignored for deanship and other administrative positions. There are about 20 plus HAG professors with more than 30 years of experience and 50 senior professors with 20 plus years of experience in the institute. But no one has been given any role in institute administration,” said the teacher.
NIT-Rourkela Director Animesh Biswas, however, said the rankings are a game of perception. “Though the institute is doing well in research, there exists a perception that it is not being done properly. But we are doing better than most NITs, including the one at Trichy, and have consistently been ranked as the top institute,” he said.
The director further said the number of foreign students studying in an institute also play a role in determining its ranking. “We joined the Study in India Programme last year and are hopeful of attracting more foreign students to the institute,” he said.
Biswas further maintained that had the institute been in Bhubaneswar, it would have scored better in the rankings.
Institute insiders, on their part, do not agree with such a contention and said the institute had achieved higher rankings despite being at Rourkela. “There are quite a few parameters that determine ranking. We should not single out a few and try to brush our failings on others under the carpet. It is time the institute authorities understood the ground realities,” pointed out another teacher.