The University of Mysore (UoM) was ranked 44th in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) for 2023. This is a reflection of the downward trend in its overall standing in the last few years and can be attributed to staff shortage.
The NIRF ranking was announced on Monday and the University of Mysore was ranked 44th among the varsities in the country but its overall ranking among institutions of higher education is further down at 71 for 2023. Its overall ranking among institutions of higher education was 54 in the country in 2022.
The fact that the UoM, which was established in 1916, is holding on to its position among the top 50 universities is the only silver lining in the trend of steep decline being witnessed since 2021 when it broke into top 20 and was ranked 19thin the country among varsities. The rankings are based on broad parameters covering Teaching, Learning and Resources, Research and Professional Practices, Graduation Outcomes, Outreach and Inclusivity, and Perception.
Prof. N.K. Lokanath, Vice Chancellor, University of Mysore, said that decline in the strength of teaching staff is the main reason for the dip in the ranking and it has an overall impact on publication of scientific papers and undertaking research of filing patents.
Vacancy among teaching staff
There is a 55% vacancy among the teaching staff and the government has to recruit 300 lecturers to bridge the gap. The present tendency is to hire guest lecturers to complete the syllabus but they confine themselves to taking classes. Non-permanent and guest faculty cannot be expected to publish papers or undertake research or guide scholars for PhDs.
Besides, 8 to 9 senior professors tend to retire every year widening the shortfall of faculty. This also has a cascading impact on publication of scientific papers and carrying out research, and going forward these activities will further decline and impact the NIRF ranking in future if fresh recruitment of permanent staff was not made immediately.
Grim financial condition
The varsity’s financial condition also is grim and the bulk of its annual budget of nearly ₹240 crore goes towards pension and salaries. ‘’While the pension component is pegged at ₹90 crore, the rest goes to meet the salaries leaving very little for academic development,” said Prof. Lokanath.
The government’s policy of having a varsity in each district has also affected the financial position of the University of Mysore. Earlier, it had its jurisdiction spread over Mysuru, Mandya, Hassan and Chamarajanagar. This has gradually shrunk and from this year, the varsities in Hassan and Mandya have been authorized to make their own admission. As a result, the affiliation fee from colleges and students’ admission fee which were good sources of revenue will shrink adding to financial constraints of the varsity from this year.