Bringing little to cheer for Kerala, the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) saw most State universities and several prominent colleges drop several rungs.
However, the Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) and a few Centrally run institutions, including IIM Kozhikode and NIT Calicut, bucked the trend to provide a silver lining to the dismal show.
While Kerala, Mahatma Gandhi, and Calicut universities slipped in the rankings, CUSAT climbed 18 ranks to reach 44 among universities in the country. IIM Kozhikode was ranked the fourth best among B-schools in the country. Despite falling two rungs among engineering colleges, NIT Calicut impressed by becoming the second best among architecture institutes.
Except Thrissur Government Engineering College, none of the top-100 engineering institutions could improve their rankings in 2020. While the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, fell from 85 to 95, NIT Calicut dropped two ranks to reach 25. The Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology was ranked 40th, a fall from 33 last year.
The Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology and the National University of Advanced Legal Studies came 11th and 26th in the medical and law categories respectively. The State had no representation in these categories last year.
Higher Education Minister R. Bindu said the State had been able to put up a decent show, despite being unable to realise its true potential as an education hub.
Hoping to kick-start a massive overhaul of the education sector, the government had announced three commissions comprising eminent academics on the same day. These panels would suggest fundamental changes required to address the existing shortcomings, the Minister said.
Kerala State Higher Education Council vice chairman Rajan Gurukkal said that the higher education institutions that figured in the top-100 ranks could largely maintain their positions despite an increase in competition.
He also pointed out that the State differed from many others by ensuring priority in distributive justice of resources.
Amruth G. Kumar, Professor of Education, Central University of Kerala, said State universities lacked competence in attracting research funds. Faculty members often faced administrative hurdles while bringing research projects to universities. Scant regard was also ensured towards extension activities, he said.