Jamia in Top 10 Universities in HRD's NIRF Ranking but Loses Battle of 'Perception'

“JNU’s perception score does not drop despite the anti-national tag,” said Mohammad Sayeed, a researcher and former student of Jamia. “This shows how important certain identity is.”

New Delhi: Despite having a higher overall ranking amongst universities vis-a-vis parameters like graduate outcomes, teaching, learning and resources, outreach and inclusivity, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) has scored lower when it comes to the parameter of “perception” in comparison with Delhi University (DU).

According to the latest National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2020 released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) on Thursday, Jamia figures in the top ten varsities of the country in the overall ranking of universities, with DU at the eleventh position.

As per an official statement by Jamia, this is the first time that the varsity has secured a position amongst the top ten universities of the country. “JMI has been ranked at the 10th position in the country in universities category, improving its position from 12 last year,” the statement said, further adding that “In ‘overall category’, the university has been placed at 16th position, enhancing it’s ranking from 19th last year. IITs, IIMs, IISc, other top technical institutions and universities are included in the overall category. A total of around 6 thousand institutions took part in NIRF this year.”

“The achievement is all the more significant because of the challenging time the university has faced recently and also in the light of increased competition in the ranking,” said Jamia Vice-Chancellor professor Najma Akhtar. According to the statement, the VC also “attributed the achievement to the improved perception about the university with regard to teaching, placements, research etc.” with the hope of doing better in the coming years.

While it is true that Jamia has scored higher than DU as far as the overall ranking of universities, graduate outcomes, outreach and inclusivity and teaching, learning and resources are concerned, it still falls behind in perception, said Mohammad Sayeed, a researcher, who has analysed the NIRF 2020 report of three central universities of Delhi, namely JNU, Jamia and DU.

Approved by the MHRD and launched in September 2015, the ranking report is broadly based on parameters such as “Teaching, Learning and Resources,” “Research and Professional Practices,” “Graduation Outcomes,” “Outreach and Inclusivity,” and “Perception”.

Also read: ‘I Hide My College ID Card’: Jamia Students Fight Social Stigma

According to Sayeed’s comparative analysis, Jamia scored 71. 35 out of 100 in teaching, learning and resources category this year, while DU scored 50.18 and JNU 74. 98. Similarly, in the graduate outcomes category, Jamia scored 88.52, JNU 100 and DU 88.21. Furthermore, in terms of outreach and inclusivity Jamia (73.05) is way above DU (60.37) and a little below JNU (75.10).

However, it falls far behind when it comes to ‘perception’, with a score of just 31.60 out of 100, while DU scored 53.44 and JNU 67.24 points. Notably, “the ranking methodology gives a significant importance to the perception of the institution” as per the MHRD.

“The Jamia perception number can be compared not only with its own column but every other number in the table to show how exceptionally low it is. How can a university suddenly drop in one specific criterion?,” Sayeed told The Wire. Sayeed, a former student of Jamia, who completed his PhD on Jamia Nagar from the Delhi School of Economics (DSE), DU, further said that “JNU’s perception score does not drop despite the anti-national tag” and added that “this shows how important certain identity is.”

Both Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia have been at the centre of a storm for protests by students against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), the National Register of Citizens (NRC), hostel fee hike, etc. Both the universities have been constantly targeted, termed as dens of ‘anti-national’ activities and there have also been demands by right wing organisations to shut down both the universities.

On December 15 last year, the students of Jamia were violently attacked by the Delhi Police. According to a fact-finding report, the police attacked students with the intent of inflicting maximum damage. Later, a right-wing supporter fired at Jamia student protesters while they were marching towards Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial on January 30.

A number of Jamia’s students and alumni are currently lodged in jail for allegedly instigating violence in north-east Delhi in February this year and being a part of a ‘conspiracy‘.

Similarly, the students and teachers of JNU were brutally attacked in January, allegedly by members of right-wing organisations. In addition, two students from the varsity (JNU) have been arrested under charges similar to those that students from Jamia have been booked under.