Kanhaiya Kumar, the JNU student arrested on charges of sedition last month, has said it is “ridiculous” that the university has been ranked number 3 in the country by the Centre’s education ministry.
“Feels ridiculous that on one hand the Ministry of Human Resource Development is attacking us over autonomy and on the other hand we are on this list,” said Mr Kumar, who is the president of the students union at JNU or Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi.
JNU and the Hyderabad University where Dalit student Rohit Vemula killed himself in January, are among the central universities placed at the top of the government’s first ever domestic rankings for educational institutions, released by Education Minister Smriti Irani today.
The National Ranking Framework covers 3,500 institutes in four different categories. While JNU is number 3 universities, the Hyderabad University is ranked number 4. The Indian Institute of Science Bangalore is number 1 and the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai is 2nd.
Both JNU and the Hyderabad University have been at the centre of massive rows that have led to student protests against Ms Irani.
Kanhaiya Kumar – among three JNU students who were arrested on charges of sedition after anti-national slogans were allegedly raised at the university – is out on bail and recently visited the Hyderabad University to show solidarity with students who have been on protest demanding justice for Rohith Vemula, who they allege was persecuted because he was a Dalit.
Mr Kumar was stopped from entering the university.
The India rankings for 2016 cover government and private institutions in four categories, Engineering, Management, Pharmacy and Universities. They were released today ahead of the next academic year which starts in the summer for college students and seek to “empower students and parents” while creating healthy competition among educational institutes, Ms Irani’s ministry said.
Perception among students, alumni, parents, employees and the public was one of the key parameters on which the institutes were ranked by a committee of experts. Teaching and learning resources, graduation outcomes, and research were other factors.
Ms Irani said the effort is to make the ranking system an annual affair so that students can know about an institute before applying for admission.