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Ranking is a Core Value of Education

Why we need to rank professional educational institute

Source: BusinessToday

Author: Abhishek Agrawal

Ranking is a Core Value of Education

Image courtesy of [chrisroll] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Students should be at the heart of any education system. The education system should be build not only to award degrees and diplomas, but also to help students excel in their lives, especially in their professional pursuits. If taken holistically, this process of inculcating professional excellence among students will reward all – the society, the industries, the institutes and the faculty.

Recently, in two different speeches, the Honourable President of India emphasised the need for ranking educational institutes. He highlighted that the time had come when rankings could no longer be ignored. Rankings help in building transparency, which is one of the core values on education.

During a recent event, the Secretary, Ministry of HRD, declared that even the government is going to take rankings seriously. I was frightened to hear from some top authorities of global ranking agencies that Indian educational institutions are the most difficult to get data from. Hence, there is a need to create a more transparent education system, where institutes should compete to take the best talent. Only then would true empowerment of students take place to make India’s future brighter.

Rankings are also important for the institutes, if taken as feedback, to benchmark against their own performance year-on-year. They get to know how they perform vis-a-vis their peers and the competition. Specially, in the context of Indian business management education, aspiring students have options galore to choose from in terms of –

– Type and duration of courses – from 1-year to 3-years, 2-year programmes being the most popular
– Place of education – Indian to Global B-schools
– Full-time classroom to part-time distance learning

The variety is endless and any choice has lifelong impact on students’ careers. Having decided on the mode, prospective students face challenges in choosing institutes from the 4,000 plus schools imparting business education in India. They need credible information to take important decisions. While the Internet and other media offer a flood of information, all of it cannot be relied on. Self-serving business interests coupled with non-validated information do the rounds of print and online media.

Some recent cases of a few business-schools deliberately misguiding prospective students about their achievements by partially revealing and partially hiding information have upset the system. The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) gets a number of complaints of such misleading advertisements by certain B-schools.

The fierce competition among new and old business schools resulting in more seats than aspiring number of candidates, coupled with the steep hike in tuition fees have led to an unprecedented need for an index on which b-schools can be benchmarked. The B-school ranking is therefore needed by the following sections of society –

1. Prospective students: An aspiring MBA has a lot at stake in addition to her career while choosing a B-school. One needs to have correct, reliable and unbiased information about the learning and living experience of a school, placements, industry recognition and future orientation of the B-schools they have shortlisted for applying/ admission. The information about individual B-schools does not suffice in the decision-making process, It needs to be compared and a cost-benefit analysis is consciously or unconsciously done by aspirants and their parents. The detailed rankings facilitate this process by providing benchmark and comparable information (through a normalized set of data).

2. Current and passed-out students: While negotiating with a prospective employer, it is important for a candidate to know where her alma mater stands vis-a-vis the competition. An alumnus has a certain sense of pride when her alma mater is ranked high and vice-versa.

3.  Corporate: The recruitment of future managers requires an in-depth knowledge of what to look out for and where to find them. A comparison of shortlisted B-schools and their outcomes helps in finding the right fit at the right cost.

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