Months after declaring Bishop Heber College (BHC) Trichy the 3rd best arts and science colleges in the country, the national institutional ranking framework (NIRF) has withdrawn the ranking of the institution after detecting errors in the data submission process.
NIRF website shows that the rank BHC had obtained in NIRF-2018 released on April 5 has been withdrawn. The college has not submitted details of its self-financing programmes including student and faculty strength unlike other colleges. This helped the institution gain advantage and eventually higher top rank.
TOI had reported the irregularity on April 8 after accessing the data submitted by BHC through NIRF website. It was found that BHC had given the total students strength as 2,086 UG and PG put together for the year 2016-17. However, the college has a student strength of 9,088 as per its internal quality assurance report for 2016-17. Many of the employees in the self-financing courses do not have PhD or have cleared NET or SLET, which is mandatory as per UGC norms. Hiding such details gave an undue advantage to the college. When NIRF conducted an inquiry into the issue, the college is said to have confessed to committing the error. Subsequently, its ranking was withdrawn a month ago, but the details have come out only now.
The college was accused of partial data submission by deliberately hiding details to gain advantage in the ranking process. Some of the city colleges took strong exception to its move of not submitting details of its self-financing programs. They even went on to lodge complaints with NIRF, which led to the subsequent inquiry and action. Speaking to TOI over phone, chairman, National Board of Accreditation – ranking agency of the NIRF, Surendra Prasad said that they had received complaints from people against BHC. “We checked the facts and the college had also admitted that they had made the error and we thought it is appropriate that the rank is withdrawn,” said Prasad.
Asked as to when the decision on withdrawing the ranking was taken, Surendra said it happened over a month ago. They had to go through a process and give full opportunity for the college to defend their case. The decision was taken after the college gave their defence. However, in the moment of distress, there is some relief too for Bishop Heber College management as only the ranking has been withdrawn, and no action has been initiated against it. This means, they are not barred from participating from this years’ ranking process. “There is only withdrawal of the ranking as the college had admitted to its errors and hope the college or any other college for that matter would not make any such mistakes,” said the NBA chairman.