February 18, 2020
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The Rank The File, And A Whole New Chapter

Indian students never had it so good. Outlook-Synovate map the nation's best campuses.

The Rank The File, And A Whole New
Narendra Bisht
The Rank The File, And A Whole New Chapter
Best Of The Best
  • IIT Kharagpur, Government Engineering
  • BITS Pilani, Private Engineering
  • AIIMS, Delhi Medical
  • NID, Ahmedabad, Fashion Technology
  • IHMR, Jaipur, Healthcare Management
  • IHM, Bangalore, Hotel Management
  • NLSIU, Bangalore, Law


Mass Communication Institutes
  • AJ Kidwai Mass Comm. Research Center, Delhi
  • Asian College of Journalism , Chennai
  • Dept of Communication & Journalism, Pune
  • Film & Television Institute of India, Pune
  • IIMC, Delhi
  • Manorama School of Communication, Kottayam
  • Mudra Institute of Comm. Arts, Ahmedabad
  • Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai
  • Symbiosis Institute of Communication, Pune
  • Xavier Institute of Communications, Mumbai


Professionalism, above all, is a state of mind. Beyond skills, efficiencies and high standards, there are some important attributes of a true professional that are often swept under the carpet. Integrity. Honesty. Sticking to one’s word. As we celebrate the winners of the Outlook annual ranking of India’s top professional colleges, now in its third edition and this time with research firm Synovate, it is these qualities that need to come to the fore. At a time when these colleges face immense change and challenges—both internal and external—this call acquires urgency.

But first the good news: it’s a wonderful time to be a young student in India. There are so many new, exciting opportunities in the professional space—from the conventional engineering and medical ones to the fast-growing fields of law, fashion technology, hotel management, mass communications and healthcare management. As our rankings of the top institutions reveal, there are many centres of excellence now with healthy research outfits and even healthier track records of placements. Top ranking IIT Kharagpur, for instance, had an average placement salary of Rs 7.44 lakh per annum—and boasts a 98 per cent success rate in placements. At the same time, there’s also been a marked absence of new names in the ranking. There’s confusion too, given the large number of institutes offering "excellent prospects". These rankings, we believe, will help you make a more informed choice.

A bit about how we go about it. Our survey ranks the top engineering and medical colleges using a combination of objective and perceptual parameters (see methodology). More weight (60 per cent) is given to the objective parameters, which are based on data provided by the institutes. The perceptual part (40 per cent) captures what educationists, industry professionals and aspirants feel about the institute in question. Too much of perception could skew the data towards a chosen few. On the other hand, there is always a question mark as to just how "objective" is the data provided to us by the institutes. It is here that we intend to take our rankings further: from next year, we will physically verify the findings from individual institutes. Then again, the ranking of the other professional streams is based entirely on perceptual data. Here too, we intend to change things, and will marry objective and perceptual rankings from next year.

There is a wider issue here. Education, as we all know, is big business in the country. New professional colleges are springing up practically every day. Many of them don’t have proper facilities for technical studies, let alone trained faculty. As our feature on the phenomenal growth of India’s educational hubs (A Dam for Every Flood) explores, a deep-rooted desire for professional studies in parts of the country, particularly the south and the west, has led to a boom in professional colleges. Not only is fees in these private institutes very high, students often discover they’ve been misled by the promoters. There are no easy answers, as the state needs the private sector to push higher education and doesn’t want to foster an inspector raj. But some sort of regulation is urgently needed, for the present system is just not delivering. To gauge where this debate is heading, read Sam Pitroda’s interview.

Expectedly then students continue to favour government institutions as their first choice for a quality education. Here too, the winds of change are blowing. A move towards higher fees at professional colleges like the IIMs, IITs and NITs has already begun. In many ways, it’s inevitable given the kind of salaries graduates from these institutes command in the marketplace. Our feature on rising fees (Have the Meal, Keep the Course) discusses this issue. With further reservations now a reality at government-aided colleges for higher studies, we also look at where this will take our education system in the future. Our columnists don’t paint a pretty picture of it all.

A recurring theme in this special is how unemployable graduates from professional colleges end up being. In an exclusive column, former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam provides some answers (A Little Flare to Scientific Temper). Urging engineering graduates to consider the immense challenges in pure science, he maps out just what is needed to improve the quality of education and educators. Perhaps some help could come from industry, which is increasingly putting in financial and technical inputs to make courses more relevant vis-a-vis the employability of students (A Latent Synergy). Even here, a lot of mistrust and expectations need to be bridged before we get results on the ground. On a positive note, the number of women engineers is on the rise, indicating that at least something’s changing for the better.

These are exciting times. India is being increasingly seen as a manufacturing and knowledge hub. There are opportunities galore in the professional space. There are also challenges, in the shape of global economic worries and flagging economic growth at home. There’s no better time than now to fix the system, professionally. We owe it to ourselves.

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