August 28, 2019 · blog

Ensuring quality higher education has turned out to be a paramount part of the education sphere in the current times. Higher education is one segment which can greatly shape and transform a country’s future. Colleges and universities are looking to stand out in the crowd, provide global curriculum with exposure to local perspectives.

On the other hand, the student community, parents, researchers, employers, government bodies perceive universities as a direct implication of the institution’s reputation formed as a result of its ranking. For instance, Krishnavaj, a student from Bangalore, says, “While choosing a college, I first look at the college ranking because we aspire to aim for the best possible university. Only a highly capable university gives us more opportunities to be successful.”

A National level framework for ranking universities

University rankings play an instrumental role in shaping the opinions of current, potential and prospective students. In India, the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) set up by the Central HRD Ministry is an authorised body for ranking higher education institutions across India. While ranking the institutions, NIRF has conceived a comprehensive metric framework to take a granular approach at every parameter and arrive at a suitable ranking for every institution.

A collaboration with the best in the world

QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) from the UK, as a leading global higher education company is acclaimed for publishing the QS World University Rankings every year. These rankings outshine the top Educational institutions across the world. QS Rankings helps millions of aspiring students to choose their desired institution with the mark of credibility and performance. With years of increasing success rate of these rankings and their acceptance by the global education system, QS has branched out further into several other rankings. Some of the prominent ones being, QS World University Rankings by Subject, QS Global MBA Rankings, QS Graduate Employability Rankings etc. These rankings cater to different aspects of higher education spreading across disciplines, subjects, regions, degree outcomes etc.

QS has also introduced two rating systems, namely, QS Stars and QS I∙GAUGE, latter being the most recent addition in 2018. These ratings are different from the conventional ranking system and highlight an institution’s strengths and weaknesses as against ordinal comparison. With the extreme high-level competition and standard check to enter QS Rankings, the ratings give all institutions a chance to portray their individual performance amongst a set of criteria, irrespective of their position in the rankings.

QS I∙GAUGE rating system, a product of QS and Era Foundation in India, remains unique in its nature due its sole engagement with Indian Higher education system. QS I∙GAUGE rates colleges and universities across the country with complete operational control held by QS. With prevalence of NIRF Rankings in the country, it becomes important to note the peculiarities of both NIRF Rankings and QS IGAUGE Ratings within the Indian Higher education landscape.

Primary differences between rankings and rating

Ranking framework

Rating framework


  • Based on the score accrued from various categories, the framework decides the ranking of the institution.
  • The methodology draws from the overall recommendations, and broad understanding arrived at by a core committee set up by the HRD Ministry.
  • Based on points accrued in each category, the ratings include, Diamond+, Diamond, Gold, Silver, Bronze and Provisional rating.
  • QS maintains complete operational control and supervision on the processes. Each rating produced is strictly monitored for quality control by the QS Intelligence Unit in London


  • Teaching, learning and resources - 
    • These parameters are related to the core activities of a place of learning
  • Research & professional practice - 
    • Excellence in teaching and learning is closely associated with scholarship
  • Graduation outcomes - 
    • This parameter forms the ultimate test of the effectiveness of the core teaching/learning
  • Outreach & inclusivity - 
    • Special emphasis on the representation of women
  • Perception - 
    • Significance is given to the perception of the institution 

Primary criteria

  • Teaching & learning
  • Faculty quality
  • Employability
  • Student diversity
  • Facilities
  • Social responsibility
  • Accreditation

Secondary criteria

  • Arts & culture
  • Faculty diversity
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Research 
  • Innovation

Ranking & Employability

For an educational institution to establish as a brand, it takes years of trust and credibility. The ranking by an authorised body further augments the reputation and develops a stronger bond with the student community. In the present world, employability matters more than ever, as the eminence of an institution directly translates into a high-paying secure job. However, the rating & ranking by QS I∙GAUGE & NIRF respectively is designed to assess far more than just reputation and employability. It is a system devised to gauge the high-quality education provided by institutions which can lead to positive employability outcomes.

According to the latest ranking list published by NIRF, IIT Madras tops the overall 2019 university ranking, and Delhi University’s Miranda House is recognised as the top college in India. Few of the institutions rated by QS I∙GAUGE in 2019 have secured appreciable rankings under various categories of NIRF.

Institutions with good ratings under QS I∙GAUGE & also ranked by NIRF Category
  • Andhra University
  • Banasthali Vidyapith
  • Bharath Institute of Higher Education & Research
  • Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology
  • Sri Venkateswara University
  • SRM Institute of Science and Technology
  • Vellore Institute of Technology
  • B.S. Abdur Rahman Crescent Institute of Science & Technology
  • Hindustan Institute of Technology & Science
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Technological College of Engineering - Anantapuramu
  • Kalasalingam Academy of Research and Education
  • Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology
  • Ramaiah Institute of Technology
  • Vel Tech Multi Tech Dr.Rangarajan Dr.Sakunthala Eng. College
  • Vel Tech Rangarajan Dr Sagunthala R & D Institute of Science & Technology
  • Symbiosis Institute of Business Management
  • Sri Padmavati Mahila Visvavidyalayam
  • Ramaiah Medical College

The Indian Higher Education System is one of the largest education systems in the world. As much the students seek out for quality institutes, the universities and colleges are bound by this basic need to step up to the plate and deliver the promise of quality, reflected through their rankings and ratings.

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