North South University Vice Chancellor Professor Atiqul Islam on Sunday claimed his university should have ranked better than Brac University in the recently-published Dhaka Tribune-Bangla Tribune Private University Rankings.
He was addressing a press conference titled “Recent Rankings of Private Universities, Bangladesh 2017: Some Issues” held at the university campus.
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The VC also claimed the first ever ranking of the top 20 private universities, that put their institution as the second premier institution in the country, is “methodologically wrong.”
He said the methodology of the research done by Org-Quest Research Limited was not clear to NSU authorities.
In terms of education quality and graduates’ quality, which are the core factors that determine the quality of an educational institution, NSU is ahead of Brac University, he said.
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In the published Private University Rankings 2017 magazine, NSU came first in the Perceptual rankings of the universities. However, what NSU claims should be the core factors in determining ranks are not the only factors a ranking of university requires, as is stated in the magazine.
The rankings were done based on two sets of data, factual data and perceptual data. Scores from these two data sets were then combined to calculate the final score. Of the final score, 60% weight came from perceptual data and 40% came from factual data. Despite being ahead of everyone in the perceptual scores, NSU came third in the factual scores and Brac was first. Thus, the combination of the factual and perceptual scores found Brac as the number one university and NSU as the number two.
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The NSU authorities also claimed that none of the people in charge of the study are statisticians and have any type of experience that makes them eligible to conduct such a study.
However, Org-Quest is a reputed and leading research firm in Bangladesh. They have conducted various large-scale research funded by USAID, Unicef, WHO, ICDDRB, British Council, etc. To carry out the university rankings research, Org-Quest held several discussions and debates with education experts and the advisory committee; and also consulted similar studies conducted in neighbouring countries.
Claiming that the methodology is flawed, the VC also questioned the reason for using 2014 data and said that if asked they would have provided the latest data.
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However, when conducting the research for the rankings, the selected universities were formally approached to provide necessary information in a prescribed form. But only a few responded positively. Hence, there was no choice but to rely on the data published by the University Grants Commission (UGC) for the year 2014 (latest data at the time of the study).