Thursday, October 03, 2013

Five Indian universities in top 400 world’s best universities - IIT-Kanpur disputes findings

Five Indian institutions found a place in the top 400 of the world’s best universities in 2013, improving their tally from the previous year, according to the UK-based Times Higher Education World University Rankings report published on Wednesday.

India added three institutions to the top 400 list, according to the report. Panjab University emerged as the top-ranked Indian institution and was placed between 226 and 250 in the global rankings. The report didn’t give a specific ranking. The other four Indian institutions in the list are the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi; IIT-Kanpur, IIT-Kharagpur and IIT-Roorkee, ranked in the 351-400 bracket.

“These results should be encouraging for India: while no Indian institution makes the top 200, one player new to the rankings, Panjab University, is close in the 226-250 group. Moreover, India now has five representatives in the top 400—a sign of growing commitment to the global rankings,” said Phil Baty, Editor of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

Last year two Indian institutions—IIT-Kharagpur and IIT-Roorkee—were in the top 400 ranks.

IIT-Kanpur Director Indranil Manna disputed the findings, claiming that the technology institute had not participated in the rankings. “Where are these agencies getting data from. They did not come to our campus, we have not participated. So the ranking is based on unofficial and unverified data,” said Manna.

Traditionally, the IITs have never been part of any rankings, Manna said. “There are some dozen agencies doing rankings. They have their own business interest and I have no problem with that but you need official data. Who is giving them data to rank us?” The IITs have a national mandate and do not have varied disciplines like many foreign universities, Manna said.

Besides, funding to the IITs can’t be compared with institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the IITs don't have enough foreign students and teachers, he said. “So these are not apple-to-apple comparisons.”

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has, however, set up a panel to suggest ways to improve the rankings of top Indian institutes. Manna is a member of the committee.

Overall, California Institute of Technology retained its number one position in the rankings for the third consecutive year, Harvard University rose to second place from fourth, sharing the position with the UK’s University of Oxford. Stanford University slipped from joint second to fourth. MIT was ranked fifth in the survey, Princeton University sixth, University of Cambridge seventh, University of California, Berkeley eighth, University of Chicago ninth and Imperial College, London tenth

The US led the comparison among 26 countries, with 77 of its institutes in the top 200 rankings. Europe fared badly this year, the ranking agency said in a statement. Germany’s University of Munich dropped out of the top 50. Institutions from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Austria also performed poorly, it said.

The UK remains Europe’s strongest representative, with 31 universities in the top 200. The Netherlands has 12 in the top 200 rankings, followed by Germany with 10, France with eight, Switzerland with seven and Belgium with five.

Europe’s difficulties contrast with progress for most leading East Asian universities, the study said. Japan’s University of Tokyo maintained its status as Asia’s number one institution, moving up four places to 23rd in the list.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) held on to the second position in the region with an overall 26th ranking, overtaking Australia’s University of Melbourne.

Source: Mint, October 3, 2013

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