Friday, March 07, 2014

No Indian university in top 100 global list

None of India's 700 universities and 35,539 colleges has made it to the top 100 list of the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings released on Thursday. This means that academics don't think too highly of the capabilities and work of our higher educational institutions.

The ranking, drawn on the findings of an invitation-only academic opinion survey, is based on the subjective judgment of around 60,000 senior, published academics considered as "the people best placed to know the most about excellence in our universities".

Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University in the US lead the list followed by the UK's University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. Agency reports said that Punjab University, the alma mater of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, found a place in the un-ranked section of 226 - 300. It is followed by the IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology) in Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Roorkee between ranks 351 and 400.

Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore is ranked highest among Indian institutions, at just below 200, from its 130th place last year. IIT-Bombay figures among the 210-220 group, and IIT-Delhi and IIT-Kanpur are ranked below 250.

The US has the most representation with more than 45 institutions figuring in the top 100 followed by the UK with 10 institutions, Germany with six and Japan and Australia with five. India is the only BRIC country that is not represented in the top 100 list. China has two of its institutions on the list while Brazil and Russia have one each.

Though based on perception experts said the reputation ranking cannot be taken lightly. In his article 'Credit check' on the website, Times Higher Education Rankings editor Phil Baty said that reputation is the currency of global higher education today, and is accepted by scholars, students, donors and industry.

"In today's academy, reputation is the currency: research has shown that institutional standing is the top consideration for academics when moving jobs, is vital for the formation of international collaborations, and is essential in persuading philanthropists to give and industrial partners to invest," Baty said.

According to data put together by the Institute of International Education (IIE) on international student mobility in 2012, the number of foreign students registered in Indian higher education institutions in 2012 is 27,000, much lower than in other Asian countries like China (328,000) or Japan (137,000).

"Personal experience has shown that IITs are incredibly highly valued in institutions like MIT or Caltech. When we host international delegations in the realm of technology, we find that IITs are as good as any other institution," said R Nagarajan, Dean, International and Alumni Relations, IIT-Madras. But he maintained the stand that it was unfair to compare IITs which are technical institutions with universities that also ran other courses.

VIT University Chancellor G Viswanathan said that the visibility of Indian institutions outside the country is poor. "If we want to be known outside the country, we must have partners around the world and get international accreditation. Senior institutions like the IITs are only taking the initiative to get international students or faculty," he said.

Source: The Times of India, March 7, 2014

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