Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Not one Indian university in world's top 200

Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) has for the first time emerged as India's leading university in the world university rankings. IIT-B has overtaken its counterpart in Delhi for the first time. IIT-Delhi has been the leader in India throughout the first 10 editions of the QS rankings. The bad news however is that not a single Indian university features in the top 200 rankings. Just like last year's rankings, the top-placed Indian institution is 222nd in the world — IIT-B. IIT-Delhi has slipped one rank to 235th this year.

IIT-B's success is down to improvements in its reputation among both academics and employers. It is now in the top 60 in the world in the QS international survey of employers and its position of 160th in the academic survey represents a rise of 23 places. But it has work to do on research citations and the proportions of international students and faculty, which are all outside the top 300, if it is to break into the leading positions in the ranking.

IIT-Kanpur is ranked 300th globally followed by IIT-Madras (321), IIT-Kharagpur (324), IIT-Roorkie (461) and IIT-Guwahati (551). University of Calcutta has jumped 50 ranks since last year's ranking and is placed 650th in the world while the University of Delhi has jumped 20 ranks to 430th.

The number of Indian institutions in the ranking has grown from 11 to 12, with Banaras Hindu University joining the group below 700th place. But the overall standing of the remaining institutions is similar to last year: six have gone up and five have gone down, with the two leading IITs well ahead of the rest.

India's strength is in the QS survey of academics, where the two leading IITs, the University of Delhi and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore all feature in the top 200.

All but one of the Indian institutions in the ranking has improved on this measure — a good foundation for the future since it is accounts for 40% of each university's score. They are much less competitive, however, in terms of the number of times their academics' research is cited. The weakest elements for India are the proportions of international staff and students.

Dr Karthick Sridhar, Vice-Chairman, Indian Centre for Assessment and Accreditation says, "With the increasing globalization of higher education, Indian universities need to compete to attract the best students, as well as best qualified faculty from across the world. Students continue to use rankings as one of their decision-making tools to choose their destinations. The prestige associated with higher ranks also drives universities to benchmark themselves globally."

Ben Sowter, who is responsible for the rankings as head of the QS Intelligence Unit, said, "India may not have made as much progress as it would have liked in the new rankings, but new measures always take time to be reflected in higher positions. Indian universities are engaging with the rankings more than ever before and this should bear fruit in the medium term."

Mohandas Pai, member, board of governors, IIT-Hyderabad said, "All great universities have full academic, financial and administrative autonomy to chart their own future. Indian universities lack the autonomy needed to be world class. They are controlled so heavily by regulators/government that they cannot innovate, be current nor aspire to reach the top. They are also starved of adequate research funding. Unless these issues are settled urgently even hopes are optimistic."

Source: The Times of India, September 17, 2014

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