Thursday, October 30, 2014

Indian universities miss out on another global ranking

Even as the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) readies an India-centric ranking of higher educational institutions, just four Indian institutions figure on another list of top universities in the world. The inaugural global ranking by US education analysis and ranking website US News also reveals that no Indian institution can match up to the top 300 in the world.

University of Delhi, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, IIT-Bombay and IIT-Kharagpur have been ranked 316th, 323rd, 405th and 484th, respectively. But University of Delhi and IISc, at 45th and 46th places respectively, figure among the top 50 institutions in Asia. IIT-Madras is not on the list.

Four of the top five institutions in the Global Universities Ranking are based in the US. Harvard University has occupied the first position, followed by MIT, University of California - Berkeley, and Stanford University. Oxford University in the UK comes fifth, followed by Cambridge University, California Institute of Technology, University of California - Los Angeles, University of Chicago and Columbia University. US News has been ranking US institutions for 30 years.

US News has listed out the top 500 institutions based on 10 indicators that measure their academic research performance and global and regional reputations. "Students can use these rankings to explore the higher education options that exist beyond their own countries' borders and to compare key aspects of schools' research missions," said a description of the rankings on the website.

Only institutions that were among the top 200 universities as per the Thomson Reuters' global reputation survey over the last five years were included in the ranking. The institutions also had to be among those which published the most number of articles in the last five years.

The institutions were then ranked based on 10 indicators that included global and regional research reputation, publications, normalised citation impact, total citations, number and percentage of highly cited papers, international collaboration, number of PhDs awarded and number of PhDs awarded per academic staff member.

Speaking about such rankings by international agencies earlier, IIT-Madras Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi had said, "Rankings are important. But we are finding that the parameters on which they are based are evolved to suit certain types of universities - globalised comprehensive ones. These are places where nearly half the students and faculty are from other parts of the world and where all subjects are taught. Most of the IITs only deal with engineering. We have a problem with the way such surveys are conducted."

He said internationalisation and subjective opinion carry a lot of weightage. The US News ranking gives 12.5% weightage each to global research reputation and regional research reputation. Moreover, India has no comprehensive university. In undergraduate education, India is mostly dependent on an affiliated college system.

The methodology of the new India-centric ranking system being evolved primarily by the IITs will not be much different from that used by organizations ranking universities across the world, Ramamurthi said. "We will look at employer reputation, faculty-student ratio and probably do an academic survey. We will ask the right questions," he said. The deadline for the India-centric ranking is the 2015 academic year. It will help students gauge the quality of Indian institutions, Ramamurthi added.

Source: The Times of India, October 30, 2014

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