Why Indian Universities are not performing well in global rankings?



At last India has managed to get its university in the top 100 universities ranking by the ‘Times Higher Education’ (THE). The Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati has been ranked at number 87in the 2014 league table of ‘100 Under 50 (the list of universities whose age is below 50 years). For the first time an Indian university has managed to enter into the 100 ranking. Ranking is based on 13 performance indicators such as teaching, research, citations, industry income, international outlook etc. Universities not teaching undergraduates or teaching just one or two courses, or doing less research are excluded from the ranking.

This makes us feel good, but in the 2014 ‘World Reputation Rankings’ by the annual Times Higher Education (THE) magazine again the Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University, the University of Cambridge, the University of California topped the list. Not even a single Indian University has managed to enter into the top 100 list. Though Brazil, Russia and China among BRIC nations have universities in the top rank but India does not. China has two universities in the top 50, Brazil and Russia has one each in the list. The unranked part of the list contains the name of Punjab University (226-300) and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Roorkee (351-400). Ranking is based on invitation-only survey of senior academics across the world.

In the QS World University Rankings, just four Indian institutions, IIT-Bombay, IIT-Delhi, IIT-Madras and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) were featured among the top 50. Many experts call the ranking criteria biased and based on western norms. Reputational surveys and research citations are the two main source of getting information about any institute for ranking. No institute or university can directly file nomination for the ranking. But some industry experts believe that official websites of universities and institution are checked for ranking and sometimes these websites do not contain enough data so can be misguiding. Hence most of the Indian universities are doing well and able to complete with their global counter parts.

But not coming in the global ranking is a matter of concern because in India there are 42 central universities, 285 state, 125 private and 130 deemed universities. We cannot escape by saying that ranking is not relevant. Universities must take new roles and responsibilities and adopt a progressive approach to compete globally.

Research and knowledge creation must be taken seriously by the universities. Teaching and research must go hand in hand and in coordination with each other. Since independence the main focus is to build number of universities for providing education to young aspirants. While doing this research has been neglected to a great extent in India.

Most of the Indian universities do not meet the said international standards. An institute must be clear on its role and what it can contribute. Other factors that need to be checked are academic reputation, student faculty ratio, international students, citations and faculty exchange.

It has also been seen that students in India are not interested in going for a research job. Even after doing BSc Science they prefer to go for MBA or Civil Services and rarely a M.Sc. Sensing the needs IITs are taking steps to push enrolment in PhD programmes in IITs.

Universities cannot ignore the world university ranking and keep doing what they are doing. We are competing at a global level so must follow the rules. India has a very intellectual past and an honor of giving the first University to the World. Universities must work to improve its research and development quality. We must have a right talent and plenty of resources for higher education.


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