Panjab University tops the list of Indian institutions

With 10 Indian institutions of higher education making it to the first 100 ranking universities of Asia in the Times Higher Education (THE) list, India has been declared the “most improved nation” this year.

As against three institutions in the top 100 in 2013, India now has 10 in this club. The THE’s Asia University Rankings were released on Thursday and this places the 114-year-old Panjab University at the top of the 10 best Indian higher educational institutions, above even the much-celebrated Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

Panjab University is ranked 32, a position it shares with Renmin University of China. The next Indian institution is IIT-Kharagpur at the 45th position. Other Indian institutions in the top 100 are IIT-Kanpur, Delhi, Roorkee, Guwahati and Madras, Jadavpur University, Aligarh Muslim University and Jawaharlal Nehru University.

According to THE, India’s improvement in the rankings is mainly because of Indian higher educational institutions’ growing engagement with the rankings process. A statement issued by THE makes note of Union Human Resource Development Secretary (Higher Education), Ashok Thakur’s comment that the question of whether India should go “full hog” for the global university rankings “has mercifully been laid to rest by none other than the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, who has made it clear that as a matter of policy, all institutions in the country have to participate wholeheartedly in the rankings process.”

Panjab University’s alumni is a veritable who’s who and includes the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, the former President Shankar Dayal Sharma, Nobel laureates Har Gobind Khorana and Abdus Salam (Pakistan), ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh, historian Romila Thapar and the late astronaut Kalpana Chawla. A premier institution from pre-independence years, it was then located in Lahore.

In last year’s THE ranking of Asian universities, the three Indian institutions which made it to the top 100 were all IITs.