The Central universities have the best funds and can have access to the best resources. They also have the best faculty that the country has to offer, yet when seen on an international scale or even within Asia, Indian universities fare badly. Delhi University, whose admissions receive blanket coverage from top newspapers and attract students with scores as high as a 100 per cent, has not even made it to the top 50 in the QS Asian rankings released on Friday.

It is at 81, one rank lower than its 2013 rank of 80. The makers of the rankings and the people who helped collect the data were frank in their views as to why Indian universities are seen so poorly in international eyes and why an international ranking was so important in an increasingly globalised world.

President Pranab Mukerjee had said that all Central universities will have to work towards getting better rankings. “This is the surest way for a student to decide on the best institute for him, and these rankings are followed by universities all over the globe,” said Narayanan Ramaswamy, partner and head of Education, KPMG, which is a big employer in the Asian market.

Private universities have made it to the ranks this year and were most forthcoming and efficient while providing data. “If you e-mail around five private universities, most will reply back with questions. If you e-mail 25 Central universities, most of the e-mails will bounce back, not one will reply,” said Dr. Karthick Sridhar, vice-chairman of the Indian Centre for Assessment & Accreditation (ICAA), which delivers detailed analysis and intelligence to the global rankings. “We are willing to help the universities gather data but they won’t even cooperate at the basic level,” he added.

Another thing that the universities often got wrong was nomenclature. “For example, an IIT will have publications from professors, who publish under this department or that department, there was one which said gate number six or seven. IIT-Delhi almost lost out its ranking because the IIITs started submitting their data and there was some confusion. Around 30 more institutes would have made it to the list if they had given the QS people their correct data on time,” said Mohandas Pai, chairman of ICAA.

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