The top five Indian Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institute of Science have all dropped in this year's QS World University rankings, released on Wednesday. Only the newer IITs in Guwahati and Hyderabad were able to show improvement.
The total number of Indian institutions in the top 1,000 global list has also fallen from 24 to 21, despite the Centre's flagship Institutes of Eminence scheme, launched two years ago in a bid to boost the Indian presence in these global rankings.
Up in research
“The slight drop in rankings of some institutes is because of the parameter of internationalisation,” a senior HRD Ministry official told The Hindu . India performs poorest on this parameter, while scoring well on research impact, measured through citations per faculty.
“We have formed a committee on how we can improve the perception of the premier Indian institutes abroad. The committee comprises of IIT directors among others,” added the official.
“Out of the six parameters, Indian institutions get zero score on ratio of international faculty and students.
“We also score poorly on faculty-student ratio, because we only count full time faculty, whereas American universities include Ph.D. students who are teaching or research assistants. We do quite well on the research impact parameter,” said IIT Delhi director V. Ramgopal Rao.
“The rest is about perception which cannot be changed by an individual institution. Let the government launch a campaign similar to Incredible India,” he said, adding that if a parameter comparing the cost of education to students was introduced, Indian institutions would be among the world’s top 50.
The top seven IITs had jointly decided to boycott the Times Higher Education rankings earlier this year, questioning its methodology and transparency.
IIT-Bombay still maintains its position as the top institution in India in the QS rankings, but has slipped 20 places from 152 to 172 in the global list. IISc overtook IIT Delhi to make it to the second place, but still dropped a rank to 185. IIT Delhi fell more than 10 places in the rankings to 193 rank, while IIT Madras is at 275. Both IIT Kharagpur and IIT Kanpur crashed out of the top 300.
IIT Roorkee maintained its ranking at 383, while IIT Guwahati improved from 491 to 470. IIT Hyderabad entered the top 1,000 for the first time.
“Though India’s universities have dropped as a group this year, this is frequently because of other universities across the world making increasingly-intense efforts to enhance their educational offerings,” said Ben Sowter, director of research at QS, noting that only four Indian institutions have improved their ranking this year.
“To regain lost ground, Indian higher education must find ways of increasing teaching capacity, and of attracting more talented students and faculty across the world to study in India.”
It was a mixed bag for elite private universities. Prestigious names such as BITS Pilani and the Vellore Institute of Technology have dropped out of the top 1,000 list, but OP Jindal Global University, a new entrant last year, has climbed to the 650-700 band in the rankings.
“Our success is based on five pillars: our not-for-profit status, strong commitment to faculty hiring and research, a focus on internationalisation, devotion to humanities and social sciences, and the drive to build our reputation through students and employers,” said C. Raj Kumar, Vice-Chancellor at OP Jindal.
He dismissed the IITs complaint against global rankings, noting that they recieve funds under the IoE scheme.
“The IoE regulatons are very clear that it is about benchmarking to global rankings. The same methodology used uniformly across the world. If you are an IoE, you have agreed to these terms and the complaint comes late in the day,” he said. “This whole debate needs to be put to rest, so we can focus on how to get there.”