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Govt meddling takes India to bottom of higher edu list

delhi Updated: Jun 13, 2012 02:22 IST
Vanita Srivastava

India’s higher education system is at the bottom of the list at 48th position as per the findings of Universitas 21 (U21), fundamentally because of the low expenditure on research in its universities and too much government intervention.

U21, an international network of leading research-intensive universities has developed the ranking as a benchmark for governments, education institutions and individuals throughout the world. Though 50 countries were chosen for the survey, parameters of 2 nations could not be obtained.

"So what if India is at the 48th rank. There are still some 100 odd countries which are below it. We chose the best 50 countries across the globe based on research performance, for which data were available," Ross Williams, professor at Melbourne University and the lead academic of the project, said. Research authors at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne carried out the study in a period of 9 months.

The ranking parameters are grouped under four headings: resources (investment by government and private sector), output (research and its impact as well as production of an educated workforce which meets labour market needs), connectivity (international networks and collaborations) and environment (government policy and regulation, diversity and participation opportunities).

For India to improve its rank, it must stress on enhancing the budget for research in universities, Williams said adding: "Also in India, we found that the government was not putting in considerable money but still exercised a good control. You have to increase the resources in order to increase the output."

Though India is not at the lowest rank in all four heads — resources, output, connectivity and environment — the overall score of the country is the lowest because there is no one area where it has performed well.

Prof Stephen Toope Vice Chancellor, University of British Columbia said the report was interesting as instead of individual institutions it placed all the ranking in the context of promoting education, which is a key indicator of success.