Times Higher Education (THE), which released its Asia University Rankings 2017 on Wednesday, listed 33 Indian universities in the top 300. Eight established and 17 new entrants made it to the top 100 with Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Science (IISc) at 27. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay was ranked 42 and Chennai-based private institute Veltech University was a joint 43 in the top 50.
With 33 places in the top-300 list (up from 16 last year), India more than doubled its representation to become the third most-represented nation in the table for the first time.
In the rankings topped by Singapore’s National University, followed by China’s Peking University, IISc stayed put at position 27 for the second year in a row. Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur too made what THE editor Phil Baty said was an “impressive leap” from the 101-110 band to rank 63 “due to improvements across the board and a particularly high jump in its amount of industry income.”
Only two Japanese institutions made it to the top 20, despite the country’s strong representation in the rankings with 69 universities included – almost a quarter (23%) of the top 300 list. After China with six universities in the top 20, Hong Kong and South Korea had five institutions each.
Going lower down the table, however, India’s performance deteriorated as several institutes lost places due to what Baty described as “increased competition.”
“This year’s ranking includes 300 universities, up from 200 last year. For example, the University of Calcutta has dropped from the 141-150 band to the 191-200 cohort while Amrita University has fallen from 181-190 to 251-plus,” he said.
The THE editor also attributed India’s strong performance partly due to participating in global benchmarking exercises. “Last year the (Indian) government launched a new funding-backed project aimed at catapulting Indian Institutes of Technology to the top of world university rankings. However, while India punches above its weight in terms of its GDP per capita, it underperforms given its large population of university-aged people,” he added.
The ranking also indicated what a dynamic, diverse and competitive higher education region the continent was, “and India is a key part of that development,” Baty added.
Pakistan also made gains, more than tripling its representation since last year, from two to seven, while Sri Lanka made its debut with the University of Colombo making the 251-plus band.
The biggest competition for South Asia, however, came from other leading higher education nations such as China, which were improving at a faster rate. To see the full list of rankings, click here.