It couldn't get any worse than this. In the latest ranking of world universities released by The Times Higher Education (THE) World Reputation Rankings 2015, not a single Indian university figures in the list of top 100. That Brazil, Russia and China, the other BRIC nations, have at least one of its universities in the list, makes India's absence even more stark.
In the list, released on Wednesday, Harvard continues to be at the top spot, followed by Cambridge and Oxford. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is pushed to the fourth position. China, in fact, has two leading institutions in the top 40.
Phil Baty, editor, THE, told Hindustan Times, that the latest rankings should serve as a warning to India. “It needs to support its leading institutions or they risk falling behind not just the leading universities in the world, but the leading institutions among the emerging economies. Strong universities are crucial for the success of developing nations – helping to retain top talent in the country and prevent brain drain, attract investment, develop highly skilled future leaders and create new knowledge and drive the knowledge economy,” he said.
THE’s World Reputation Ranking is based entirely on reputation – it is created from a worldwide survey of 10,000 academics, and is based on their expert, but subjective opinion. The only good news was that for the World University Rankings due on October 1 this year, Indian universities had increased their engagement, “with more institutions seeking to sign up for our annual round of data collection,” the THE editor added.
THE, while collecting data for the October rankings, was expecting more Indian universities to come on board and sign up to the THE data collection portal, to ensure they gained visibility on the global stage. “We can work with them to give them valuable insights into their performance against our trusted global data definitions and standards, and also help them develop a bespoke ranking for Indian institutions focussing more on their priority areas and national missions,” Baty said.
On Indian institutes that had caught the attention of the academicians involved in the rankings, Baty said the best performers in the reputation rankings were the IITs – “they have a strong reputation across the world so they tend to perform best in this particular analysis.”
On his several visits to India, Baty, a self-confessed “big fan of the country,” says there is a strong appetite among Indian university leaders to work with THE to help ensure they keep a global focus and can benchmark against the world’s best universities using THE’s trusted global standards.