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India missing from international rankings scene

education Updated: Sep 14, 2011 13:24 IST
Kanika Tandon

India does not appear in the Top 200 of the recently released QS World University Rankings. Even as the US and the UK continue to dominate the international rankings scene, India’s highest-ranked institution IIT-Delhi stands at 218th position – 16 places down from last year’s 202nd place.

The UK claimed five of the top 20 places this year, including the top rank. Cambridge University maintained its slender advantage over Harvard to be the world’s number one university for the second time in a row. Oxford (5) moved up one rank followed by Imperial College London (6) and University College London (7). The University of Edinburgh (20) moved up two places this year.

Although several top US institutions have been hit by reduced endowments and budget restrictions, its supremacy continues with 13 of the US universities featuring in the top 20, six of them in the top 10. Apart from Harvard, the other five US universities among the Top 10 are: MIT (3), Yale University (4), University of Chicago (8), University of Pennsylvania (9) and Columbia University (10).

The monopoly of the US and the UK in the top 20 is only briefly interrupted by the presence of Canada and Switzerland. McGill University of Canada climbed up two places from 19th rank in 2010 to 17th position in 2011. Switzerland’s ETH Zurich maintained its 18th rank this year as well.

This neck-to-neck competition between the US and the UK is not replicated when India’s performance is compared with other Asian countries. While India is yet to secure a place in the top 200, other Asian countries such as China, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan sit comfortably among the Top 100 of the rankings table, led by University of Hong Kong (22) and University of Tokyo (25).

Indian universities have disappointed this year. All the universities – including the star performers of the country, the IITs –have dropped down several ranks.

IIT-Delhi (was ranked 202, now ranks 218); IIT-Bombay (was 187, now 225); IIT-Madras (was 262, now 281); IIT-Kanpur (was 249-306); IIT-Kharagpur (was 311, now 341); IIT-Roorkee (was 428, now 438) and IIT-Guwahati (was 501, now 563). The other universities have followed suit – University of Delhi (was 371, now 398); University of Mumbai (was 493, now 578); University of Calcutta (was 506, now 649) and University of Pune (was 578, now 661).

India’s weak points? The lack of quality research and internationalisation. But this time, the fall in the rankings is escalated by the fall in all the universities’ academic reputation. The employer reputation of IIT-Bombay, IIT-Kanpur, IIT-Kharagpur, IIT-Guwahati and universities of Mumbai, Calcutta and Pune has slid backwards too. For the academic and employer ratings, inputs from as many as 33,000 academics and 16,785 employers from more than 130 countries were taken by QS, the largest surveys of their kind ever conducted.

The author works for QS