Indian students studying at some of the world’s top-ranked universities also believe that it is the quality and quantity of research projects undertaken that sets the best universities apart from the rest.
“The world university rankings analyse the standard of academic research that is
done at each university, and the number of citations that this research gets, apart from other parameters like the quality of the teaching faculty at these institutes. Unfortunately, Indian institutions focus on just the latter, and little or no research is done by the faculty, leading to a low ranking.
“Institutes around the world had recognised the importance of focusing on R&D a long time ago, and now their investments are already yielding returns, by way of higher rankings,” says Akshay Kohli, a student of Cambridge University.
Factors like shortage of funds, sub-par faculty and infrastructure are the primary reasons why Indian institutes cannot churn out any noteworthy research, he adds.
“The University of Cambridge has produced more Nobel laureates than any other institution in the world... most of the professors who are teaching me are authors of the course books we use for their subject. We frequently get the opportunity to attend seminars delivered by professors of other reputable universities — each of these factors has contributed to Cambridge’s high global ranking,” adds Kohli.
Strong alumni networks, a variety of subject choices available to students and diverse student bodies are other factors that distinguish the best universities in the world.
“Diversity and humility in the student body at Harvard University is one of the top reasons why my experience here has been so stimulating. It is very normal to be sitting with an Olympian, a pianist who has played in the Carnegie Hall (a concert venue in New York), an IMO Gold Medallist and an entrepreneur and not be aware of it,” says Udai Bothra, a second-year student at Harvard University.