After results mess, Mumbai university now slips 36 places in Asia rankings
Teachers said poor facilities on campus and vacant teaching and non-teaching positions are primarily responsible for the slide in varsity’s performanceeducation Updated: Oct 18, 2017 11:49 IST
The University of Mumbai (MU) has slipped to 181st position in Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asia University Rankings 2018, which were released on Monday. Last year the varsity was ranked 145 in the list.
The varsity's performance worsened across all parameters used for judging, namely academic reputation, employer reputation and citations per paper. The varsity’s score in ‘citations per paper’ dropped from 81.4 in 2017 rankings to 53.4 this year, indicating a drastic drop in quality of research work.
The varsity, in recent years, has taken a beating in domestic as well as international rankings. “The rankings don't come as surprise to me. The poor score in citations of varsity’s research papers indicates that our papers are not being read,” said the head of a varsity department.
According to varsity teachers, poor facilities on campus, and vacant teaching and non-teaching positions are primarily responsible for the slide in varsity’s performance.
Balaji Kendre, in-charge president, University of Mumbai Academic Staff Association (UMASA), said, “There supporting staff is not sufficient. Acquiring no-objection certificates (NOCs) for research takes a long time and the varsity is yet to adopt a digital accounting method. The academic culture of the university has taken a hit in last two to three years. The research work is not being promoted.”
Kendre also said that ‘politicisation’ of varsity is also affecting its performance. “When a vice-chancellor belongs to a particular ideology and promotes the agenda of a political party, it doesn’t bode well for the university,” he said.
Anil Karnik, a professor at chemistry department, said while the MU’s overall performance, though not spectacular, is not unsatisfactory. He points out that four of varsity’s departments recently found a place in the first departments (ranked under) QS world rankings 2017. He also highlighted that the varsity is among the 14 universities in country to receive funding under Promotion at University Research and Scientific Excellence (PURSE) scheme of central government’s department of science and technology.
According to Karnik, the lack of resources are at the heart of varsity’s many woes.
“The state, owing to its other commitments, tends to curtail any extra financial burden for higher education. The direct implication of this is the stagnation of number of teaching and non-teaching positions. This results in the university not having a balanced ‘teacher to student’ ratio, which again affects the ranking. The university has not hiked fees, fearing agitations and backlash from political parties and public,” he added.
Karnik also said the university’s focus on conducting examination comes at the expense of research activities.
“Declaration of results of hundreds of examinations involving lakhs of students becomes a prime activity for University administration, where the aspect of much needed infrastructure development, inviting and appointment of top-class academics and researchers on attractive terms and implementation of a global pedagogical structure has remained largely unaddressed,” he said.