This is the fourth time since 2018 that three Indian Educational Institutes ie. Indian Institute of Technology ( IIT)-Mumbai, Indian Institute of Science ( IISc)- Bangalore and IIT- Delhi has made to the top 200 global universities in Britain based Quacquarilli Symonds (QS) World University Ranking 2021 since it started ranking world universities in 2004. IIT- Mumbai, II Sc- Bangalore and IIT- Delhi have been ranked at 172, 185 and 193 positions respectively. 17 Indian universities and Institutions have found a place in MS ranking 2021 amongst the world’s top 1000. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA has been ranked as the world’s best university for the nine consecutive years in the overall rankings. Standford and Harvard universities, both from the USA obtained the second and third rank respectively.
What performance parameters are being considered by QS World University Ranking for assessment of universities? They are as follows:
1) Academic reputation——–(40%)
3) Faculty Student ratio——–(20%)
4) Citation per faculty——–(20%)
5) International faculty ratio———(5%)
6) International student ratio——-(5%)
The weighting of the parameter is mentioned as a percentage in the bracket.
QS World University Ranking is considered to be worldwide popular, reliable and has been approved by International Ranking Expert Group ( IREG). The other two widely referred and reliable systems are:
- USA based “Times Higher Education ( THE) World University Ranking” &
- China-based “Shanghai Ranking or Academic Ranking of World Universities ( ARWU)”
Inclusion of our three premier educational institutions in QS World University Ranking 2021for four consecutive years amongst the top 200 world universities gives us reason to rejoice but the fact remains that there’s plenty of room for improvement as well, keeping in view that India has a massive, expanded education infrastructure with 911 universities ( some of which are a century or more than century-old) and more than 39,000 colleges as per 2020 University Grants Commission’s ( UGC) report. India’s Higher Education System is the third-largest in the world next to USA and China.
The main governing body at the tertiary level is UGC which is charged with coordination, determination and maintenance of the standard of University Education System. Accreditation of higher learning is overseen by 15 autonomous statutory institutions established by UGC.
With such a large educational network having some educational institutes being widely acclaimed for their educational standard and also having some Government’s agencies for their accreditation, it’s quite natural to expect them to maintain a world-class standard by being in top positions in world ranking like top 100. But this hasn’t happened is clear from the fact that top ten educational institutions ranked by Overall National Institutional Ranking Framework 2020 ( NIRF was launched in 2015 by Union Ministry Of Human Resources Development-MHRD) have failed to make a significant mark in QS World University Ranking 2021.
Experts have been voicing concerns for past many years over the shortcomings and deficiencies in higher education regime which hamper Indian institutes to reach to the top positions in world ranking like top 100. They are as follows:
- Shortage of funds for research infrastructures and teaching facilities.
- Lack of competent teachers.
- Lack of research interest among the students due to very poor availability of jobs.
- Poor quality in course contents not compatible with the needs of the society.
- Lack of interaction between industries and universities.
- Poor collaboration with globally reputed research institutes.
- Poor faculty/ student ratio because of a shortage of teaching faculty.
- Lack( almost absent) of foreign faculty.
- Lack of foreign students.
- Meagre research output and a poor number of citations.
- Lack of motivation to compete internationally
- Lack of political will to provide autonomy to the universities from regulators.
To solve the problems faced by the higher education sector, Institutions Of Eminence(IoE) scheme was rolled out by Ministry Of Human Resources Development (MHRD) in 2017. Under this scheme, ten public and ten private institutions have been recognized to enable them to emerge as world-class teaching and research institutes. The recognized institutes have freedom for the following:
- To decide their fee structure and courses.
- To hire foreign faculties and admit foreign students to a certain limit and
- To form academic and research collaboration with foreign institutions.
This scheme provides Rs. 1000 crores over five years to public Institutions only. No funds are given to private Institutions.
With the academic and administrative freedom and available funds, the Institutions Of Eminence (IoE) have to work hard to improve their positions in global rankings by constantly focussing on international standards of teaching, research and innovations. The GOI on its part needs to continuously review and monitor impartially and honestly the implementation of the scheme. The scheme aims at producing highly skilled professionals. Once it is achieved, GOI must be prepared with the plans to prevent brain drain.
By Dr Aqueel Khan
Professor & Head (Retd.), University Teaching Department Of Biochemistry, RTM Nagpur University, Nagpur