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India Shows Greater Strength in Depth

QS University Rankings: Asia 2014

Record Number of Indian Universities Feature in the 2014 QS University Rankings: Asia

Delhi, 13th May 2014 - Growing interest in international rankings is reflected in a sharp increase in the number of Indian institutions featuring in the new Asian Universities Ranking published by QS: 17 compared with only 11 last year. The overall rankings will be unveiled for the first time at a launch event in India.

India is still waiting for a breakthrough at the top of the rankings, with the latest table showing a marginal decline in the positions occupied by most of the country’s leading institutions. But an increase of more than 50 per cent in India’s overall representation offers hopeful signs for the future.

As in the previous editions of the ranking, the Indian Institutes of Technology lead the way. IIT Delhi holds on to 38th place, pulling clear of IIT Bombay in 41st.

Five other IITs feature in the top 100, led by Kanpur and Madras just outside the top 50.

“The IITs have a great reputation among graduate employers, and now produce a relatively high volume of research, but it is not yet having a significant impact in terms of citations,” says QS head of research Ben Sowter. “India’s improved strength in depth is a sign of progress, but there is a long way to go before the IITs can compete with the very best institutions in Asia. India’s tally of 2 institutions in the top 50 places it behind Japan (13), China (9), South Korea (9), Hong Kong (6) and Taiwan (6), and level with Singapore and Thailand”.

Amongst traditional universities, University of Delhi takes the lead at 81, having slipped one place since last year. It is ranked in the top 25 in Asia by employers and the top 40 by academics, but is handicapped in some other indicators by its large size and low levels of international faculty and student exchange which brings down its overall ranking.  Only the University of Calcutta ranks highly on students’ exchanges, coming second in Asia for outbound exchanges and 52nd for inbound.

At the ICAA Rankings & Excellence Dialogue, MHRD Secretary Ashok Thakur said that India must create 40 million university places to meet demand. “We can’t afford to miss out on India’s demographic dividend,” he said. “But it’s not just about numbers, it’s about quality.” Mr Thakur has said that Indian institutions must no longer hide behind the “excuse” that the global ranking metrics and indicators are not suited to them. “We must play the same game that the rest of the world is playing,” he said.

The Indian Centre for Assessment and Accreditation (ICAA), which is hosting the launch of the QS University Rankings: Asia in New Delhi, has partnered with KPMG in India to help Indian universities understand ranking methodologies and present their data effectively. “The quality of Indian universities - particularly the top 20 per cent - is underestimated by international rankings for very many reasons,” Mr Mohandas Pai, Chairman, ICAA says. “Sadly, Indian Universities do not seem to consider international rankings important and many do not even attempt to consolidate and share in the public domain full and up-to-date information about their performance or their functioning. The availability of information is therefore a challenge for a ranking organisation.”

Narayanan Ramaswamy, Partner and Head - Education, KPMG in India adds: "India is known the world over for its academic prowess but need of the hour is to reflect this notion into global rankings. Indians graduating from premier universities in India have made their mark all around the globe. These leading universities need to project themselves as world-class institutions. That calls for rapid innovation, with universities cooperating and actively networking with their peers and competitors. Rankings can create more awareness among the Indian universities on what they need to focus on to improve their performance and gain a greater international standing” 

Dr Karthick Sridhar, ICAA’s Vice-Chairman, said: “India is expected to be a $10 trillion economy by 2030, from the present $2 trillion. It will also be the most populous nation with over 130 million people in the college-going age bracket, so we need different higher educational institutions to cater to the varying needs of industry and personal aspirations. We need to define the goal of each institution and measure outcomes and impact based on the goal. It is necessary that the better ones focus more on research, attract global talent and aspire for higher rankings and continue to shine a light of excellence on the global scale. Pro-Active participation in Global Rankings is therefore a necessity.” he says.

“The government should care about international rankings so that the perception about Indian universities changes for the better.” "The single most imperative goal ICAA aims to achieve by 2025 is to witness the entry of at least five of our elite universities in the Top 200 World University Rankings" said Mr A Jeyaprakash, Vice Chairman, ICAA.

In the latest Asian ranking, Banaras Hindu University, Panjab, Manipal and Amity universities, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, and the Indian Institute of Information Technology all appear for the first time. With seven IITs among the leading eight institutions, the top levels of Indian higher education remain much stronger in science and technology than in the arts and social sciences.

The QS University Rankings: Asia 2014 reflects a swing in the balance of power in the continent as a whole, as Singapore and Korea overtake the traditionally dominant Japan and Hong Kong. National University of Singapore (NUS) tops the rankings for the first time, while Korea’s KAIST rises from sixth to second place.

Last year’s number one institution, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology drops to 5th. 2011 table-topper Hong Kong University drops one place to third, making this the first time in the rankings’ history that a Hong Kong university has not topped the table. Japan’s University of Tokyo falls to 10th, its lowest ever position.

“These rankings confirm the emergence of Singapore and Korea as the region’s new major players, denting the dominance of Hong Kong and Japan,” says QS head of research Ben Sowter. “Both NUS and KAIST have benefitted from major government investment in research; while operating in English has helped them attain new levels of global engagement.”


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