The HRD Ministry is examining the reasons behind several prestigious Indian varsities, including JNU and the Hyderabad University, not finding top spots in the QS rankings. The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) rankings are one of the most coveted global rankings for educational institutions.
Last week, the ministry had called a meeting to discuss the issue and it was attended by top officials from the Indian Institutes of Technology, vice-chancellors and by officers of Quacquarelli Symonds, a London-based agency. For the QS World University Ranking, institutes are scored on six basic parameters - academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty-student ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty, and international students.
"Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank', who chaired the meeting had pointed out that the top Indian universities meet the quality and credibility requirements but the same has not been taken into account by QS rankings. He directed officials to deliberate on the reasons and make the applications more comprehensive," a senior HRD Ministry official said. Three Indian institutes -- IIT-Bombay, IIT-Delhi and IISc-Bangalore -- have found spots among the top 200 in the prestigious world university rankings last month. IIT-Madras, IIT-Kharagpur, IIT-Kanpur and IIT-Roorkee are also among the top 400 institutes.
However, IIT-Guwahati saw its position slip from 472 last year to 491 this time. Hyderabad University's Vice-Chancellor Appa Rao Podile pointed out in the meeting that they lost out on QS rankings due to "lack of focus on undergraduate courses".
"We are a university with maximum focus on undergraduate courses. We meet all the requirements but we still lost out on it. We pointed it out to the QS officials that we do have undergraduate courses and the quality is brilliant. They are reviewing our case," he said. Director IIT-Delhi V Ramgopal Rao said the ranking gives more weight to the criteria of hiring foreign faculty.
"We have excellent faculty. Our alumni are hired by prestigious universities across the globe. Its good to have credential faculty but making it mandatory criteria for the top ranking is unreasonable according to us," he said. Concerns about transparency in the method of rating the "reputation" of universities were raised by IIT Bombay Director Subhasis Chaudhuri.
"They survey to rate the reputation of the institutions. Who participates in the survey and how credible is the participation and their rating? Perception about a university accounts for 50 per cent of the total marks, there are not enough Indian participants in the UK or the US to rate Indian universities," he said. The HRD officials also pointed out that there should be some Indians on the jury to ensure that there is no bias towards western countries.
The Delhi University improved on its last year's rank of 487 and is placed at 474 in the latest rankings. The QS global rankings 2020, which was released in London, has 50 new entrants globally and India-based O P Jindal Global University (JGU), established in 2009, has become the youngest university to break into top 1,000 in the prestigious rankings.
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