Having gained 31 places in this year’s QS World University Rakings, IISc-Bengaluru is now the fastest-rising South Asian university, inching closer to the global Top 150. It has also held its position as the world’s top research university, ahead of (in the descending order of rank in research) Harvard, Princeton University, California Institute of Technology and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among others.
This year, three others — IITs in Guwahati (37th) and Roorkee (47th) and new entrant University of Madras (48th) — also made it to the elite list of global Top 50 research institutions. With 12 of the 41 Indian universities improving their positions in the latest QS rankings, IISc (155) raced ahead of IIT-Bombay (172) which was last year’s India leader at 177.
Indian institutions, however, continue to struggle in the QS’s internationalisation metrics. As many as 30 universities have suffered declines in the QS faculty/student ratio indicator. Top universities like Delhi University (from 501-510 to 521-530), University of Hyderabad (from 651-700 to 751-800), JNU (from 561-570 to 601-650), Jamia Millia Islamia (from 751-800 to 801-1000), IIT Bhubaneswar (from 701-750 to 801-1000) and Jadavpur University (from 651-700 to 701750), among others have seen a decline in their rankings.
The Quacquarelli Symonds released the 19th edition of its university rankings. Globally, the Top 5 — MIT (11th consecutive year), Cambridge, Stanford, Oxford and Harvard (in descending order) — from last year remain unchanged barring swapping positions.
India story is led by government-run institutions with the Institution of Eminence tag, as five of the Top 10 are from this category. While IIT-Bombay has risen five places, IIT-Delhi (India’s third) has climbed 11 places.
Among other highlights, University of Calcutta boasts the highest percentage of female students (63%). Amity University employs the highest percentage of female faculty (58%). Indian universities stagnate in QS’s academic reputation metric with 17 having experienced drops in ranks. In the QS’s employer reputation metric, IIT-Bombay and IIT-Delhi are the only two national universities to feature among the world’s Top 100 in this crucial metric, ranking 59th and 72nd respectively.
Founder of Quacquarelli Symonds Nunzio Quacquarelli, in an exclusive interaction, said that Indian institutions could make rapid progress if they focus on “international outreach with the higher education system globally”.
“NEP 2020 calls for a more proactive internationalisation of education. The international student and faculty ratios of Indian universities is amongst the lowest of any major OECD country. And then even employer reputation, although India has a very good employment outcome, employer relations are very domestic oriented. They haven’t really developed the course or digital capability to appeal to international employers. The drive for internationalization is something that will change things quite quickly. Because India has such a strong foundation in research and talent, I think all of these things can be improved relatively quickly now,” he said.
Quacquarelli added that barring the IITs, India’s government-run universities are traditionally domestic-focused and “need to make a greater effort in outreach and building reputation”.