The Telegraph
Friday , January 10 , 2014
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Delhi pushes varsities to join global race

New Delhi, Jan. 9: All centrally funded institutions, including IITs, central universities and the NITs, will have to participate in international agencies’ rankings from this year.

The move follows a government decision as few institutions have figured on the list of top 500 world universities in surveys by agencies like the London-based Times Higher Education (THE) and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).

This is seen as the result of abysmally low participation by Indian institutions, something the Union human resource development (HRD) is keen to change.

Only nine Indian institutions participated in THE rankings in 2012. The number increased to 19 last year. Only five institutions, including four IITs, found a place in the top 500 world institutions in 2013, up from three the year before.

Phil Baty, editor of THE rankings, told The Telegraph by email that greater participation would help make Indian institutions more competitive.

“It is essential that India’s leading universities do not get left behind in the global race and stay competitive. (For this) trusted, global performance data is essential in helping them compete,” Baty added.

International agencies consider several criteria, such as peer statement about an institution, citation, international students, international faculties, industry-linkage and the student-teacher ratio in making assessments and rankings. Each institute is asked to suggest names of academicians who can comment on its performance.

Elite Indian institutions like the IITs have often complained they get poor scores on peer statements, while European and American universities get better.

Many Indian universities also argue that in giving more access to students of all sections of society, they miss out on quality.

Ministry sources said THE had agreed to bring out a separate India-specific ranking list from this year.

Baty stressed the importance of such rankings saying the Indian economy depended heavily on universities. The varsities and the government can better monitor performance and progress in a knowledge-driven global economy by sharing data and benchmarking against international standards, he added.

“As we receive more data from India, we will be able to carry out, with our data partners Thomson Reuters, a much more detailed analysis on India’s performance and dig deeper into the sector than we currently do with the world university rankings,” Baty said.

The ministry has asked each institution to appoint a faculty member as a “resource person” to collate data and co-ordinate with the international agencies.

IIT Guwahati director Gautam Biswas said the institute was currently conducting an internal assessment. It will be followed by an external peer review by eminent experts. All IITs are holding such assessments.