Author: Parveen Kaswan (Writer is a Master’s student at Indian Institute of Science and an active writer on Social and Administrative issues. Add on Facebook for more Updates)
The ‘Times Higher Education’ World Reputation Rankings listed the world’s top 100 universities based on their academic prestige. The 2013 edition, published on 4th March 2013, is based on the results of a wide survey. But unfortunately of the so-called “BRIC” countries with rapidly expanding economies (Brazil, Russia, India and China), India is the only nation lacking a single representative in the overall world top 100.
Though the ranking is very bad for India and a larger group of academicians believe that this is really a matter of concern and we need to improve in the areas like research and innovation to earn a place in top league. Other groups of people are of the view we should not bother about ranking systems.
But in a little relief Times Higher Education revealed that if the THE World Reputation Rankings were to list more than just the top 100, India’s top-ranked institution, IISc Bangalore, would be 130th. IIT Bombay would sit in 192nd place, but all other Indian institutions would fall outside a global top 200.
It is not first incident when our so called institutes of higher studies are out of the game. In 2012 Global Employability Survey, released exclusively in the International Herald Tribune, characterized the ideal young candidate on the basis of skills, personal qualities and the schools they attended. The only Indian institute in the list both in 2011 and 2012, the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, was at 35th Rank. This survey was conducted by a French Human Resource Consultancy based in Paris. All our other colleges were missing from the list.
According to the ‘Times Higher Education’ officials “But outside IISc Bangalore and IIT Bombay, India’s higher education institutions seem to be a long way off in terms of global prestige.”
Now the question arises, where should we strike to get our Institutes listed in these rankings. With number of education bills stuck in Parliament, unions and people with vested interest block reforms in the country. We need to re-define the needs of students and teachers.
Affirmative as it is, the present system through which these rankings are done are most suited to the western countries and US. They give 25 per cent weight-age to noble laureates and 75 per cent to research while we focus on employability. But is it going to solve our problem. I think we need first rate tangible assets like buildings, books, facilities, etc; In terms of human resources we need great teachers, students, administrative staff, and University culture. The culture of a university should be a culture of truth seeking, precision and discipline.
If we have to reach the international standards and go in the top 100 universities, we should not do what we are doing now. We only debate and discuss, make policies on education. We keep reminding ourselves on importance and significance of access to education, equity in education, quality and equality in education, as well as its relevance in life. Fortunately, we have made good policies but we failed in their implementation. It is also important to remember that our education system is different, the western universities and other countries are investing in education since long. We started it only few decades back. And therefore there is educationally huge gap between Indian and western universities.
According to experts, primary reasons for under-performance of Indian institutions are lack of funding, lack of research, insufficient number of teachers. While somewhere there is lack of consensus on these rankings and their credibility but there is agreement that Indian Universities as well as the policy makers need to look beyond just giving degrees and have to focus on the research and innovation to get entry ticket for the top rank universities. The Government of India also needs to bring a change in its outlook towards the education system and should invest money in state universities as they are the ones catering to the larger group of population.