A great reputation among graduate employers and academicians and a relatively high volume of research could not ensure IIT Bombay a good rank at the recent QS Asian university rankings. Even Mumbai, Delhi and Calcutta University have been ranked high by employers.
But an assessment of the parameters on which they were evaluated shows that ‘brand IIT’ and Indian universities in general are handicapped in few indicators by its low levels of international faculty and international students.
An academician, who did not wish to be named, said that IITs are working towards bettering their quality each year and towards serving the nation, and that all the ranking parameters may not necessarily be coincident with what they are trying to achieve. “International faculty too won’t happen anytime soon as there is a big difference in pay-scales,” said the academician.
While IIT Bombay has been ranked in the top 12 by employers and 33 by academicians, its ranking among 300 institutes is poor when it comes to international faculty (201-plus), international students (201-plus) and outbound exchange students (201-plus). “I am happy to note that IIT Bombay is ranked high on important parameters like academic and employer reputation. We are working towards increasing the number of postgraduate international students, a parameter for which our ranking is low,” said IIT Bombay director Devang Khakhar.
The other IITs too are placed high by employers—14 for IIT Delhi, 29 for IIT Kanpur, 24 for IIT Madras and 31 for IIT Kharagpur and 54 for IIT Roorkee. Other IITs among top 50 in academic reputation include IIT Delhi (39) and IIT Kanpur (49). In the overall rankings, only IIT Delhi (38) and IIT Bombay (41) have made it to the top 50 from India.
Another area where Indian institutes fail to make a mark is faculty-student ratio. None of them feature in the top 100 and most have made it to the 201-plus position. Mumbai University, which also enjoys a good reputation among employers and is ranked 43 in that criteria, is unable to do well in other indicators and has not submitted data on international faculty and students and exchange students.
“Internationalisation is important and we want to encourage more collaborative research with foreign universities, faculty exchange and memorandum of understandings. Even the number of international students has gone up over the years. But the facilities need to be increased further and an international students’ hostel is on the cards,” said Naresh Chandra, Mumbai University pro vice chancellor. The university has an overall ranking of 131, up from 140 in 2013.
“Higher education today is global and universities have to compete globally. These lists affect the decisions of students, policy makers, research collaborators and funding agencies among others. We should have an inclination to participate. India’s policy decisions don’t suit international factors, but the weightage given to this parameter is less in the BRIC nations’ rankings as compared to the world rankings, yet India does not feature in the top 10 in BRIC rankings,” said Dr Karthick Sridhar, vice-chairman, Indian Centre for Assessment & Accreditation (ICAA).