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IITs’ boycott can be detrimental, says Times Higher Education

If leading universities in a nation with such a proud heritage of scholarly excellence, and with such huge opportunities for economic growth declined to take part in the gold standard rankings, we believe it would be detrimental to those institutions, and to India as a whole, said THE official.

Written by Shyna Kalra | New Delhi | Updated: April 18, 2020 4:01:07 pm
iit delhi campus, top university india, best iit in india, THE rankings THE Ranking had urged educational institutes without naming IITs to not “turn back on global data sharing and transparency”.

Reacting to the seven IITs’ decision to boycott the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings this year, the global ranking body said the move will be detrimental to these institutes and that “transparency is at the heart of everything” they do.

“If leading universities in a nation with such a proud heritage of scholarly excellence, and with such huge opportunities for economic growth declined to take part in the gold standard rankings, we believe it would be detrimental to those institutions, and to India as a whole,” the global ranking index said.

Claiming lack of transparency in THE ranking framework, seven IITs have announced not to participate in the ranking this year.

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Without naming IITs, The Times Higher Education Rankings, however, urged the educational institutes to not “turn back on global data sharing and transparency”. Replying to questions from indianexpress.com, the global ranking framework said that Indian institutes including IITs will be in the global top 100 overall category of their upcoming rankings. The result for THE world university ranking 2021 will be released on April 22.

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Last year, none of the IITs — that otherwise rank top in the Indian government’s NIRF ranking — could make it to the list of top 300 in the global ranking. This did not go down well with IITs which claimed that THE rankings are not suitable for Indian context. Talking to indianexpress.com then, Phil Baty, editorial director, Global Ranking, Times Higher Education (THE) had appreciated the IITs for their “good teaching” but at the same time suggested to invest more in research and talented academicians to improve their ranking.

THE and IITs have been in contact ever since. Times Higher Education claims that their chief data officer visited Delhi in November 2019 to “specifically engage with the IITs” to discuss their methodology, and in January 2020 their chief knowledge officer held a one-day forum in Delhi where the rankings data and methodology was discussed. THE claims that it was about to share data at the Indian Universities Association annual conference in March. The conference was cancelled due to the coronavirus.

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In its statement, THE claimed it is the “global gold standard” and “international benchmark” for universities and institutions “with ambitions to be globally competitive, to attract and retain global talent, and to help drive their nations’ knowledge economy”.

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