Indian institutes consistently fare poorly on global rankings

Indian educational institutions continued to lag behind their Asian and global peers in the QS World University Rankings 2018. This was a repeat of their performance in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018 released a few weeks ago, where Indian institutes’ performance deteriorated from 2017.

In the QS World University Rankings 2018, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), followed by Stanford University and Harvard University topped the list, thereby putting United States at the top of the league table.

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi (rank 172), followed by IIT Bombay (179) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) (190) were the only Indian educational institutes to feature among top 200 globally. No institute from India has been able to make it to the top 100.

QS World University Rankings 2018 (India): Long road ahead to the top

2017 (Rank) 2018 (Rank)
Indian Institute of Science (=152) Indian Institute of Science (190)
IIT Delhi (=185) IIT Delhi (172)
IIT Bombay (219) IIT Bombay (=179)
IIT Madras (=249) IIT Madras (=264)
IIT Kanpur (=302) IIT Kanpur (=293)
IIT Kharagpur (313) IIT Kharagpur (=308)
IIT Roorkee (399) IIT Roorkee (431-440)
IIT Guwahati (481-490) IIT Guwahati (501-550)
University of Delhi (501-550) University of Delhi (481-490)
University of Calcutta (651-700) University of Calcutta (751-800)
Banaras Hindu University (701+) Banaras Hindu University (801-1000)
Panjab University (701+) Panjab University (801-1000)
University of Mumbai (701+) University of Mumbai  (801-1000)

Source: QS World University Rankings 2018 

Note: = denotes the ranking is shared with another institute. Ranges given in bracket refers to a particular ranking bucket within an institute falls.

Among Asian institutes, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (rank 11), followed by National University of Singapore (15) and Tsinghua University of China (rank 25) were on top. India’s neighbor China had six institutes in the top 100, while Japan had five.

Narayanan Ramaswamy, partner and head, education and skill development, KPMG in India said that apart from research and citations by faculty, even in terms of academic reputation, India is not quite up to the mark.

“It is not easy for us to compete with global institutes. We do not allow foreign faculty and we do have troubles getting international students. It is unfair to compare them to the others. There are also constrains related to funding for research and traditional outlook towards reputation and ranking,” he said.

However, Ramaswamy added that even with the limited resources, some institutes have performed well globally in terms of subject-wise and age-wise rankings.

In the Times Higher Education Rankings 2018, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) topped the list among Indian institutes ranking in the 251-300 bucket, dropping from 201-250 in 2017. They were followed by IIT Bombay (351-400), IIT Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Roorkee (all in 501-600 ranking bucket), IIT Kanpur (501-600).

Here, University of Oxford followed University of Cambridge and California Institute of Technology/Stanford University (both sharing the same rank) were the top institutes globally.

In 2017, IITs of Delhi, Kanpur and Madras were in the 401-500 bracket in the Times Higher Education Rankings. Panjab University had topped the list in India in 2014 when it was featured in the 226-250 rank bracket.

All major international rankings of educational institutes primarily look at academic reputation, citations per faculty, reputation among employers, student-faculty ratio, apart from the number of international faculty and students. Placements and average incomes are also looked at, though they are not the top-most factor.

While Indian institutes fare well on the placements element, research and faculty citations is where they have lost out to their global peers.

Stating that global rankings fail to fully capture the nuances of the Indian education system, in 2015 the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) had launched the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) to bring out India’s own best institution list. However, several leading educational institutes like Presidency University of Kolkata and St Stephen’s College, Delhi did not participate in these rankings, which was topped by IISc.

MHRD officials have indicated that in the future, grants and funds to institutes will be linked to their participation in the NIRF. If an institute decides to opt out, reasons for doing so will also be sought.

NIRF looks at teaching, placements, research, inclusivity as well as peer perception to rank the institutes.


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