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Why Indian Universities poorly performed in the Global University Ranking?

 If we look at global university rankings. Even elite Indian institutions, such as IITs IIMs. The Indian Institute of Science, etc. They perform very poorly. See, there are a few university rankings, that are considered as a global standard. And one of them happens to be the QS World University Rankings. The 2020 edition of the QS World University Rankings, which provides the list of rankings for 2021, was released just a couple of days ago, and to India shock. Not a single Indian University is in the top hundred of this ranking list. So this clearly shows how poorly Indian universities perform when it comes to global rankings, and hence it is very important for us to understand the reasons behind it. If you ask me why Indian universities ranked so poorly in global rankings. I can point out these five reasons. One, the difference in ranking methodology, Two, the poor infrastructure of Indian universities. Third, the lack of focus on research and development Fourth, the lack of interaction with the industry. And Fifth, no international outreach of Indian universities. So to understand how the ranking methodology can play a role. First, we need to understand the different parameters that are used in each ranking methodology and understand whether the ranking methodology is more inclined towards measuring perceptions, or towards measuring facts. Say in the ranking parameters are more inclined towards measuring facts, such as faculty to student ratio, number of PhDs, number of research papers published, etc. Then we can say that the ranking methodology is more objective, but this is more of a textbook approach to measuring the performance of a university. Then on the other hand, in the ranking parameters are more inclined towards measuring perceptions. That is the perception of the university from academic peers, from employers, etc. The ranking would be more subjective. And this would provide a more real-world representation of the performance of the university. So any ranking methodology will include a mix of both subjective and objective factors, and the balance between the two will determine how the ranking methodology is trying to determine the performance of the universities. See if we look at global rankings, such as the QS World University Rankings. They are more perception driven. They provide a higher vantage to factors such as academic reputation employer reputation and other factors, such as international faculty ratio international student ratio, etc. These factors are given a vantage of nearly 60 to 70% in the ranking methodology. Whereas other objective factors, such as faculty to student ratio citations for faculty are given very low vantage, and it is hardly in the range of 10 to 15%. So this clearly shows that global rankings are both perception driven and they give a relatively lower vantage for objective facts and such a ranking methodology is bound to affect the ranking of Indian universities, which have not paid much attention to grooming their perception. On the other hand, the NIRF ranking methodology, developed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development is more objective-driven and gives a higher priority for facts as compared to perceptions. Under NIRF, the key parameters are teaching, learning, and resources. The research act as professional practice graduation outcomes outreach and inclusivity. The first four parameters are not only more objective and fact-oriented, but they also give a priority for socio-economic inclusion. And this can be considered to be relevant in the context of developing countries such as India. But the inclusion parameter is not included in global rankings, under the inclusion parameter of the NIRF, the percentage of students from other states and countries are measured to measure regional diversity, the percentage of women, the percentage of economically, socially challenged students, and the percentage of physically challenged students are also measured to account for gender inclusivity and socio-economic inclusion. If you look at global rankings, the inclusion parameter would be missing. But the Government of India, which has always criticized global rankings for adopting a flawed methodology and for being biased against Indian universities. It has given a very low voltage to perceptions, or the NIRF. That's the reason why I said that the NIRF is more objective because it gives very little scope for subjectivity in the form of how the university is perceived by academic peers and employers. But see such a ranking methodology might help boost the performance of Indian universities in the domestic rankings, but it does not help improve their performance in global rankings. Because of fact-driven ranking methodology ignores the significance of perceptions, especially in the field of education, where the perception of the industry and academic peers plays a critical role in the development of opportunities at the university. See over the years, Indian higher education institutions, especially the elite institutions, such as IITs, Indian Institute of Science, etc. They have done considerably well to improve their infrastructure to increase their investments and focus on research and development to increase industry interaction, and to attract more international faculty and international students. But this alone will not help the Indian Universities to improve their global rankings. And for this, they need to work on their academic reputation, especially amongst academic peers. They need to work on their industry and employer reputation. They need to strive towards attracting more international faculty and international students. As of now, most of the international students who come to India to study are from developing and underdeveloped countries, there are hardly any students coming in from developed countries to study in Indian universities. This is a result of a lack of international outreach of Indian universities, even when you look at research opportunities and employment opportunities at Indian universities, you will find that they perform very poorly, as compared to their global counterparts. This is mainly because Indian universities are not very proactive in tying up with the industry, and is tied up with research institutions, through the NIRF ranking methodology, the government in a way is increasingly the universities to focus more on faculty to student ratio, number of PhDs, number of papers being published. Yes, these parameters are important for a university, but it cannot afford to ignore the perception of academic peers, the perception of the industry, and the perception of the International faculty and student community. So along with infrastructure research or development faculty-student ratio, research papers, etc. Indian universities need to focus on building their reputation and their perception at the global level, and it is only a combination of these factors which can help the Indian universities to rank higher in global university rankings.


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