The University of Oxford retains first place in the World University Rankings. The University of Cambridge climbs two places to second, overtaking the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University, both joint third. While the US continues to dominate the rankings, Chinese universities are climbing rapidly.
Terming the decline in India’s score “disappointing”, Phil Baty, editorial director, global rankings, THE, pointed out that other Asian countries such as China and Singapore had been consistently improving their performance.
“As leading universities in other Asian territories such as China, Hong Kong and Singapore are consistently rising up the rankings, in part thanks to high and sustained levels of funding, India’s flagship Indian Institute of Science moves further away from the elite top 200,” Baty said.
Indian universities performed poorly on internationalisation, with all except one dropping places, mainly due to other universities rising at a faster rate. Government policy limits the number of foreign students who can study in India and prevents international scholars from being hired in long-term faculty positions. THE is of the view that India may recover on this metric on the back of its world-class university plan, which aims to provide additional funding to select public and private universities for infrastructure and academics.
A director of one of the seven older IITs said efforts to improve research through additional funding had been “slower than desired” from the government as well as the institutes.
Apart from the Vishwajeet project, which will initially fund the seven older IITs, the ministry is identifying 10 public and 10 private institutions as ‘Institutes of Eminence’.
The government is also setting up an empowered committee to select 20 institutes with the aim of having them ranked in the top 500 and eventually top 100 global universities.
The government announced in August it would put on hold its plan to allow foreign universities to establish campuses and award degrees in the country but said the 20 universities chosen for the excellence initiative would be free to recruit foreign faculty, admit more foreign students and collaborate with foreign institutions. “There is some really positive news in that India’s overall research income and research quality has risen this year, and the country’s world-class university plan shows that it recognises the importance of investing in higher education, which may reverse India’s decline in the rankings in future years,” Baty added.
“There is a need for Indian institutes to market themselves globally,” said Shobha Ghosh, assistant secretary-general at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry.