IIT, IISc rankings slip, but whom to blame?

IIT, IISc rankings slip, but whom to blame?


The ranking of Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, along with six of the seven top-ranked Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) have slipped in the 13th edition of the QS World University Rankings for the year 2016-17.


Compiled by global higher education think tank Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), the ranking saw Massachusetts Institute of Technology being ranked as the world’s best university for the fifth consecutive year, on the other hand India’s highest ranked institution IISc Bangalore dropped out of the top 150 to be ranked at 152nd this year, down from 147 last year.


Six IITs, including Delhi, Bombay, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Roorkee and Guwahati slipped too, on the other hand IIT Madras’ rank improved by five to break into the global top 250 universities.  


What is the reason behind this drop in rankings?


A relatively low number of doctoral students, coupled with globally insufficient faculty-student ratio have resulted in the rankings of these institutes to drop, according to several media reports.


According to Business Standard, Ben Sowter, Head of Research at the QS Intelligence Unit, attributed Indian institutions consistent falls to factors such as relatively low numbers of PhD-qualified researchers and low international faculty ratio, among others. According to Sowter, number of PhD-qualified researchers has a direct impact on research productivity.


He added that institutions in countries that provide high level of targeted funding, whether from endowments or from public purse are rising.


The results show that Indian universities are struggling to provide both quantity and quality education. More faculty members are needed to meet the rapid-increasing student demand.


The Ministry of Human Resource development continues to target further increases in Gross Enrollment Ratio for the sector.


With the recent change in the management of the education system of the country, more focus needs to be put towards education. Education is one of 9 pillars of India’s economic growth, as listed by FM Arun Jaitley in his budget speech.


IIT, IISc rankings slip, but whom to blame?


HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar’s challenge is providing this-- reshaping curriculum and institutions that reflect the needs of the new world. Three “themes” need attention--technology readiness, access and performance.


Setback for India


Talking about the system, a recent UNESCO report revealed that India will be half a century late in achieving its global education commitments and the country needs fundamental changes in the education system if it wants to meet the 2030 sustainable development goals.


This suggests that there is an urgent need for greater headway in education and the sector needs a major transformation to fulfill the needed potential and meet the current challenges facing humanity and the planet.


This report has also called upon governments of various countries to start taking inequalities in education seriously.


This is where the current HRD Ministry needs to step in to make the education system more transparent. 




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