The Times Higher Education (THE) rankings, 2018, of the world’s top 1,000 universities in 77 countries, published today, had plain bad news for India. Most of the country’s universities were knocked down from their previous positions with star performer Indian Institute of Science (IISc) slipping from the 201-250 band to 251-300. The good news, however, was that most of India’s varsities showed improvement in research income and quality.
Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Delhi, Kanpur and Madras came down to the 501–600 band from last year’s 401-500 rankings.
THE attributed IISCs poor showing to “drops in its research influence score and research income,” and said most of the institutes “performed poorly on the internationalisation pillar.” The number of international students coming into India was limited, thanks to government policy. International scholars also were not being hired for long-term faculty positions.
Improved performance from other countries too impacted India while in neighbouring China universities rapidly climbed year-on-year. Peking University went up to 27 from last year’s 29 and Tsinghua to 30 from 35.
“China, Hong Kong and Singapore all invest very heavily in their university systems. This year, almost all universities in the three regions improved their standing in the ranking, signalling that their commitment to investment has bolstered results year-on-year,” Phil Baty, editorial director, Global Rankings, THE, said
Though disappointed with India’s showing, Baty however, said things were likely to improve because of the “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.”
Research income and quality were the two key metrics in the rankings methodology and revealed that the country was seeing significant progress when it came to its scholarly output. “If India continues to increase its research income then this will pay dividends for the nation in future editions of the ranking,” he said.
UK led the rankings with University of Oxford retaining first position. The University of Cambridge climbed two places to second, overtaking California Institute of Technology and Stanford University, both joint third. The United States continued to dominate the rankings.