MHRD, IIT’s to frame ranking system for Indian institutions

September 23, 2014

The long standing concern of India's no show at world university rankings may finally see a solution. The ministry of human resource development (HRD) along with IITs will frame the much sought- after ranking system exclusively for Indian institutions. This announcement was made at the 48th meeting of the council of IITs in Chennai on 22nd September chaired by HRD minister Smriti Irani. 

"IITs will take the lead to have a ranking system devised primarily and predominantly for Indian institutions," said Ashok Thakur, secretary, ministry of HRD. "For now IITs will be working with central universities on a rough framework to be completed by this December. After the final ranking system is ready by March and parameters are fixed for India centric way of judging the rankings, we will expand it to all institutions funded by UGC and AICTE." 

In the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings released last week, not a single Indian higher education institution made it to the top 200. IIT-Bombay, ranked 222 followed by IIT Delhi at 235. IITs in Kanpur, Madras and Kharagpur figured in the 300 range. Premier institutes not figuring in any of the top three world ranking systems has been blamed on the ranking being skewed to technical and humanities universities and international parameters not being applicable to the Indian system. 

"IITs are institutions and do not have characteristics of a university on which the ranking system is based," says former Anna University vice-chancellor and chairman (board of governors) at IIT-Kanpur, M Anandakrishnan. IIT Madras and IIT Kanpur are said to spearhead this framework. "We will take international parameters such as faculty-student ratio, publications, citations into account apart from giving weightage to industry-academic collaborations, social development that are relevant to IITs and centrally funded institutes," Anandakrishnan said. For example, initiatives for people from diverse social backgrounds for SC/ STs aren’t considered in the international rankings, says Thakur. 

This system would be an indicator to help students to make an informed choice of education institutes in the country. "It is a welcome move and in the interest of healthy competition it should also include private technical universities and colleges as many are doing better work than some centrally funded technical institutes," says S Vaidhyasubramaniam, dean, planning and development, Sastra University. "The ranking methodology adopted must shed the Ivory tower approach and be drawn after a broad consultation with all stakeholders involved."

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