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The QS Indian University rankings, which were out for the first time recently, placed IIT Bombay at the top followed by IISc, IIT Madras and IIT Delhi. But only IIT Bombay (placed 8th) and IISc (placed 10th) made it to the top 10 universities in the QS BRICS rankings this year. And none made it to the top 30 in QS Asia rankings. IIT Bombay still retaining its top position among Indian universities was ranked 33rd. National University of Singapore topped among Asian universities.

The overall QS World University rankings, released earlier in June, also saw IIT Bombay (162nd) do better than IISc (170th), IIT Delhi (172nd) and IIT Madras (264th). These, however, used slightly different metrics from the BRICS and Indian rankings.While QS World rankings used academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty per student ratio, citations per faculty and international students and faculty ratio in the evaluation methodology, the QS BRICS and Indian rankings employed 8 broader indicators to capture some of the challenges specific to these nations. These indicators with percentage weightage in final score are shown in the pie chart.

Weightage - QS Indian Rankings

Weightage – QS Indian Rankings

The QS Asia rankings further considers International research network, proportion of inbound and outbound exchange students in addition to these 8 indicators.

A quick comparison of the scores of Tsinghua University which topped among BRICS universities with top 4 Indian universities shows clear disparities in metrics like faculty to student ratio, international faculty and international students. When asked about the relatively poor performance of Indian universities in international intake Prof. A.K.Suresh, Deputy Director (Academic and Infrastructural affairs) said, “Indian universities have some constraints on acquiring international faculty on a permanent basis.We cannot give a permanent job. We can only give contract appointments.These are government rules.” With Institute of Eminence (IoE) status, however, IITB could be given more flexibility on these rules. Currently, the International relations office is looking into some government programmes that encourage international presence in Indian universities. Also, it is trying to improve the international student intake through MoUs IITB has signed with different universities.

Faculty to student ratio is another parameter that Indian universities don’t seem to be doing very well in. Though IITB has outperformed other IITs, it still quite far behind IISc and Tsinghua university. IITB’s current faculty to student ratio is around 1:15 while the MHRD’s current suggested norm is 1:10. Regarding what is currently being done to improve faculty to student ratio, Prof. Suresh said, “Our approach is to be very selective in hiring faculty and give the faculty all opportunities to reach his/her potential. So this takes time. We are making every effort to process applications promptly.”

Scores out of 100 - QS Indian Rankings

Scores out of 100 – QS Indian Rankings

In areas like academic and employer reputation, which are based on the QS’s major global survey of academics, IIT Bombay did better than its Indian peers. However, IISc did better in parameters that primarily evaluate research output like citations per paper and papers per faculty.

What do these rankings mean to us?

The institute regularly participates in the QS, the THE and the recent the NIRF rankings. And these rankings have a wide acceptance in the world and the country. Though the institute doesn’t see their results as goals to work on, they do serve the purpose of feedback on the institute’s performance. To put in Prof. Suresh’s words- we come to know about how we are faring with respect to other institutes and if we can learn something from what they are following. The goal is to work for the overall betterment of the institute.

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