In the recently released QS World University rankings 2019, IIT Bombay was ranked as the 162nd best University in the World, among the 1000 best universities considered in the rankings. This made IIT Bombay the best ranked University in India, surpassing IISc Bangalore ( ranked 170th ) and IIT Delhi ( ranked 172nd), with these three being the only Indian Universities featured within the top 200. Among Asian Universities, IIT Bombay has bagged the 34th rank. Overall, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) maintained their top rank from the previous year, followed by Stanford University and Harvard University. 24 universities from India have been featured in these rankings,which include the 7 old IITs.
QS World University Rankings is an annual university rankings publication by Quacquarelli Symonds, a British company in the education sector. QS has been producing these rankings since 2004.
QS ranks Universities on basis of the factors mentioned below, with each factor’s corresponding weightage given beside it:
- Academic Reputation ( 40%) : This metric is based on the academic survey of QS, which reaches out to over 80000 active academicians, asking them questions on teaching and research facilities at the top universities in their respective fields of specialty.
- Employer Reputation ( 10%) : Based on the QS Employer Survey, which as the name suggests asks over 40000 employers from over 130 countries their opinions on institutes which can provide the most competent and qualified graduates.
- Faculty/ Student Ratio ( 20%) : This metric is effectively used by QS as a substitute for teaching quality, since a higher faculty to student ratio will provide the students of an institute greater access to teachers and lecture material.
- Citations per faculty ( 20%) : Using this as a measure of the research output of an university, QS sources citations from Elsevier’s Scopus database, world’s largest database for academic journals. Since around half of all research citations around the world are for papers covering Life Sciences, to remove an undue advantage to Medicine or Life Sciences’ Institutions, QS normalizes the faculty citations count such each of QS’s five key Faculty Areas account for 20% of the final score. These five key Faculty Areas are- Arts & Humanities, Engineering & Technology, Life Sciences & Medicine, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences & Management.
- International Faculty Ratio and International Student Ratio ( 5% each) : This parameter is used by QS as a direct indicator of an Institute’s global brand and ability to attract students and professors from around the world, displaying that institute’s efforts to internationalize their academic and cultural environment and provide a means for exchange of practices and beliefs.
Coming back to our institute’s performance, IIT Bombay improved its rank from 179 in the 2018 rankings to 162nd, a phenomenal jump of 17 places. In comparison, IIT Delhi did not change its positions and IISc Bangalore jumped 20 places from the 190th position it obtained last year. IIT Bombay’s overall score this year was 48.2, which is lower than last year’s score of 49.7. In terms of the individual parameters, IIT Bombay’s academic reputation score slid down from 62.3 in the 2018 ranking to 52.5 in the 2019 ranking. The Employer Reputation parameter also saw a drop from 77.9 to 72.9. However, the faculty to student ratio score has increased substantially from 32.1 to 43.3, signifying better teaching output for the students, going by the QS methodology. Also contrary to the decline in research output scores in a majority of Indian Universities, IIT Bombay’s citations per faculty score rose from 50.8 to 54.2. The scores for International faculty ratio and International student ratio were 4.4 and 1.8 respectively. The absence of these two scores in the 2018 rankings signify a steady growth in IIT Bombay’s global reach.
In spite of these developments, Indian institutes have a long way to go before they can be comparable to the top colleges. Also noticeable is the fact that Indian Universities have comparably lower scores in the categories of citation per faculty ( as mentioned above) and international faculty and student ratios. Compared to National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) released by MHRD every year since 2016, the parameters of QS rankings are more quantitative, based either on surveys or direct numbers and ratios ( Refer to https://www.insightiitb.org/reflection-on-ranking-nirf-rankings/ for further details. ) Furthermore, NIRF places more emphasis on information provided by the institutes themselves while evaluating their performances. Perhaps these factors, in addition to NIRF being specifically designed for Indian Universities might lead one to conclude that a better grasp of an institute’s performance in a national perspective, provided correct provision of data from the respective institutes.
On a concluding note, to paraphrase the Dean SA, Prof. Soumyo Mukherji’s statement said in relation to the NIRF rankings that, while there are numerous steps being undertaken in IIT Bombay to improve the institute’s research and infrastructural facilities along with its global outreach, none of these steps are being specifically targeted to directly modify the Institute’s ranking, but with a general goal of progress in mind.
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