Indian universities need quality boost for global ratings: experts


London : India has to invest more in quality staff and research for its higher education institutions to make a mark worldwide, according to British higher education experts.

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The observation comes in the wake of two Indian institutions figuring in the 2008 list of top higher education institutions compiled by the Times Higher Education-QS World University Ranking Survey 2008. The details of the survey were released earlier this month.

Whereas no institution from India figured in the top 200 of 2007, two institutions broke into the 2008 list. They are the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, ranked 154 and IIT, Mumbai, ranked 174, according to the Times Higher Education website.

William Lawton, a policy adviser at the UK Higher Education International Unit, said India was aware of its poor showing at the global level and was investing heavily to reverse the trend, but “it is less clear whether they’ll be able to fill these institutions with high-quality staff”.

Quality of research is another problem area for India, Tim Gore, director of the Centre for Indian Business at the University of Greenwich, pointed out. According to him, India’s major hurdle is its traditional method of keeping teaching and research separate in higher institutions.

Referring to India’s time frame of supplying world quality higher education in the next five years, Lawton observed: “I don’t think they will have solved the world-class excellence issue, and I know for a fact that they won’t have solved their widening-participation issue in that time frame. India gets there eventually, but they seem to get there more slowly than, for example, China does, probably because there are so many domestic political and ideological constraints.”

For the sake of comparison, China has as many as five universities in the top 200, with Peking University placed at 50 and Tsinghua University at 56. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Seoul National University are the two new east Asian entrants into the list this year.