Global varsity ranking jury must have Indians too: HRD Ministry

The London-based company, which is one of the most sought-after for judging educational institutes standards worldwide, released the 2020 edition of world university rankings

By Author  |  Published: 8th Jul 2019  12:35 amUpdated: 7th Jul 2019  4:43 pm
HRD Ministry
HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal

New Delhi: Questioning the methodology adopted by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) to arrive at its world university rankings, the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has decided to recommend to the agency that it include at least 10 per cent Indian members in its jury.

The London-based company, which is one of the most sought-after for judging educational institutes standards worldwide, released the 2020 edition of world university rankings last month where just three Indian universities made it to top 200.

“We would be making suggestions to QS on its methodology to reach global ranking of the universities. We feel the QS jury is biased towards the western countries. Hence, it should have 10 per cent Indians on its panel,” a senior ministry official told IANS.

He added that the decision to make suggestions was taken during a meeting of HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ with the heads of Indian Institutes of Technology, Bombay and Delhi and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. The three universities have featured in top 200 of the world university rankings table.

For the QS World University Ranking, institutes are scored on six basic parameters – academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty student ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty, and international students.  Officials said that reputation of an institution accounts for 50 per cent of the marks – an area where the Indian universities lose out the maximum number of marks – due to the absence of Indian representation at QS’ panel.

Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT-D said that during the meeting with HRD Minister, he raised concerns about the transparency in the mechanism for the world university rankings of QS. He added that though the perception about a university accounts for 50 per cent of the total marks, there are not enough Indian participants in the UK or the US to rate Indian universities.

“Several parameters adopted for ranking the universities are not relevant to Indian institutions. For example, IIT Delhi has 80 per cent faculty possessing foreign degrees but as per the QS parameters, international faculty is described as teachers who hold non-Indian passports. Also, since the IITs are regulated by the HRD Ministry, they do not have the autonomy to recruit international faculty,” he said.

Another issue is that of conflict of interest. “Increasingly many private institutions are getting featured in the world university rankings are those to whom QS is also providing consultancy services to improve their rankings. They should ideally carry a disclaimer that no business interests have been involved while arriving at the rankings,” he said adding the IIT-D will soon be writing to the HRD Ministry pointing out these issues.

As per the 2020 edition of the QS World University Rankings, IIT-Bombay stood at 152nd position, IIT-Delhi at 182nd position and the IISc at 184th rank. Apart from the three, IIT-Madras, IIT-Kharagpur, IIT-Kanpur and IIT-Roorkee are also among the top 400 institutes.

The Delhi University marginally improved on its last year’s rank of 487 and is placed at 474 in the latest rankings.

The global rankings table continues to be dominated by the US, which holds the top ten positions with universities such as MIT, Stanford and Harvard.

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