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10 Indian varsities in Times Asia rankings

Business Standard:  June, 2014

Mumbai: Ten Indian institutions have made it to this year’s Asia University Rankings by Times Higher Education, while Japan topped the list with 20 institutes on the top-100 list. Last year only three institutions from India had figured on the list. IIT-Bombay is not on this year’s list (see chart). Last year it was ranked 33.

Panjab University, 32nd on list this year, was the topmost from India. This institution was also the topmost institution of higher education in the country, according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings released in October 2013. The rankings revealed that China is posing a stiff challenge to Japan, which used to enjoy supremacy in the region. Although the latter retained its premier position, with the University of Tokyo scoring the No. 1 position and other 19 of its universities in the top 100, it lost two candidates from the list. On the other hand, China has improved its position with 18 of its universities figuring on list against 15 in 2013.

It showed that India made maximum progress in this year’s rankings. India now has 10 universities on the list. Panjab University (32nd rank) is followed by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kharagpur (45th), IIT-Kanpur (55th) and six more IITs. Jadavpur University (76th), Aligarh Muslim University (80th) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (90th) have also found place on the list.

In third place is South Korea with 14 institutions, followed by Taiwan with 13 (down from 17 last year). While Japan is the top-most country, the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (81st in 2013) and Yokohama National University (joint 96th) have exited the table this year and three more institutions are close to the precipice: Okayama University (down nine places to 94th), Kanazawa University (96th) and Chiba University (which has fallen a massive 23 places to 98th).

India’s Secretary for Higher Education Ashok Thakur writes the question of whether the country should go “full hog” for the global university rankings “has mercifully been laid to rest by none other than the president of India, Pranab Mukherjee, who has made it clear that as a matter of policy, all institutions in the country have to participate wholeheartedly in the rankings process”.

Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education Rankings, said these prestigious rankings were wonderful news for India. “A drive to introduce systematic quality assurance and accreditation for the country’s huge range of higher education institutions, plus plans to boost university research, should push it even further. And the election of a majority government raises the prospect of further decisive action in the higher education sphere, cutting through the red tape that has untrammeled previous initiatives,” he said.

The Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2014 is one of the world’s largest academic reputation surveys with 10,000 academics in 2013 and almost 60,000 since 2010. It has thirteen indicators across five areas taken into account, and examines all the core missions of the modern global university — research, teaching, knowledge transfer and international activity.