India Needs World Class Universities: President of India Urges Indian Universities to take global rankings seriously

India Needs World Class Universities: President of India Urges Indian Universities to take global rankings seriously

Presentation of the Asia Top 25 Universities to Hon'ble President

The International Institute for Higher Education Research & Capacity Building (IIHEd) of O.P. Jindal Global University and Indian Centre for Academic Rankings and Excellence (ICARE) gave a presentation on the “State of Indian Universities in the Global Academic Rankings” to the President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan on 20 th  July.

Some of highlights of the report are:

Indian Institutions have performed exceedingly well amongst the top 350 Universities from across 17 countries in the QS University Rankings Asia 2016. India has 5 institutions in the top 50 and 9 in the top 100. For the first time in the history of these rankings, all top 10 institutions from India have displayed a positive growth. 9 of these institutions are led by Hon’ble President as Visitor with the 10th, the University of Calcutta being his Alma Mater.

In the BRICS Rankings 2016, India continues to hold its position in the top 10 with IISC at Rank No. 6. India has 8 institutions in the top 50 which is the same as Russia and one more than Brazil. From 31 institutions in the rankings last year, India today has 44 institutions in the top 250 of the QS BRICS Rankings 2016. The University of Delhi has taken a lead by rising from 46 last year to 41 this year.

Presentation of the Asia Top 25 Universities to Hon'ble President-

India is in the Top 10 Research Producing Nations Globally. In a decade and a half, India has produced over 1.4 million Research Papers attracting a massive 8.5 million Citations (7.4 citations per paper). During the same period, the Indian Scientific Community filed 4.6 Lakh Patent Applications. A total of 1,29,481 scientific papers were published by Indian authors in 2015.

Speaking on the occasion, the President recalled that while assuming the Office of President of India four years back, he had described education as the alchemy that can bring India its next golden age in his acceptance speech.

The President asserted that any country which wishes to occupy a high place in the international community must excel in education. Mr. Mukherjee called for institution of awards for University Professors for excellence in research and development. Stating that challenges faced by the higher education sector cannot be solved overnight, he stressed the need for technological solutions like the National Knowledge network. He urged the Indian Universities to take global rankings and global benchmarking seriously.

Presentation of the Asia Top 25 Universities to Hon'ble President-1

The President said in the last four years along with protecting, preserving and defending the Constitution, he has pursued improving the quality of higher education as a constant theme. As a former teacher, he was convinced that if India is to have a place on the high table of international community, it must achieve the highest possible position in the field of education. The physical infrastructure for higher education in India has increased considerably.

However, the importance given to research in our universities is still inadequate. The President said many universities were earlier doing well but not enough data was being provided to ranking agencies. This situation is now changing. Indian universities lag behind in exchange of faculty and students with foreign universities. The President pointed out that he has taken with him delegations of Vice Chancellors on almost all State visits. The academic interaction these Vice Chancellors have had with their counterparts was the most productive part of his visits.

The President concluded expressing happiness over the work being done to raise the standards of Indian universities. He said he was confident many Indian institutions and agencies engaged in scientific research and development will soon reach the top position in the world. He was looking forward to the day leaders of other countries watch with envy how India has reached the top in this regard.

Speaking about the vision for establishing world class universities in India, Professor C. Raj Kumar, Vice Chancellor, O.P. Jindal Global University and Director of IIHEd, identified serious challenges relating to lack of autonomy and regulation, lack of funding and resources, need for outstanding faculty who are able to pursue research, internationalization along with faculty and student mobility and the need for stronger emphasis of international rankings and accreditation. In order to become world class universities, Professor Kumar said that Indian Universities must strive for recruiting faculty members who are pursuing research output, an effective teaching and learning environment, high levels of public and private sources of funds, high quality students, quality infrastructure, autonomy and a robust governance structure.

Professor Kumar observed: “The existing regulatory framework has ended up making universities functioning like mediocre departments within the government structure where decision-making is hierarchical, frustratingly slow and lacks the vision and imagination for institution building. India needs substantive regulatory reforms that could within the next decade culminate in the development of world class universities in India.” He drew attention to the Finance Minister’s announcement in his budget speech on 29 February that an “enabling regulatory architecture will be provided to 10 public and 10 private institutions to emerge as world-class teaching and research institutions”.

Discussing about this plan, Professor Kumar said, “It is necessary that the transformation of the Indian higher sector for nurturing the twenty higher education institutions to achieve the status of world class universities be led by the HRD Ministry in collaboration with the NITI Aayog. NITI Aayog with its core agenda of being an institution that is tasked with the agenda of the transformation of India is well suited for undertaking this responsibility.”

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog cited quality of research and lack of international students and faculty as reasons for the current state of Indian universities in the global rankings. He announced that NITI Aayog is preparing a Scheme and a framework for the identification of ten public and ten private Indian universities which could be given greater autonomy and funding with a view to making them world class universities.

In his presentation on the rankings, Dr. Karthick Sridhar, Vice Chairman, Indian Centre for Academic Rankings and Excellence observed that the Indian Institutions have performed exceedingly well amongst the Top 350 Universities from across 17 countries with TWO IIT's entering the Top 50 Asia thereby taking India’s tally to an impressive 5 in Top 50 and 9 in the Top 100 in the QS University Rankings Asia 2016.

For the first time in the history of these rankings, Dr. Karthick said that all the Top 10 institutions from India have displayed a positive growth by adding that India is clearly the rising tiger of Asia. In the latest BRICS Rankings 2016, Dr. Karthick said that India continues to hold its position in the Top 10 with IISC at Rank No. 6. India today has 8 institutions in the Top 50 which is the same as Russia and one more than Brazil. From 31 institutions in the rankings last year, India today is witnessing 44 institutions in the Top 250 of the QS BRICS Rankings 2016, he added. He lauded the role played by the President of India in the higher education sector through constant encouragement.

Professor Y.S.R. Murthy, Registrar, O.P. Jindal Global University, & Senior Fellow, IIHEd proposed a vote of thanks. Some of the distinguished academics and policy makers who participated in the event include:Professor R.Sudarshan, Dean, Jindal School of Government and Public Policy; Professor Shiv Visvanathan, Vice Dean, Jindal Global Law School; Professor C. Gopinath, Dean, Jindal Global Business School; Dr. Vinod Sethi, Secretary-General, Capital Foundation Society; Professor Dr. Pankaj Gupta,Vice Dean, Jindal Global Business School; Mr. A Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Anitha Group; Professor Dr. Veeraiyan, Chancellor, Saveetha University; Professor Dr. Deepak Nallaswamy, Director (Academics), Saveetha University; Professor Dr. Sheela Rajendra, Trustee, PSBB Group of Institutions; Professor Dr. Sanjay Deshmukh, Vice Chancellor, University of Mumbai; Professor Dr. SA Kori, Executive Director, Karnataka State Higher Education Council; Mr. Bala Chandran, Managing Director, Accenture; Mr. Chaitanya Reddy, Director, Papillon Systems.