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5 reasons why any Indian university has failed to make it to Times’ top 100 list

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Business Standard | Vinay Umarji  |  Ahmedabad  May 4, 2016 |

Data collection, research collaboration could help Indian varsities register higher brand recall globally.

Indian universities, led by the likes of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), have been featuring in the overall top 100 list of some of the major rankings such as Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and Times Higher Education (THE) – at times even in the top 20. These rankings are usually based on their overall functioning in the areas of teaching and research, apart from other parameters. However, when it comes to global reputation, Indian universities continue to fail to make it to the top 100 list. Since its launch in 2011, not a single Indian university has ever made it to the THE top 100 world reputation rankings, including the recent ranking released by THE for the year 2016. The world reputation rankings are based on universities are globally perceived by peers, faculty, students and other stakeholders.
We look at five key reasons why Indian universities find it hard to build a global repute.
1) Non-conducive parameters  The parameters that measure global repute are not helping Indian universities. The parameters talk about global diversity, international faculty, international students, research intensity and number of professors that are engaged in research, among others. Many Indian universities, designed to meet UGC and AICTE guidelines, are not used to adhering to such parameters.
2) Social Inclusiveness  According to Narayanan Ramaswamy, partner and head – Educational Skill Development Sector Advisory at KPMG in India, by design, Indian universities are supposed to be socially inclusive.“Our students are all not always the best of the best. We include the marginalised sections of the society for the overall betterment of the country. Some of the foreign universities with global repute don’t have such compulsion,” says Ramaswamy.  Seconding Ramaswamy is U B Desai, director of IIT Hyderabad, who says that a lot of things that IITs do are not reflected in the global reputation rankings. “We do things for nation building. We do projects for defence or strategic initiatives which don’t get reflected in these rankings. This was in fact a motivation for building our own rankings,” says Desai.
3) Data Collection  Indian universities and ranking agencies alike have rued over the lack of willingness or initiative among some of the universities in collection and sharing of data that could fit the parameters set by the ranking agencies. One of the things that a committee of IIT directors was working to improve global reputation was on this front. “Data has to be properly documented and we are working towards it,” says Desai. According to Ramaswamy, it is lack of intention among Indian universities to focus on improving global competitiveness. “Hence, the kind of information that they share or the forthcomingness with which they collect the data is lacking. Some of the ways they interact with stakeholders are not tuned to being globally competitive in terms of building reputation,” he adds.
4) Collaborations  An area where management institutes have had a relatively higher success is international collaborations. While some of the Indian universities have had collaborations for teaching and research, more efforts are still wanting. According to a director of one of the older IITs, the faculty should also be looking for international collaborations to enhance brand recall of IITs among foreign peers.
5) Publicising Research and Teaching  Director of another IIT admitted that institutes like the IITs and IISc need to work on building their international presence by publicising their research and courses abroad. Barring a few, not many IITs have been focusing on publishing their research work in the right kind of publications internationally.To this, Ramaswamy adds that the Indian universities could make small changes in terms of asking their faculty to participate in global research projects and get international faculty and students onboard.  –  Courtesy

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