Over the past few weeks there were a few news items in the papers regarding the world ranking of Universities. The bigger question in the newspapers was around the low rankings that a few Indian universities managed to get! Universities across the world are ranked by various agencies across a variety of parameters. It is rather surprising that across two popular rankings no Indian University ranks in the ‘Top 200’. Here are two links showing us recent ranking efforts and in both the listings the earliest occurrence of an Indian University (not surprising – The IITs) comes only around 225. Here are the links to the recent rankings:
How are Universities in Taiwan, Korea and China able to come into the ‘Top 200’? What makes these Universities rank higher than us? It is also not surprising that some of these countries are competing in the international market with differentiated products and technologies. Are the research and development efforts of the Universities in the above quoted countries of higher quality or more market relevant than ours?
Being the person who I am, I wanted to give the benefit of doubt to our Universities and hence went on to check if the parameters chosen for the research were biased towards the other nations but to my dismay it was not so. Here are some of the parameters and how we scored on them:
In the QS World Ranking Survey here are the scores across parameters for India’s top ranking University (IIT Delhi) – http://www.topuniversities.com/node/2583/ranking-details/world-university-rankings/2013
In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings here are the scores of India’s top ranking University (IIT Kharagpur) – http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2012-13/world-ranking/institution/indian-institute-of-technology-kharagpur
The above two are the highest ranked Indian University’s in the respective listings’ and present are their scores across various parameters. Across both the score sheets one thing that hit me hard was that our Universities were doing well in industry income and placements. Both of which result in better pay packages to students and faculty!! Is it surprising that all other Universities below them (rest of them in India) are trying to do the same – focus on making more money?
I am big fan of teaching as a profession and hence will always prefer that faculty are paid and taken care of well, but if primary focus is on enhancing the pay packages of students and in turn the pay packages of faculty; it may be not be a very good long term strategy in a country where ‘Knowledge is considered sacred to be even traded’. Where is knowledge creation headed then?
While I am not trying to pass judgements on anyone or any system in particular, I think as a country we need to ensure that the education sector finds its core purpose and devise policies that put Saraswati ahead of Lakshmi in their policy. Should centers of learning not have their priorities in this order? Just as business places Lakshmi before Saraswati!
Let’s all, who care about the future, think patiently and thoroughly on education!