The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) lost ground in the QS World University Rankings 2016-17 issued on Tuesday. Compiled by global higher education think tank Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), the ranking saw Massachusetts Institute of Technology being ranked as the world’s best university for the fifth consecutive year, while India’s highest ranked institution IISc Bangalore dropped out of the top 150 to be ranked at 152nd this year, down from 147 last year.
Six IITs, including Delhi, Bombay, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Roorkee and Guwahati too slipped, while IIT Madras improved by five places to break into the global top 250 universities. Among the six premier institutes, IIT Delhi was ranked at 185 place for 2016-17, against 179 last year, IIT Bombay at 219 (against 202 last year), IIT Kanpur 302 (271), IIT Kharagpur 313 (286), IIT Roorkee 399 (391) and IIT Guwahati in the 481-490 band, against 451-460 band last year. IISc’s drop is symptomatic of the near-uniform drops faced by India’s tertiary institutions this year, the report said. In fact, the positions of nine out of the 10 Indian universities ranked 700 or above in 2015 have dropped this year. The rankings fell for both academic and employer reputation. There are just four Indian institutions among the world’s top 100 in research impact, one fewer than last year’s, as IIT Madras dropped eight ranks to 101st. IISc remains India’s best research institution, ranked 11th.
Ben Sowter, head of research at QS Intelligence Unit, attributes the falls to several factors. One is India’s relatively low number of PhD qualified researchers. Also, India hires and attracts fewer PhD qualified researchers from abroad. He notes that no Indian institution ranked above 700 for QS’s international faculty ratio metric.
QS intelligence unit noted that considerable investment — human and capital — is needed if Indian institutions are to remain competitive and upwardly mobile.
“This year’s rankings imply that levels of investment are determining who progresses and who regresses. Institutions in countries that provide high levels of targeted funding… are rising. On the other hand, Western European nations making or proposing cuts to public research spending are losing ground to their US and Asian counterparts,” Sowter said.