President Pranab Mukherjee has exuded confidence that any Indian institution engaged in scientific research and development will be able to reach top position in the world.
He, however, said the importance given to research in the universities is still inadequate and recalled that while assuming office of President, he had described education as the alchemy that can bring India its next golden age.
The President was speaking at the Rashtrapati Bhavan after receiving a report on ‘State of Indian Universities in the Global Academic Rankings’ from O P Jindal Global University and Indian Centre for Academic Rankings and Excellence(ICARE).
He said in the last four years along with protecting, preserving and defending the Constitution, he has pursued improving quality of higher education as a constant theme.
“The physical infrastructure for higher education in India has increased considerably. However, the importance given to research in our universities is still inadequate,” he said.
Mukherjee said many universities were earlier doing well but not enough data was being provided to ranking agencies and expressed happiness over the work being done to raise the standards of Indian varsities.
Speaking on the occasion, Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer of 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.
“NITI Aayog is preparing a scheme and a framework for the identification of 10 public and 10 private Indian universities which could be given greater autonomy and funding with a view to making them world class varsities,” he said.
Expressing similar views, C Raj Kumar, Vice Chancellor of O P Jindal Global University, identified serious challenges relating to lack of autonomy and regulation, lack of funding and stressed on the need for outstanding research faculty.
“India needs substantive regulatory reforms that could within the next decade culminate in the development of world class universities in India,” he said.
According to the report, India has five institutions in the top 50 and nine in the top 100 in the University Rankings Asia, 2016 and figures among the top 10 Research Producing Nations Globally.
From 31 institutions in the rankings last year, India now has 44 institutions in the top 250 of the BRICS Rankings 2016, it said adding the Delhi University has jumped from 46 rank last year to 41 this year.
In his presentation on the rankings, Karthick Sridhar, Vice Chairman, ICARE, observed that Indian institutions have performed exceedingly well among top 350 universities from across 17 countries with two IITs 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.