In sharp contrast, India had absolutely no representation in the top 200 of the Times Higher Education 2013-14 World University Rankings. Only five universities made it to the top 400, with Panjab University only making it to the group of universities ranked between 226th and 250th place. In Times Higher Education’s BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings 2014, Indian institutions make up 10% of the list, including nine in the top 50 places. Panjab University, the alma mater of prime minister Manmohan Singh, leads the way, followed by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) at Kharagpur (30th), Kanpur (34th), Delhi (37th), Roorkee (37th), Guwahati (46th) and Madras (47th). Jadavpur University, Aligarh Muslim University and Jawaharlal Nehru University are in the 47th, 50th and 57th spots, respectively. China’s Peking University and Tsinghua University take the top two spots in the overall rankings. University of Cape Town, South Africa, comes in at third place, followed by Taiwan’s National Taiwan University and Turkey’s Booazici University in fourth and fifth places, respectively.
China emerges as the frontrunner in the rankings with 23 institutions in the table. Taiwan comes next in terms of maximum representatives on the list (21), followed by India with 10. “This is a strong showing for India: only China and Taiwan have more universities in the top 100. This highlights the nation’s real strengths in competition with countries that offer fair comparisons,” said Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education Rankings, in a statement. He added, however, that a country of India’s enormous size, growing wealth and rich intellectual history should aspire to more. In a written response to ET, Baty said that the first step towards moving up in the rankings is to encourage a much better culture of data collection and sharing among India’s universities. “At this stage we have been working very much at the national, government level, to raise awareness of our data collection system… and we have seen a dramatic improvement in our engagement with individual institutions, which are now much more willing and ready to share data.” He added that from the data they already have, it is clear that Indian institutions across the board need to improve their research output — research quality needs to improve. “There are encouraging moves afoot to address this, especially increased funding and more strategically-focused funding,” he said.