New Delhi: The dismal rankings of Indian institutes in the Times Higher Education (THE) world rankings, a list to qualify educational excellence, have upset some IITs, who are planning to approach the government to officially complain against the authorities that compile the list.
The older IITs, which have seen their ranks drop by several notches since last year, have already informally communicated their disappointment to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), ThePrint has learnt.
A senior ministry official, however, told this reporter that the institutes ought to improve themselves first instead of complaining.
“We have not received an official complaint from the IITs so far. And even when we do, we do not plan to take it up with THE,” the official added.
Released by the London-based THE magazine, the rankings take into account 13 parameters that “measure an institution’s performance across teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook”. While the first 200 institutes are individually ranked, the others are placed in brackets, for example, 251-300 and 401-500.
While no Indian institute has made it to the top 200, some of the most prominent names in higher education have found themselves bested by newcomers in the later rankings.
For example, IIT-Ropar is ranked alongside the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in the 301-350 bracket, which signifies a fall for the latter since last year, when it fell in the 251-300 group.
Meanwhile, IIT-Indore (351-400) is ahead of its older counterparts like IIT-Bombay, IIT-Delhi and IIT-Kharagpur (401-500).
The older IITs are disappointed with the way they have been ranked and have labelled the methods “unfair”.
“If you look at the way institutes have been ranked, there has to be some correlation. Some unheard of institutions were ranked better than older IITs last year and that made us think of the authenticity of these rankings,” said an IIT-Delhi professor who deals with ranking data.
“Either we have not been able to figure out how these rankings work or they have not made their methodology clear to us,” the professor added.
The professor said the institute had been thinking of taking up the matter with THE since last year, and had unofficially communicated their disappointment to them.
IIT-Delhi director Ramagopal Rao said the methodology was unclear and non-transparent.
A senior professor at another older IIT said, “We have our faith in QS rankings (another education survey), but THE rankings have become highly questionable.”
The ministry, however, believes the institutes needed to introspect.
“The older institutes have lost out in the rankings because of the per-teacher productivity method that THE follows. Suppose you have 100 publications and 10 teachers, the per-teacher productivity is 10… If an institute has 500 publications and 250 teachers, the per-teacher productivity then becomes two, which is where the older IITs are falling behind,” a senior official in the HRD ministry said.
“What the institutions need to do is look at the parameters and improve themselves,” the official added.
The official said every ranking system had its own methodology and they cannot compel them to change it.
“This metric of per-teacher productivity that THE follows is after certain discussions with experts, this is something that QS does not follow and we cannot ask them to change the methodology,” he added.
This report has been corrected to reflect that IITs have so far only informally communicated with the HRD ministry and are planning to approach the government with a formal complaint later.