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Panjab University beats IITs in global rankings

Although no Indian institution of higher learning is yet to make it to the top 200 in the Times Higher Education’s (THE) World University Rankings list 2013-14, one new entrant — Panjab University— is closer to that elite group. Panjab University is the highest ranked Indian institution clubbed in the group of universities ranked between 226-250 ranks.

According to THE, this is India’s best performance so far with five institutions making it to the top 400. The other Indian institutions featuring in the list are four Indian Institutes of Technology from Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Roorkee, all clubbed in the group of institutions between 351-400.

Meanwhile, the California Institute of Technology retains its place at the top of the rankings for the third consecutive year, while Harvard University regaining the second place (up from fourth in 2012-13), a position shared with the UK’s University of Oxford. Stanford University slips from joint second to fourth.

According to THE, the improved engagement by India in the word-renowned rankings has seen it add three new entrants to the world top 400 list. The increased representation for India in the rankings follows a two-day National Policy Dialogue in May on international rankings, when THE representatives were invited to meet with senior university leaders by the ministry of human resources development and Planning Commission.

At the meeting in New Delhi, Ashok Thakur, secretary of the department of higher Education, said that Indian institutions must no longer hide behind the “excuse” that the global rankings metrics and indicators are not well suited for India’s institutions. “We must play the same game as the rest of the world is playing,” he said.

Of the five Indian institutions in top 400, three are new entrants which include Punjab University, IIT-Delhi and IIT-Kanpur. They join IIT-Kharagpur, which slips from the 226-250 group into the 351-400 group and IIT-Roorkee, which remains in the 351-400 group.

Phil Baty, editor of the THE World University Rankings, said: “These results should be encouraging for India. While no Indian institution makes the top 200, one player new to the rankings, Panjab University, is close in the 226-250 group. Moreover, India now has five representatives in the top 400 – a sign of growing commitment to the global rankings.”

While the US remained the dominant force in the rankings with 77 institutions in the top 200, UK is second with 31 institutions, followed by the Netherlands with 12 institutions. The highlight of the new rankings is that Europe has fared badly this year. While the UK’s number one, Oxford, holds on to second place in the table, almost across the board the continent’s top institutions lose ground: ETH Zurich — Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, the world number one outside the US and the UK, slips two places to 14; Germany’s University of Munich falls out of the top 50; and it is a similar tale of woe for Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland and Austria.

Among the Asian countries Japan has the highest number of universities in the list — five. South Korea, Singapore and China have also made gains. Peking University in China moved up one place to 45th, and Tsinghua University, rose two places to joint 50th.Japan’s University of Tokyo maintains its status as Asia’s number one and moves up four places to 23rd. The National University of Singapore holds on to second in the region, moving from 29 to 26 and overtaking Australia’s University of Melbourne in the process.

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