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QS World Subject Rankings 2021

  • 06 Mar 2021
  • 6 min read

Why in News

25 programmes offered by higher education institutions in India ranked among the top 100 in the world in their respective subject categories, according to the latest edition (11th) of the QS World University Rankings by Subject.

Key Points

  • About the QS World Subject Rankings:
    • Quacquarelli Symonds (QS): It is a leading global career and education network for ambitious professionals looking to further their personal and professional development.
      • QS develops and successfully implements methods of comparative data collection and analysis used to highlight institutions’ strengths.
    • QS World University Rankings: It is an annual publication of university rankings which comprises the global overall and subject rankings.
      • Six parameters and their weightage for the evaluation:
        • Academic Reputation (40%)
        • Employer Reputation (10%)
        • Faculty/Student Ratio (20%)
        • Citations per faculty (20%)
        • International Faculty Ratio (5%)
        • International Student Ratio (5%)
    • QS World University Rankings by Subject: It calculates performance based on four parameters — academic reputation, employer reputation, research impact (citations per paper) and the productivity of an institution’s research faculty.
  • Top Performers:
    • Globally Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT -USA) and Harvard (USA) are among top performers, Russia and China record best-ever performances.
  • India’s Performance:
    • The 2021 QS’s global university performance comparison offered independent data on the performance of 253 programs at 52 Indian higher education institutions, across 51 academic disciplines.
    • The number of Indian universities/institutes in the top 100 subject rankings has increased from 8 to 12 this year.
      • 12 Indian institutions that have made it to the top 100 of the world - IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur, IISC Bangalore, IIT Guwahati, IIM Bangalore, IIM Ahmedabad, JNU, Anna University, University of Delhi and OP Jindal University.
      • IIT-Bombay has cornered more top 100 positions than any other Indian institution.
    • Except one, all the 25 programmes are in institutions run by either the state or union government. However, last year, this number stood at 26.
      • 17 of the 25 globally ranked Indian programmes are in engineering. IIT-Madras’s Petroleum Engineering programme registered the best performance among Indian institutes - 30th in the world.
    • The government-run Institutions of Eminence (IoE) remains significantly better-represented in the rankings than the private ones.
      • OP Jindal Global University has entered the global top-100 for law (76th). This is the only top-100 result achieved by a private IoE.
      • IoE: It is a government's scheme to provide the regulatory architecture for setting up or upgrading of 20 Institutions (10 from public sector and 10 from the private sector) as world-class teaching and research institutions.
    • The All India Institute of Medical Sciences remained the only institution in the top 300 in the area of life sciences and medicine, but also dropped more than 10 places.
  • Analysis:
    • One of the biggest challenges faced by India is providing high-quality tertiary education in the face of exploding demand - this much was recognized by last year’s National Education Policy (NEP), which set the ambitious target of a 50% gross enrolment ratio by 2035.
      • It should therefore be small cause for concern that the number of Indian programs featuring across 51 subject rankings has actually decreased over the last year – from 235 to 233.
      • While this is a minor decrease, it is indicative of the fact that expanding provision in a way that does not sacrifice quality remains a highly-challenging task.
    • A number of programs at India’s privately-run prospective Institutions of Eminence have made progress this year, demonstrating the positive role that well-regulated private provision can have in enhancing India’s higher education sector.
    • India remains at the forefront of global environmental science research. Data indicates that India ranks 5th in terms of its research footprint in this field – behind only Germany, China, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
    • Commonalities between nations that are improving and nations that are not (three factors):
      • First, an international outlook – both in terms of faculty body and research relationships– correlates strongly with improved performance.
      • Second, rising universities have received strong targeted investment from governments over a decade or more– particularly in China, Russia, and Singapore.
      • Third, improving relationships with industry is correlated with better employment, research, and innovation outcomes.

National Institutional Ranking Framework

  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development (now Ministry of Education) established the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) in September 2015.
  • This framework outlines a methodology to rank institutions across the country according to parameters covering: Teaching, Learning and Resources; Research and Professional Practice; Graduation Outcomes; Outreach and Inclusivity; and Perception.

Source: IE

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