After years of gradually creeping up the worldwide charts of higher education, India suffered a small setback in the latest ranking. India's performance in world university rankings has registered a decline, with its share of universities falling from 31 to 30 in the global 1,000 list topped by the University of Oxford and Cambridge, according to latest data released recently. The annual 'World University Rankings' released by 'Times Higher Education' found that India's flagship institution, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), fell from the 201-250 band to 251-300 over the previous year. This drop was attributed largely due to drops in its research influence score and research income. The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) Delhi, Kanpur and Madras also dropped by at least one band. “It is disappointing that India has declined in the 'THE World University Rankings' amid increasing global competition. As leading universities in other Asian territories such as China, Hong Kong and Singapore are consistently rising up the rankings, in part thanks to high and sustained levels of funding, India's flagship the Indian Institute of Science moves further away from the elite top 200,” noted Phil Baty, Editorial Director, Global Rankings, for THE rankings. “However, there is some really positive news in that India's overall research income and research quality has risen this year, and the country's world class university plan shows that it recognises the importance of investing in higher education, which may reverse India's decline in the rankings in future years,” he said. Indian universities performed poorly on the "internationalisation pillar", with all except one dropping places when ranked on this measurement, mainly due to other universities rising at a faster rate. The rankings experts attributed this to the Indian government policy which "strictly limits the number of students from abroad who can study in India and prevents international scholars from being hired into long-term faculty positions". According to THE rankings, India may recover on this metric because of its world-class university plan, which aims to provide additional funding for selected public and private universities for infrastructure and academics. It noted that while the Indian government announced in August that it would put on hold its plan to allow foreign universities to establish campuses and award degrees in the country, it said that the 20 universities chosen for the Excellence Initiative will be given the freedom to recruit foreign faculty, admit more foreign students and collaborate with foreign institutions on education and research. Besides the highest ranked IISc within the 251-300 band, IIT Bombay retains its 351-400 slot, followed by IIT Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Roorkee in the lower bracket of 501-600. Aligarh Muslim University, Banaras Hindu University, University of Delhi and IIT Guwahati complete the Indian top 10 within the worldwide rankings. Globally, the University of Oxford retains first place in the rankings, with the University of Cambridge climbing two
places to second, overtaking California Institute of Technology and Stanford University, both joint third. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard, Princeton, Imperial College London and University of Chicago complete the global top 10. While the United States continues to dominate the rankings, Chinese universities have been commended for rapidly climbing year-on-year. Baty added: “This year's table is testament to just how competitive global higher education has become with the top 1,000universities hailing from 77 different countries. The United States still dominates the rankings with twice as many universities in the top 200 as other leading nations, but the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge do take the top two positions. “The big story this year is the continued rise of China with two institutions in the top 30 for the first time and other improvements from across Asia. Continental Europe maintains its strong performance but other regions such as Latin America and Africa are suffering amid increasing competition.” The 'Times Higher Education World University Rankings' claim to be the only global tables that judge research-intensiveuniversities across core missions: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook using 13 performance indicators. Designed specifically for professional people working in higher education and research, 'THE' magazine was founded in 1971 and has been online since 1995.