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New Delhi: Leading Indian universities can rank among the best 50 in the world, IIT Delhi director V. Ramgopal Rao has written to his colleagues. Rao, in his letter, has given a six-point diagnosis of the recently released QS World University Ranking, in which IIT Delhi was named the second-best from India with a global ranking of 185, eight positions behind IIT Bombay and one place ahead of IISc-Bangalore.

While giving an analysis of the rankings, IIT-Delhi’s score in the global league table, and what should be done, Rao said one can also “replace IIT Delhi with Bombay or other top institutions from India, and the story remains the same" and the rankings must be seen with a context.

Here is the six-point analysis by director Rao on each of the parameters:

1. Talking about academic reputation, which commands 40% weight in the QS World University Ranking, Rao said “we need to talk about ourselves more and inform public --both in India and abroad-- about our research accomplishments. We simply need to be more visible ourselves. Outreach is important". On a scale of 100, IIT Delhi was awarded 45.9 in the fresh world rankings.

2. IIT Delhi director wrote that in the employer reputation parameter, the institution is doing well. The school has got 70 out of 100 in this ranking indicator that commands 10% weight in the ranking.

3. On faculty-student ratio, Rao said “we simply need to hire more faculty. Finding IIT quality faculty (as our pool is mostly restricted to Indians or people of Indian origin), is a challenge. We can't ramp it up beyond a point. We are highly quality conscious and rightly so. “Also, please note, the older IITs added 2500 additional students in the last two years because of EWS quota implementation. So we took a hit on this for reasons beyond our control".

On faculty-student ratio indicator, IIT Delhi has scored 30.9 out of 100 in the QS Ranking. This indicator has a weight of 20 in the ranking outcome.

4. Citations per faculty: “IIT Delhi a few years ago got a score of 94 on this. But we recruited 200 new faculty in the last 5 years, so our citations per faculty count has come down. Once these new faculty become productive in the system, this should rise again. We are on a strong foundation here," Rao wrote in his letter.

“I also don't know why QS uses citations per faculty rather than citations per paper as a metric. The latter would have been better for fast-growing institutions such as IITs," he asserted. This year, the school has scored 70 on a scale of 100 for this parameter.

5. On international faculty, which has been a traditional weakness for Indian institutions, Rao said “IIT jobs are government jobs. Recruiting international faculty is still riddled with policy issues at all levels. Whatever scores we get, these are mostly because of OCI/PIOs on our faculty. But we need to go global in our faculty hiring. We are trying, but it takes time. It can't be changed overnight".

On international faculty parameter, IIT Delhi has a score of 1.2 on a scale of 100 and is a key segment that pulls down the global ranking of Indian top schools.

6. On international students, director Rao has written that “IITs need to admit more international students. Because of high level of preparation needed for the JEE Adv exam, the doors are almost closed for international students at the undergraduate levels. We are admitting more and more international students at the masters and PhD level. But we can't do this at the cost of scores of Indian students who wish to come to these institutions but denied admission."

“India simply needs to create a lot more high-quality institutions so the pressure on IIT admissions comes down. IIT Delhi has announced 500 PhD Fellowships for international students and also coordinates the national ASEAN PhD Fellowship Programme. Takes time for this. Pandemic has hit us hard here."

To be sure, India continues to have three institutions in the top 200 global list of the QS ranking in the past four editions.

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