QS Ranking 2020: Major Indian Universities Slip As Jindal University Controversially Breaks Into The Ranks

In the latest world ranking of universities published by  Quacquarelli Symonds Limited, several major Indian universities have slipped in ranks, except IIT Kharagpur, IIT Bombay and the University of Delhi. Once again the ranking parameters implemented by QS come into question as the OP Jindal Global University finds a place in the QS World Rank. 

Performance of Indian Universities

IIT Delhi World Rank QS World Rank of IIT Delhi
Source: Skill Outlook

“We should cut down on the expenses in primary education and instead focus on higher education.”, echoed my friend Deepak in one of the many heated debates.

Time and again the budget planning for research in public universities in India has come into question. The Indian government’s overemphasis on the primary education sector and coming up with populist policies to increase the number of Indian Institute of Technologies (IITs) and public universities without reforming the existing institutes are now reflected in the world ranks. 

Key Insights

  • IISc Bangalore dropped to 184 this year compared to 174 in the previous year.
  • IIT Guwahati slipped down by 19 places to 491
  • Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur slips by 8 places to 291 as opposed to #283 in the previous year ranking
  • IIT Madras drops to 271 from 263.
  • IIT Delhi slips down 10 places to finish at #182. However, it still remains in the top 100 world universities for excellence in Computer Science.
  • The major optimism for India is the rise of IIT Kharagpur and IIT Bombay over the years.
  • IIT Kharagpur was ranked 313 in 2017, 295 in 2019 and 281 in the 2020 world rank. 
  • IIT Bombay is the best-ranked university in India ranking #152, up by 10 places from 2019 rankings. It ranks #53 in the world Engineering rankings. 
  • OP Jindal Global University ranking comes as a surprise as the university housing around 17% of international faculty members and not imparting programs in science and engineering, breaks into the world rank in the 10th year of its foundation.
  • Once again all the National Institute of Technologies (NITs) with a sizeable presence of international students has been ignored by QS. It is also possible that the NITs don’t participate in the ranking willingly.
  • Anna University, BITS Pilani, Amrita University, University of Mumbai and the University of Hyderabad continue to feature in the QS rankings without a noticeable change in ranks.
  • Jadavpur University slips by at least 50 ranks.
  • IIT Roorkee scores 13.7/100 in Academic Reputation in 2020 and 19.6/100 in Employer Reputation leading to its poor ranks. These 2 figures put a question mark on the QS ranking as its contemporaries like IIT Bombay and IIT Kharagpur fare better by at least twice on these scores in the QS parameters. But according to the rankings published by National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), the National body evaluating the performance of universities, there is not a very staggering difference between the scores of IIT Roorkee and IIT Kharagpur.
IIT Kharagpur climbs up in QS World Ranking of Universities
Steady rise of IIT Kharagpur, the oldest IIT of the country.

Why The Inclusion of OP Jindal Global University A Shady Affair?

1.Ambiguous Figures

Currently, there are 23 Indian universities in the top 1000 world universities published by QS. Although QS Ranking places the Jindal University in World Rank 751-800, the website also claims that it’s India rank is somewhere between 66-70. This is an ambiguity in itself. Here is a screenshot of the ambiguity surrounding the ranking of Jindal Group.

This is a screenshot from the QS Rankings which shows the Jindal University as one of the 23 Indian universities in the top 1000 world universities. However, it also places it #66-70 in India. 

2.Non-Inclusion in the National Ranking

O.P. Jindal University doesn’t feature in the NIRF rankings of 2019. NIRF is a ranking framework implemented by the Ministry of Human Resource Development to rank Indian universities.

Apparently, O.P. Jindal Global University didn’t take part in the rankings at all. However, its inclusion in the QS rankings proves that other prominent Indian universities like IIT(BHU) Varanasi, IIT Ropar, and NIT Trichy haven’t even been considered for the rankings. 

How can a university which doesn’t feature in National Rankings find a place in the World Ranks?

Naveen Jindal, the Chairman of the university was an ex-Member of Parliament. He took to Twitter to express his happiness. 

3. Academic Reputation Methodology

The pi-chart below shows the parameters implemented by QS rankings.

QS World Ranking Methodology
40% scores on academic reputation, 10% score on employer reputation, international outlook contributes to 10% of the score while the remaining two parameters add to 20% of the total each.

While Academic Reputation forms 40% of the overall score and Employer Reputation forms 10% of the score, QS has failed to reveal its score of OP Jindal Group in these 2 parameters. 

Typically, older universities have an alumni base. The achievements of the alumni account for their academic reputation.  

However, it remains doubtful as to how Jindal University got into the rankings in just 10 years of its establishment without a significant alumni base.  It’s interesting to know that all other universities in the rankings are well over 20 years.

OP Jindal Global University Ranking
Here is a screenshot showing the blank scores of OP Jindal Global University ranking table. This raises eyebrows on the misuse of power and the ranking parameters of QS. 

Read:New Parameters Can Upset World Ranks 


OP Jindal Global University Ranking
Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash

While the secretary of Higher Education in Human Resource Development may be rejoicing the inclusion of 3 Indian universities in top 200 ranks, the fact is that these 3 universities have been there in the list of QS Top 200 for the last few years. So. it’s not a big deal!

The QS Parameters often work negatively for the Indian universities because it doesn’t include ‘Graduate Employability’ in its parameters and evaluating academic reputation qualitatively and not quantitatively. I had written earlier on how ‘QS Rankings Are Biased‘ which has also been proven statistically and published in a peer-reviewed paper

However, I am optimistic about the future ranks of the Indian university after the latest funding from foreign organizations to Indian universities for performing research on space technology and several other collaborations with German universities. Escalating the SWAYAM program, for the development of higher education in Afghanistan and other African countries is likely to give a boost to the international outlook of Indian universities. 

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