Prez pulls up varsities for failing to enter top 200 bracket

Prez pulls up varsities for failing to enter top 200 bracket

President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday pulled up the country’s universities for their failure in making it to the list of world’s top 200 higher educational institutions, saying it was due to their “casual approach” towards international rankings.

“Is it possible to become a world power without a single world class university? In two reputed international rankings of universities, there is not a single entry from India against the top 200 places. I refuse to believe that despite having the second largest higher education system in the world, with over 700 universities and 36,000 colleges, we do not have even one truly outstanding institution. The fault lies in our casual approach. The rankings process should be taken seriously,” he said.

The President was addressing students and faculty of country’s higher educational institutions through video conferencing from the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He asked the universities to take “concrete action” to present their credentials before the international ranking agencies.

“Institutions must set up nodal authorities to handle data coordination. A high rank can boost the morale of the academic community and open greater avenues of growth and placement for students. It can help attract the best faculty from India and abroad and provide a benchmark for continuous quality enhancement,” he said.

The President noted that “some of the IITs” have developed expertise in dealing with the ratings process, suggesting these premier technical institutes could act as “knowledge partners” to other institutions.

“As a result of concerted efforts, India today has nine institutions in top 50 in the BRICS region, with the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, at the 5th position. I hope the success in the BRICS rating will extend to other international ratings,” he added.

The President also expressed dismay at the absence of eco-system for “cutting-edge research” in higher educational institutes, noting that the research in “most institutes” was marked by a “certain degree of neglect.”

“This general apathy is reflected in some indicators. India has 160 researchers in R&D per one million people compared to 710 in Brazil and 1,020 in China. In high technology exports also, India does not fare well,” he noted.

“Our universities and engineering and research institutions must take up this challenge and make India a hub for technology-based products. They must build a research culture and promote research activity at all levels,” he added.
Mukherjee said academic institutes in India must develop partnerships with reputed international institutions.

“To make learning more effective, teaching pedagogy must be refined, curricula up-dated regularly, an inter-disciplinary approach adopted and evaluation mechanism reformed. They must identify core competencies and nurture centres of excellence,” he added.

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