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2021 QS World University rankings

Topics Covered: Issues related to education.

2021 QS World University rankings

What to study?

For Prelims: Ranking indicators, performance of global and Indian institutions.

For Mains: Significance of these rankings, how can India improve rankings?

Context: 17th edition of the QS World University rankings has been released.

What is QS World University rankings?

It is an annual publication of University rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS)- A british company specialising in the analysis of higher education institutions around the world.

Previously, it was called Times Higher Education – QS world University rankings. The name changed since 2010.

It is the only international ranking to have received the approval of International Ranking Expert Group (IREG).

It rates the worlds top 1000 universities.

How are universities ranked?

To rank institutions, QS uses six indicators:

  1. Academic reputation.
  2. Employer reputation.
  3. Faculty/student ratio.
  4. Citations per faculty.
  5. International faculty ratio.
  6. International student ratio.

Top 20 institutions this year:


Performance of Indian Institutions:

  1. Top three from India featured in top 200 and their rankings: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay (172), followed closely by Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore (185), and IIT Delhi (193). However, all three have dropped in their rankings compared to the last year.
  2. In total, 21 Indian higher education institutions have found their place among the world’s top 1,000 (It was 24 last year). Of these 21, 14 have fallen in rank over the past 12 months, while four have improved their position.
  3. Indian higher education institutions perform strongly in research quality, even though they fail to increase their academic standing, teaching capacity, and levels of internationalisation at the same rate as their global competitors.

Reasons for poor performance of Indian institutions:

Indian institutions got zero score on ratio of international faculty and students. India also scored poorly on faculty- student ratio.

This is because India counts only full-time faculty, whereas American universities include even PhD students who are teaching or research assistants.

What should India do now?

The government has already formed a committee on how we can improve the perception of the premier Indian institutes abroad.

The government should now launch a campaign similar to incredible India to change the perception.


Prelims Link:

  1. Name the 6 indicators used to rank institutions.
  2. In which parameter has India scored zero?
  3. Total Indian institutions in top 200 and 1000?
  4. Comparison with 2020 rankings.
  5. When was institutions of eminence scheme launched?
  6. Top 10 institutions worldwide.

Mains Link:

Write a note on institutions of Eminence scheme.

Sources: the Hindu.