Monday, November 22, 2010

No Indian academic Institution in World top 200

Can we redeem our lost Glory !

The recent poor showing and declining standards of our academic Institutions at the Global Uty top 200 rankings is a cause of national shame, worry and concern ..

It was pathetic and very depressing not to find any Indian academic institution in the World top 200 Uty list for year 2010 released by Times Group from London .. ( India does not find place in any of the other less popular Uty rankings too..)

While US tops the list with 72 Institutions and UK with 28, Germany comes third with 16, Netherlands 13, the countries of Canada 9, China, Japan, Switzerland and Sweden with 6 each, Australia 5, France and Taiwan with 4 each, Singapore, South Korea, Hong Kong and Denmark 3 each, Austria, Ireland, Spain, Turkey and Belgium with 2 each, Finland, South Africa, Egypt and Norway with 1 each are the other countries topping the list of top 200.

Even though we claim to have the toughest entrance exam in the world, the JEE, and the brightest people around, claim to inherit a noble and much acclaimed ancestry, we are nowhere in the global rankings.. The fear that naturally comes to anyone's mind is whether this is just the beginning of the decline ??

Our top Institutions of National Importance (INI) like the Indian Institutes of Technology with its many campuses and the Indian Institutes of Management again with many campuses, the Indian Institute of Science and others like IIITs are nowhere in these global rankings. We need to seriously ponder whether the greatness of these Institutions is only due to the high quality of the incoming talent and not the capability of the mediocre "talent processing team", ie. the faculty working there..

In spite of Central Government pouring in large amount of funds to these most favoured Institutions, neglecting other government second rung Institutions and trashing privately managed Institutions, the results are not showing up. Our society which is very reluctant to fix accountability on individuals, it is just another instance of neglect and a carefree attitude of the concerned intelligensia. We have not come across any writing or newspaper report criticising the academic administration of these Institutions for their abysmally poor showing. The media needs to highlight this criminal waste of funds which otherwise could have been used for sprucing elementary education in the country. A self-practiced elitism among the faculty and the student community is the nemesis for these Institutions.

If the quality of these INIs is such abysmally low, the quality of the accreditation standards insisted by them for the second rung and privately held institutions can be anybody's guess. Are these INIs taking the lead in the downward slide of academic standards in our country ?

The Government of India and these INIs is in for a rude shock once privately managed Institutions of the country enter the top 200 list and maintain their world class standards. In spite of the poor showing in these rankings, the sad fact is that only one or two INIs have shown interest in going for International Accreditation or have acquired them, except for some private Institutions who are very advanced in this process.

There is a popular saying, in a land of no-nosed people, the half-nosed is the King !! A serious point worth pondering for our academicians and their administrators !!

Where are we headed to in this race to institutionalise mediocrity and escape accountability ?? Let the Government of India change the Directors of these Institutions and see the difference it can make.

Again this proves the point that it is not funds that can prop up an Institution, but the leadership. Else how can a country like Egypt or South Africa get ahead of India.

Can only private initiatives again save the country in the academic field too, as is happening in other parts of the world and in other sectors of our economy ?? The top 200 University list is no doubt populated with private universities with Harvard topping it for many years !

When India and China are leading the charge in revitalising the global economy, post recession, should our academic institutions, the temples of learning providing for innovation, leadership and managing change, be left far behind ?

George Easaw ( a very concerned alumnus of these institutions..)

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