The latest edition of the QS World University Ranking, released late on Tuesday night, heralds a significant achievement for the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mumbai. It has secured its highest ever position, ascending into the top 150 universities globally. This achievement is especially notable as it is the first time in eight years that an Indian academic institution has penetrated the top 150 list. The last institution to reach this milestone was the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, which achieved a rank of 147 back in 2016.
In this year's edition of the rankings, IIT Bombay has achieved an outstanding feat, soaring 23 places to claim the 149th position globally. Nonetheless, there have been noteworthy shifts in the list, as IISc experienced a substantial drop, tumbling 70 places from the 155th rank to the 225th. This year, it occupies the third position among Indian institutions, a change from being the top-ranked Indian institution the previous year. Similarly, IIT Delhi fell from 174 to 197, IIT Kanpur from 264 to 278 and IIT Madras from 250 to 285, among others.
The UK-based ranking firm, QS Quacquarelli Symonds, has partly ascribed these fluctuations to an overhaul of the evaluation criteria this year. It has incorporated three fresh indicators - sustainability, employment outcomes, and international research network, with each bearing a significance of 5 per cent. In order to incorporate the three new indicators, QS recalibrated the significance of other existing parameters. The weight of the academic reputation indicator has been reduced from 40 per cent to 30%. Likewise, the focus on the faculty-student ratio has been decreased from 15% to 10%. Meanwhile, the importance ascribed to the employer reputation indicator has seen a rise, increasing from 10% to 15%.
The lowered focus on the faculty-student ratio (FSR) has adversely affected institutions like IISC, which predominantly concentrate on research and thus have a lesser teaching burden compared to the IITs. IISc's performance on the FSR indicator had been commendable in the past. Unfortunately, due to a decrease in its weightage, its overall ranking has been adversely affected. Nevertheless, according to a spokesperson from QS, the organization responsible for the rankings, it is important to note that the decreased weightage on FSR is not the sole factor that contributed to IISc's decline in rankings.
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