The Times Higher Education released the global rankings of institutions in arts and humanities for 2020. It was highly unfortunate to see that not even one Indian university managed to get featured among the top 300 of the best universities of arts and humanities in the world. Only two universities of India, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the University of Delhi (DU) could find a place in the top 500 positions.
This survey was done by the London-based agency and it demonstrates once again that the Indian education system is highly dependent on its technical institutions like the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) for taking the country higher up in the global rankings.
These latest rankings by Times Higher Education were restricted to the subjects of arts and humanities, hence Indian universities failed at finding a place in the top rungs of institutions and those rungs were predictably dominated by the universities of the United States of America. Seven of the top ten positions were occupied by these United States universities.
Stanford University was given the first rank and it was followed by the University of Cambridge on the second position and the University of Oxford on the third. These three, being the oldest institutions from England, were estimated to grab the top ranks as they have performed exceedingly well in all these years and are the most sought after universities in the world. The fourth and fifth positions were given to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard respectively as both of them offer programmes in humanities. These universities rounded off the top five ranks in the world. UCL, which was formerly known as University College London, was given the sixth rank and it was followed by the Princeton University, the University of Chicago, the Yale University, and the University of California.
JNU was given a rank in the bracket of 301 to 400 and DU found a place in the bracket of 401-500. A total of 536 universities were ranked and no other institution of India could get a place. The only silver lining in this scenario is that no Indian university could figure in the rankings in the last two years. The total number of universities to be ranked in the editions of the survey of 2018 and 2019 were 400 and 506 respectively. The number has increased to 536 for the edition of 2020.
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has been striving to improve the global rankings of the universities and institutions of India through its programme of Institutes of Eminence (IoE). This programme would entitle greater autonomy to selected universities, thus allowing them to recruit faculty and admit students from abroad. 10 public institutions are being groomed under the scheme of IoE and JNU is not a part of them.
The surveys have indicated that one of the key parameters on which the institutions of India have faltered consistently in global rankings in the internationalisation of their campuses. In the list of this latest ranking, while Stanford has about 23 per cent international students and Cambridge and Oxford have 37 per cent and 41 per cent respectively, the comparable figure of DU and JNU is only 1 per cent and 4 per cent.
Apart from this, no Asian university appears in the top 20 of the rankings but China has managed to get three of its institutions in the top 100 for the first time. Peking University leads the other Chinese institutions by being on the 23rd position. Eight universities of Asia have been ranked in the top 100 positions globally.