Tuesday, April 15, 2014

India-specific Times Higher Education indicators soon

The Times Higher Education Ranking Agency of the UK, which grades higher educational institutions globally, has agreed to draw up an India specific indicator that would help global education stakeholders and international students to judge Indian educational institutions. 

In a written reply in Rajya Sabha on Monday, minister of state for HRD Shashi Tharoor said international rankings were perceived to be of significance in enhancing global mobility of students and teachers and in attracting funding. Owing to this perceived significance, a committee constituted by the standing council of IITs held meetings with the Times Higher Education (THE) Ranking Agency and the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Ranking Agency on the matter of ranking IITs. The Times Ranking Agency also held a workshop in May 2013 where universities and technical institutions, including IITs and National Institutes of Technology (NITs), were invited. 

The HRD ministry has been stressing that parameters to judge institutions in the US and the UK cannot be applied on India since the nature of higher educational institutions were different. For instance, IITs are judged independently and Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University have to compete with US and British universities. 

"Whereas American universities teach everything from humanities and engineering to medical science, Indian universities have not been able to become one-stop centres of learning. Therefore, we lose out in the ranking," a ministry official said. 

Tharoor told Rajya Sabha that the government was continuously striving to improve the quality of higher education in the country by legislative initiatives as well as through schemes and programmes. The National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010, which aims to make accreditation mandatory for all higher educational institutions in order to ensure an independent quality assurance mechanism, was introduced in Parliament on May 3, 2010. 

Tharoor also said that to facilitate dedicated universities as hubs for research, the Universities for Research and Innovation Bill, 2012 was introduced in Lok Sabha on May 21, 2012. Cluster innovation centres and design innovation centers have also been initiated in the university system to promote interdisciplinary research and innovation, he said. 

HRD ministry has also asked all IITs, NITs and central universities to appoint a nodal person to coordinate with Times Higher Education to develop India specific parameters

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