An IIT in top 100 of Impact Rankings, THE says boycott ‘detrimental’

An IIT in top 100 of Impact Rankings, THE says boycott ‘detrimental’
Rajaram Sukumar | Apr 17, 2020 - 10:19 a.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: One Indian Institution of Technology, or IIT, will be ranked in the world top 100 over all in the new THE Impact Rankings to be published next week.

Times Higher Education (THE), which publishes world university rankings in several categories, confirmed this to Careers360 on April 17.

“Next week we publish our pioneering new THE Impact Rankings, measuring universities’ social and economic impact, framed around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and we are delighted to confirm that one IIT will be ranked in the world top 100 overall, alongside several other Indian institutions who perform very highly against individual SDGS,” THE’s head of communications Harry Huskisson said. It will be published on April 22.

This comes a day after seven top IITs decided to boycott THE’s 2021 World University Rankings, which will be released in September 2020.

IIT Bombay, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Madras and Roorkee issued a joint statement on April 16, saying that they have decided not to participate in the THE- World University Rankings 2020.

“These IITs will reconsider their decision next year if Times Higher Education is able to convince them about the parameters and transparency in their ranking process,” the joint statement had said.

THE’s response

Times Higher Education believes the IITs’ decision “would be detrimental to those institutions, and to India as a whole.”

Huskisson said, “If leading universities in a nation with such a proud heritage of scholarly excellence, and with such huge opportunities for economic growth decline to take part in the gold standard rankings, we believe it would be detrimental to those institutions, and to India as a whole.”

As Careers360 has reported, the IITs decided to boycott the ranking, saying they had doubts over the ranking parameters and transparency in the process.

However, THE discounted the IITs’ doubts over the ranking parameters, saying “the core of our business is the open sharing of intelligence and insight on global higher education, to help universities to deliver powerful outcomes for their stakeholders.”

THE also said that they were due to share the data with the Association of Indian Universities at its annual conference last month. However, it was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Our chief data officer visited Delhi in November 2019 to specifically engage with the IITs on our methodology, and in January 2020 our chief knowledge officer held a full one-day forum in Delhi for hundreds of guests, where the rankings data and methodology was front and centre,” the statement from THE said.

THE defended the robustness of its data saying they also hold “face-to-face meetings with institutional leaders across the world.”

“We have a large dedicated team of data scientists on hand to work directly with all the universities in our ranking systems, and indeed we hold regular face-to-face meetings with institutional leaders across the world.”

Why IITs doubt THE ranking

Newspapers attribute a variety of reasons for IITs doubting THE’s ranking parameters and its transparency.

The Livemint reports that “In 2019, the IITs started doubting their transparency after none of them find [s] a place among the best 300 universities in the world.”

“While IIT Bombay had said that they were ranked despite not giving any information, IIT Delhi had said that such rankings were a black box.”

“The top Indian schools doubt also stems from the fact that another World University Ranking by another global agency Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has placed three Indian institutions within top 200, six institutions among top 300 and nine among top 500 best universities in the world,” the Livemint added.

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