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Why is there not a single Indian university within the world's top 100 index list?




Abhishek Singh, Just Wondering !

Short answer would be our very own Education System .

Lets Break It down :

Since the time of British Rule , We have only escalated the number of institutions offering Higher education (IITs,IIMs etc .) , but didn't focus on the quality of it .

At the same time students scoring marks has increased like anything (many of my friends have nothing less than 90% ) . All are running the rat race to attain the highest possible number of marks .

Once there was a time wherein everyone out there wanted to become a civil servant, only a few who were really interested pursued their dream.

Now we are running pretty much the same way , but now the name of marathon has changed to "Becoming an Engineer" . No one studies for the sake of knowledge but for the sake of attaining a degree/a job.

That was the backdrop , the reasons of not having world class universities are many , to mention a few  :








1.No Academic Freedom: Here in India we don't have that trend of "Be what you wanna be" . You can't pursue what you wish to , but you pursue what you are asked to . The institutions in the west have a really flexible curriculum. And that is what makes them better than us .

2.No Research facility : This is where we have the major problem . We have a very less focus on research,which is because of a less qualified faculty (Compare faculties from our universities and the Nobel laureates . we can't ), infrastructure , equipment's .

3.Innovation: In my view foreign universities (i mean their students ) featuring in the global top 100 are Creative , Innovative , have an out of the box thinking . This Innovation comes from the above mentioned points , when we have an academic freedom and an outstanding research facility and flexible environment to apply our thoughts .

We focus more getting jobs , they create jobs . Majority of students here , think of getting into Microsoft ,While the students there create Facebook , YouTube . That's being Innovative !




我们更关注就业,他们创造就业。这里的大多数学生,都想进入微软,而那里的学生创建Facebook, YouTube。这就是创新!

4.Funding : Another major issue is that our Indian universities are far less funded than the west. The top 5-6 universities  of west combined have a budget which is more than our education budget .

5.Top Management : The selection of the top management in our univesities is much more political than on merit or expertise .



Although there has been an improvement in our education system in the last decade (but i think that's very much little , and its nothing to rejoice about ! ).

What can be the solution : I think we are very much talented and can make wonders happen (which is why we see many Indians acquiring top roles in prestigious universities , companies & institutions ) , but only talent is not enough . It has to be exploited , Top universities like Harvard , CMU exploit there students . How ? By having World Class Professors and Institutions .

The Government needs to expand its thinking and fund more research institutions rather than rolling out shitty schemes like MNREGA etc .

We need to build a community, a generation of researchers and innovators to compete with best institutions around the world .

And I think this will definitely improve our ranking .







Kunal Rahar, studied at Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani - Pilani Campus

We have the IITs, law universities, medical universities, the IIMs, the IISERs and so on, each for a specialised field. We do not have comprehensive universities such as Stanford, Harvard, Tsinghua or NUS. Our older universities focus on the arts and sciences.


1.Headcounts of the international students enrolled for degree programmes and the foreign faculty on the university rolls are considered important measures of internationalisation. The benefits of diversity on a campus are undisputed, but regulations do not allow foreign students to study in our premier institutes. We have to decide as a country whether we are willing to pay the price for it in terms of seats lost to Indians and the payout of globally competitive salaries to faculty.

2.Collaborative research and development with the space, defence and nuclear energy sectors, and industry in general. The IITs also routinely provide the government expertise on technologically challenging projects. This is not counted to rank the universities.

3.The IITs have also created the world’s largest free online repository of engineering courses. This is of no relevance to the ranking agencies, nor is the strong commitment of the IITs to affirmative action by bringing in the socially and economically backward students to the mainstream teaching.

4.With the pay structure of UGC, we can't get foreign faculty to teach here who may be good at few subjects. So this restraints the pool of good faculty which has to be indigenously procured.





So you see, we are not that worse off either. Just that the ranking parameters are biased towards the west.And yes we are slowly improving upon the above mentioned factors too and very soon we would be one among the best, just like we were once in the history with Taxila and Nalanda and Puspagiri.



Shashank Kumar, CS Undergrad, IIT Roorkee, 2009-13

If the colleges would be judged only on its quality of students, IITs might be in par with most world class engineering colleges. IITians are making a difference all over the world.

There are a lot of parameters on which an engineering college is evaluated to get overall rating. Most important ones are infrastructure, faculty, research, teaching, placements.

Infrastructure: IITs have a decent infrastructure but not a world class one. A simple example is we used to get wrong results in electronic practicals because of faults in machines.

Faculty - frankly most of professors just don't know how to teach or they lack enough knowledge.

Research - the quality of research done by faculty is poor. They are more concerned with publishing more number of research papers in any conference than a good research paper.

Teaching - already discussed.







Balaji Viswanathan, Indian by Birth. Indian by Thought.

  1. Lies, Darn Lies and Rankings

As soon as I saw that Iowa State University and Indiana Univerisity ranked way above any of the top Indian institutes, I was curious to see the methodology [1]. 

1.They ignore any institution that does not have enough undergraduates. That means institutions such as IIMs, ISB IISc and IISERs are out of contention.

2.How "international" the campuses are. Given various impediments, our universities don't admit a lot of overseas students.

3.How much research income the university receives. We don't have a big culture of research grants and corporate funding for research. US universities get copious grants from NSF, NIH, DoD, etc apart from corporations such as Google, GE, IBM and Fedex.

4.Volume of citations and research volume. This is 60% of the score. Unlike the Universities in US and Europe with all academic disciplines, India emphasizes more on the specialized institutions built around a single theme such as technology, management, sciences or medicine. That means the volume of research will be small, given that each of our institutions are way smaller in terms of staff & students. For instance, IIT Kanpur has about 5000 students, compared to Iowa state university's 32000. When it comes to faculty, the ratio could be close to 1:10.

  1. 谎言,该死的谎言和排名






The next time you see rankings published for anything, take it with a lot of salt. They are all manipulated.

That said, although the rankings overstates the problem, we do have a problem of education quality.



  1. Problems with Indian Institutions
  • Lack of endowment culture: In the US and Europe, alumni give back to their university in the form of grants, donations and sometimes their entire property after death (if they are a loner). This money is harvested in hedge funds, startups and other investment avenues make it constantly grow. Harvard alone has $32 Billion in its endowments [2]. Stanford has about $16 billion, Yale about $19 billion. This money funds new infrastructure, research and faculty. In contrast, entire expenditure on higher education in India by the government is about $3 billion/year and all expenses on all education is about $10 billion [3].
  • Top Indian institutions are young. Almost all reputed universities in the UK and US are over a century old. Oxford was founded in 1167 AD, Cambridge in 1209, Harvard in 1636, Yale in 1701, etc. That means they have an accumulated benefit of centuries of wisdom, alumni, infrastructure and international reputation. It takes time to build your name and alumni. India's top institutions are only decades old (first IIT came in 1951).
  • Focus on professional education. India's top priority when it comes to higher education is to educate enough of engineers, doctors and managers. This is because we need enough nation builders given our state of the economy. At this stage of development (with a per-capita income hovering around $1200/person/year) it is wise to put your money on educating professionals than research (can be a super-expensive game in many fields that needs a bigger chunk of our meager budget). Indian educated students are a core part of the research elsewhere and they could be the conduits of tech transfer in the future.
  • Poor school education. I have taught/graded undergrads as a TA for 4 semesters in my gradschool. Given a better schooling system, the undergrads in good US universities come better prepared and get better resources through TAs. Indian institutions often get unprepared students from our poorer schools and it takes a lot of effort for our professors to make many of our undergrads realize the importance of computing.
  • Poor payment to faculty. In India, being a professor is not that attractive a job. A good software engineer could earn 4X of what a faculty at IIT earns. Given the poor payment and horrible politics, people tend to assume that you had no other option before you joined as a faculty. This self-fulfilling vicious cycle provides us poor faculty (both in payments and quality) although I know of plenty of really committed faculty who are stand out.


  • 缺乏资助文化:在美国和欧洲,校友在死后会以赠款、捐赠或者有时甚至捐出他们的全部财产(如果他们没有亲友)的形式回馈大学。这些资金来自对冲基金、初创公司和其他投资渠道,不断增长。仅哈佛就有320亿美元的捐赠资金。斯坦福大学大约有160亿美元,耶鲁大学大约有190亿美元。这些资金用于资助新的基础设施、研究和教职员工。相比之下,印度政府在高等教育方面的全部支出仅为每年30亿美元,所有教育方面的所有支出约为100亿美元[3]。
  • 印度的顶级学府还很年轻。英国和美国几乎所有著名的大学都有一个世纪以上的历史。牛津创建于公元1167年,剑桥创建于1209年,哈佛创建于1636年,耶鲁创建于1701年,这意味着他们已经积累了数百年的智慧、校友、基础设施和国际声誉。学校名声和校友资源的建立需要时间的累积。印度的顶尖机构只有几十年的历史(第一个研究所诞生于1951年)。
  • 专注于专业教育。印度高等教育的首要任务是培养足够的工程师、医生和管理人员。这是因为考虑到我们的经济形势,我们需要足够的国家建设者。在这个发展阶段(人均收入徘徊在1200美元/人/年左右),明智的做法是把你的钱花在培养专业人士上,而不是研究上(对我们微薄预算中许多有更多资金需求的领域,那可能是一个太过昂贵的游戏)。在印度受过教育的学生是其他地区研究的核心,他们可能就是未来技术交流的渠道。
  • 学校教育质量不佳。我作为助教在我的母校教了4个学期的本科生。美国一流大学拥有更好的教育系统,他们的本科生可以做好更充分的准备,通过助教获得更好的资源。印度的教育机构经常从我们一般的院校招收一般的学生,我们的教授们需要付出很多努力才能让我们的许多本科生认识到计算机的重要性。
  • 教师的收入太低。在印度,大学教授并不是一份有吸引力的工作。一个优秀的软件工程师可以挣到一个研究所教师4倍的收入。因为报酬太低,政治环境也很糟糕,人们往往认为你是别无选择才会成为一名教师。这种自我实现的恶性循环为我们提供了差劲的教师,尽管我知道有很多真正一心教学的教师一直在坚持。



Anonymous because I don't want my teachers to read this and black mark me.

Background: An engineering student in a good college (comes in top 50 or 100 depending upon rankings. Not IIT, NIT) affiliated to a good university in India

Because no one does their work properly.




1.Teachers don't teach properly. They project something on the board, blabber something, take attendance and go away. Frankly, there are 2–3 teachers who teach properly per department. I don't know why teachers can't teach. In my college, teachers are paid a very high salary and have only 1 or 2 courses to teach per semester. They have plenty of holidays and additional vacation. Still they don't teach. I don't know why. I hate the attendance criteria. Why are we forced to attend stupid classes when we can read the same from textbooks?

2.University examinations - The syllabus is so huge and everything in the world is included in one syllabus. Nil practical knowledge. Lab exams are a cakewalk. Maximum grade is awarded to most students in labs. Project mark depends upon how well you flatter the staff. Then comes the local author books full of low quality content and rubbish from which most of us study. Examination time table is stretched for a month which further gets postponed. Vacations cut short. Paper evaluation is a joke. I still don't understand how I can get a C for an exam I wrote well and a B for an exam in which I made many mistakes. Getting internship is easy if you have influential relatives.

So at the end of all this, students lose interest. No research takes place. Nothing is contributed towards technology. Most students in my class are writing GRE and CAT. I too want to get out of this stupid country. Being a female, parents have issues with that too. I can get married and go it seems. Thanks for the trust!





Nishant Koul, A mouse in the rat race.

They make the best employees. Not the best engineers by a long shot.

To be a good employee, you need to know your profession just enough to be able to get the job done, but not well enough to be actually be able to innovate or come up with an original idea.

The entire program at IIT is focussed towards making you an authority-loving person, who would do anything the authority-figures want them to do, even with unreasonable deadlines. Those are the kind of people which employers love to hire and those are the people who are rewarded in this system.

Why do you think employers look for a good GPA while hiring ? It's a measure of how much shit you can put up with without complaining.





All our role models in IIT are people who get great jobs, rather than people who do great research or people who tread off the beaten path and start their own venture.

Every first year knows that their dream is to get into Schlumberger and Barcap, even when they don't know the first thing about them.

Till the time we start respecting and rewarding individuality, rather than churning out conformist students trying to do their best in the rat race, we will continue to ship out a whole bunch of cheap skilled labour to the rest of the world, and be known just for that.






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