India has made dramatic improvement in an annual Asian universities ranking, with 10 educational institutions figuring in the top 100 list released here today.

The Times Higher Education magazine’s “Asia University Rankings-2014” named India as the most improved nation for increasing its tally from just three in 2013 to 10 this year.

Leading the pack at 32nd position is Chandigarh-based Panjab University, the alma mater of former prime minister Manmohan Singh; followed closely by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur at 45th and the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur at 55th rank respectively.

Six of India’s representatives are IITs, with Delhi and Roorkee jointly occupying 59th place and Guwahati and Madras coming in at 74 and 76th in the pecking order.

Jadavpur University in Kolkata (joint 76th), Aligarh Muslim University (80th) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (90th) are the other Indian universities in the list.

“These prestigious rankings are wonderful news for India.

The country’s increased engagement with the international agenda, particularly its decision to embrace global performance benchmarks and ‘Times Higher Education’s’ rankings, has dramatically improved its representation among Asia’s top 100 universities. It now has 10 institutions up there with the best the continent has to offer,” Phil Baty, editor of ‘THE’ Rankings said.

“A drive to introduce systematic quality assurance and accreditation for the country’s huge range of higher education institutions, plus plans to boost university research, should push it even further. And the election of a majority government raises the prospect of further decisive action in the higher education sphere, cutting through the red tape that has entrammelled previous initiatives,” he added.

Japan came in as the number one Asian nation with 20 representatives led by University of Tokyo occupying the Number One spot but China seems to be catching up fast, with 18 institutions.

In third place is South Korea with 14 institutions, followed by Taiwan with 13 — down from 17 last year.

Hong Kong was classified as a “star performer, particularly given its size” with six representatives in the rankings and all making to the top 50. The University of Hong Kong holds on to third, followed by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (ninth) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (12th).

City-state of Singapore has only two representatives, but both are highly placed: the National University of Singapore (NUS) retains second position, while Nanyang Technological University (NTU) just misses out on the top 10 (holding steady in 11th).

Baty added: “The scale and speed of Asia’s development in higher education and research is staggering, and this prestigious ranking provides invaluable insights into the exciting (and rapidly changing) dynamics of the continent’s top universities.”

“Many Asian institutions are making strong progress in the World University Rankings, but the global list remains dominated by North America and Western Europe — for now, at least. This new table offers us a clearer picture of the Asian institutions poised to mount a serious challenge to the traditional Western elite,” he added.

(This article was published on June 19, 2014)
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