Top 7 Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) including those at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kharagpur, Roorkee, Guwahati, Kanpur announced that they will boycott the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in 2020 as they are not satisfied with the transparency of the process.
Later IIT-BHU and IIT Mandi also reportedly joined the other seven IITs in boycotting Times Higher Education rankings. IIT Mandi, also said that it was not participating in the THE rankings but said that it had not taken part in these exercises, whether conducted by the THE or QS rankings in the previous years as well.
The IITs said they doubt the transparency of the THE rankings. IIT Mandi Director Timothy Gonsalves confirmed his institute was not participating in the THE or QS rankings. According to officials, IIT Mandi has been in recent years participating in the National Institutional Research Framework (NIRF) rankings but not in the THE or QS rankings.
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. IIT Delhi director last year had said that “In my humble opinion, institutions become great by positively impacting the ecosystem around it by imparting the highest quality education and training to the students who go through its portals. If Delhi NCR has the highest number of tech startups/Unicorns in India, IIT Delhi has played a role in it. If 14 of the 24 Unicorns created by Indians are by the alumni of one single institution– IIT Delhi, (then) IIT Delhi is surely doing something right.”
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. In the top 300 except Indian Institute of Science (IISc), others are IITs.
In the last edition of the QS World University Ranking, while IIT Bombay was ranked 152, IIT Delhi was 182 and IISc was 184th best in the world. Whereas THE World University Ranking last time placed IIT-Bombay and IIT Delhi in the top 401 to 500 band much below the second generation IIT Ropar which was placed in the 301-350 band along with IISc Bangalore. After top 200 individual ranks, THE places universities in bands.
THE Times Higher Education publishes several multi-country rankings including world university ranking, young university ranking and emerging economies university rankings. In 2019, the IITs started doubting their transparency after none of them find a place among the best 300 universities in the world.