Universities in Maharashtra, except IIT Bombay, Mumbai University, and Symbiosis International, saw a fall in their positions in the prestigious QS World University Rankings: Asia 2024 list released on Wednesday.
Savitribai Phule Pune University saw a slight fall from the 207th position to 210 this year. SPPU is now ranked 20th among Indian universities, four positions lower than it was in the QS World rankings released in June this year.
Symbiosis International (deemed university) was the only one, apart from Mumbai University, that saw a better rank than last time. Symbiosis jumped from the 351-400 rank bracket to the 261-270 bracket.
Director of Symbiosis School of Liberal Arts explained some factors that contributed to this improvement. “Across the university, we have focused on research output, student perception and industry connect. Supporting students with research writing, internships and collaborative research projects by faculty have been taken up in a big way. Making classes less didactic and more experiential-learning oriented have helped improve student perception and bring a focus on teaching outcomes.”
Among other universities in Maharashtra, the Institute of Chemical Technology, Marathwada, in Jalna was previously at the 227th position and is now in the 251-260 bracket. Shivaji University of Kolhapur fell from the 501-550 bracket last year to the 601-650 bracket this year. Kavayitri Bahinabai Chaudhari North Maharashtra University of Jalgaon also fell from the 551-600 bracket to 651-700.
SVKM’s Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (deemed to be university) is ranked 801+ whereas in 2023, it was in the 651-700 bracket. Bharati Vidyapeeth (deemed to be) university was earlier in the 701-750 rank bracket and did not feature in the list this year.
“Over the last couple of years, the government of Maharashtra has not given adequate attention to improving the quality of education,” said educationist and former vice chancellor of SPPU Wasudeo Gade. “Things have not gotten to the point where they are irredeemable but immediate special attention should be given to this as this is an alarming situation,” he said.
Gade explained, “For any international rankings, research output and teaching quality are very important. We need research-minded faculty, who have the space and resources to make research proposals and conduct national-level high quality research with the help of junior research fellow scholars. With senior faculty retiring, we see that often junior faculty are hired to take care of the immediate teaching load but this does not help the research aspect.”
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The former SPPU vice-chancellor said the quality of PhD theses in universities of the state is deteriorating alarmingly. “There are many PhD theses every year, but they are often repetitive and of substandard quality. The number of good quality research projects in the state is negligible,” said Gade.
Meanwhile, IIT Bombay has maintained its 40th rank with only a minor change in its score from 68.7 last year to 67.2 in this year’s list. According to a statement by QS, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) retains its status as the premier institution in the country.
”IIT Bombay leads nationally in both academic and employer reputation indicators…it ranks within the top 20 Asian institutions for employer reputation,” said a statement by QS.