The National Education Policy reforms for Indian higher education are to be applauded, but the country’s institutions still have “work to do” to be world-class, according to the Director of Global Higher Education Think-Tank QS.
In October, QS CEO Nunzio Quacquarelli met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the meeting the two reviewed the education agenda, which was first unveiled in 2020. PM Modi was “personally highly involved” in formulating the 2020 strategy, which Quacquarelli described as a “very ambitious blueprint for change in India.”
Quacquarelli commended the notion of developing more world-class universities which can be competitive in terms of the standards with the world’s best universities. The aim is to raise the quality standard of the education system so that all Indians have access to a good education and to globalize its international higher education structure and become a destination for students from emerging markets and other foreign countries.
“What came across in the meeting is that Prime Minister Modi is genuinely committed to those goals, genuinely committed to raising education standards for all Indians. And I found that inspiring.”
According to Quacquarelli, the Think-Tank QS has been operating in India for many years with around 200 people. “QS also has a big footprint in India, we are kind of an Anglo-Indian company,” he said. “It was a great honour to have the chance to meet him (PM Modi).”
According to QS, the Asia University Rankings, which were released on November 2, saw Chinese universities achieve unprecedented heights. “There is no doubt that in Asia, you’ve got clusters of universities that are really beginning to motor and perform above the level of many of the Western counterparts,” Quacquarelli told The PIE News.
The first and the fourth position were bagged by Singapore University and Nanyang Technological University, both are located in the city-state. The Peking University of China secured the second position, a substantial increase in the position climbing five places from the previous year.
“Over 50 universities have increased their positions in the Asian areas rankings from China. So 40% of the Chinese universities we rated have actually improved their position this year,” Quacquarelli stated.
While China strives to become a “hub of excellence” and lure inter-regional international students, as well as students from Africa, Malaysia is also working to improve the standard and credibility of its universities, especially for the Islamic world, according to the QS chief. “India is at a perhaps less mature stage of development,” he said.
Some 35 universities improved their position in the Asian University Rankings. “But they’ve got that sort of cadre of AIIMS, IITs NITs IIMs that are strong and have the potential to be world-class. But there’s still a lot of work for them to do. So, India is not quite there yet, but you can see there’s an interest and commitment.”