Times Higher Education (THE) World Reputation Rankings 2016 are out. And once again, not a single Indian university has made it to the top 200 list.
The fact that India's famed Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are a no-show on the list should not come as a surprise. The engineering colleges, that are notorious for their low acceptance rates - have often lagged behind in the global rankings for a variety of reasons.
Most IITs need to improve their international presence by focusing on research and increasing the reach of their courses abroad. They also need to focus on Indian universities participation in global projects.
Soon after the THE rankings were declared, Smriti Irani, Minister of Human Resource and Development, told Parliament during Question Hour, "There is a proposal to establish a regulatory architecture to enable ten public and ten private institutions to emerge as world-class teaching and research institutions."
The minister said the government has not yet allocated any funds for the proposal but will provide adequate support to assist 10 public institutions, reported PTI.
The lure of the IITs
Despite the dismal performance of top engineering colleges, there is a massive pressure for engineering aspirants to crack the JEE. The acceptance rate for Harvard University is around 5 - 6 per cent while that of IIT is just 2 per cent. It should be noted that Harvard University has been consistently topping world rankings for the best varsity in the world.
"In India, students go to IITs only to get better jobs after graduation," said a parent who did not wish to be named.
Richa Singh, IIT Guwahati alumna and founder of YourDost, a counselling and emotional support platform, said, "One of the most common question we receive from students is about placements after completing IIT course."
Thousands of students leave their homes every year, travelling to engineering preparation heavens Kota and Hyderabad. According to a recent IIT Bombay freshman survey, 95.9 per cent freshers took coaching to crack Joint Entrance Examination (JEE).
"More than 50 per cent of participants felt burnt out after preparing for JEE," says Shreeyesh Sreekumar, cheif-editor of IIT Bombay's student magazine, Insight.
About 26 per cent of respondents needed mental counselling to help them sail through a difficult two year period.
And then there the countless stories about JEE aspirants who end their lives over mental pressure. Five JEE aspirants have already committed suicide this year alone.
Is it worth ending your live over an institute that doesn't even rank among the best institutes in the world?
The answer is No. Life doesn't begin or end with IIT.
There are several avenues one should explore before taking any drastic step.
Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2016: Top 20
Here's a quick look at the top 20 universities which managed to rank high:
1. Harvard University, United States of America
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States of America
3. Stanford University, United States of America
4. University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
5. University of Oxford, United Kingdom
6. University of California, Berkeley, United States of America
7. Princeton University, United States of America
8. Yale University, United States of America
9. Columbia University, United States of America
10. California Institute of Technology, United States of America
11. University of Chicago, United States of America
12. University of Tokyo, Japan
13. University of California, Los Angeles, United States of America
14. University of Michigan, United States of America
15. Imperial College London, United Kingdom
16. University of Pennsylvania, United States of America
17. Cornell University, United States of America
18. Tsinghua University, China
19. ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, Switzerland
20. University College London, United Kingdom