The Banaras Hindu University, the Jamia Millia Islamia University and 10 other Indian institutes of higher education have, for the first time, made it to the list of top-350 varsities in the Asia University Rankings 2018 that Times Higher Education published. With this, 42 Indian institutes now find mention in this list.

“Two of the country’s newcomers made it to the top 200 – the Indian School of Mines at 141st and the Banaras Hindu University at a joint 194th position,” the magazine said.

Phil Baty, the editorial director of global rankings, said that India had improved on “12 of the 13 metrics underlying the rankings”. The top Indian universities on the list are the Indian Institute of Science (29), Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (44), IIT-Kharagpur (60), IIT-Roorkee (65) and IIT-Kanpur (81).

Asian universities zooming ahead of US, Europe?

The National University of Singapore topped the rankings, followed by Tsinghua University and Peking University, the University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

“The main trend of this year’s THE Asia University Rankings is the continued rise of China,” the magazine said. “The People’s Republic now claims almost one in five places in the rankings and several of its institutions have made strong gains, not least Tsinghua University, which is now the country’s top ranked institution for the first time in the table’s six-year history.”

At the Asia Universities Summit that was held at the city of Shenzhen in China’s Guangdong province, experts said that the global balance of power in higher education is shifting towards Asia, Times Higher Education reported. Western countries risk falling further behind if they erect barriers to freedom of movement, they warned.

“How can a country [the United States] that [turns] less than 4% of its graduates into engineers be competing as an innovation leader?” asked Professor Subra Suresh, the newly appointed president of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.

Stuart Coleridge, the Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, said people need to get over the idea that education institutes in the United Kingdom or western Europe are a norm reference for the rest of the world. “Asia prompts all sorts of interesting questions for Europe,” he said.

Professor Coleridge said open borders enrich universities and help them grow. “If you have a protectionist university system like India, you pay a penalty.”