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Indian HE has potential to be world class – QS

Reforms for Indian higher education set out in the National Education Policy are to be lauded, but the country’s institutions have “work to do” to be world class, the head of global higher education think-tank QS has said.

Prime minister Modi said he had a "productive meeting" with the QS CEO in October. Photo: narendramodi/ twitter

Malaysia is also improving the quality and recognition of its universities, particularly for the Islamic world

QS CEO Nunzio Quacquarelli met prime minister of India Narendra Modi in October, where the pair discussed the education strategy, first announced in 2020.

Prime minister Modi was “personally very involved” in developing the strategy in 2020, and it is a “really ambitious plan for change in India”, Quacquarelli said.

Speaking with The PIE, Quacquarelli praised the idea of creating more world class universities, with multi-disciplinary universities across the whole of India measured against global standards.

Aims to internationalise its international higher education framework and become a destination for international students from emerging markets, in addition to raising quality standards so that all Indians have access to good education, are also commendable, he suggested.

“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.”

With 200 employees in India, QS has operated in India for many years, Quacquarelli noted.

“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.”

The Asia University Rankings – launched on November 2 – saw Chinese universities reach new heights, QS has said.

“QS also has a big footprint in India”

“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.

Singapore University and Nanyang Technological University – both located in the city state – were placed first and fourth, respectively, with China’s Peking University moving up to second place, a “dramatic performance”, climbing five places from last 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 emphasised.

While China is becoming a “centre of excellence” and looks to attract inter-regional international students, as well as from Africa, Malaysia is also improving the quality and recognition of its universities, particularly for the Islamic world, the QS head said.

“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.”

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