India's struggle to break into the list of world's top 100 universities continued as the higher education institutions from the country yet again failed to impress academics across the world. Harvard University in the US has yet again topped the annual Times Higher Education (THE) magazine's 2014 'World Reputation Rankings' released.
Harvard is followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University is placed third, the University of Cambridge at fourth, the University of Oxford comes fifth and the University of California, Berkeley sixth.
The list, based on the largest invitation-only survey of senior academics, saw conspicuous absence of Indian varsities.
"India is the only one of the so-called BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India and China] nations those large, exciting developing economic powers which does not have a university in the world top 100. Mainland China has two, both in the top 50, Russia and Brazil have one each - this should be a cause for concern for India," Phil Baty, editor of the rankings, told PTI.
"While we only officially rank the world's top 100 institutions, I can reveal that India is some way off the pace roughly around the 200th position," he added.
Panjab University, alma mater of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, found a place in the unranked section of 226-300. It is followed by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Roorkee, which languish in the lowest grade of 351-400.
"Strong universities that can compete on a world stage are essential to India's future success. It is encouraging however that the 12th [Five Year] plan is dedicated to raising quality in higher education has perhaps suffered after years of very dramatic expansion of higher education places, but the new focus on raising standards is very welcome," he explained.
THE said it has been working closely with the India to help it monitor progress and share best practices. It has highlighted a series of factors that could help improve India's ratings, including increased investment which ensures that the best faculty is attracted to a university.
"There is no simple, single recipe for success when it comes to improving reputation, but these are several factors that are bound to help," the editor said.
The survey attracted 58,117 responses from more than 150 countries in four annual rounds. The 2014 results are based on 10,536 responses from published senior academics who reported an average of 18 years of working in higher education.