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QS World University Rankings: DU Leading Sustainable Institution in India, Followed by 4 IITs

Delhi University (DU) was recognised as the leading sustainable institution in India, securing the 220th spot globally in the QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024, released on Tuesday. While none of the Indian higher education institutions made it to the top 200 of the global rankings, following DU, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay ranked 303 on the scale. This was followed by other IITs including IIT-Madras in the 344th position, IIT-Roorkee at 387th, and IIT-Delhi ranked 426th globally.

According to the global rankings, the University of Toronto, Canada, tops the list. This is followed by the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), in the United States (US) in second position, and the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom (UK) in third spot.

The global rankings evaluate universities across the globe based on social impact, environmental impact, and governance in terms of how these institutions are taking action to tackle the world’s most pressing global challenges.

The QS World University Rankings: Sustainability 2024 features 1,397 institutions across 95 countries and territories, more than double the number featured in last year’s pilot edition.

According to the QS ranking report, the United States (US) is the most represented country or territory, with 209 ranked universities, including one in the world’s top 10, while the United Kingdom (UK) is the second-most featured country, with 93, including two in the top 10. China is the next most-represented location, with 90 universities ranked. No Chinese university places among the top 100.

QS ranked 56 Indian universities, none of which are among the world’s top 100. DU takes the highest rank in 220th globally and 30th highest in Asia. DU ranked the best on environmental sustainability, displaying “excellent commitment to, and implementation of, environmental and climate strategies”, being placed 16th in the rankings’ environmental education indicator, the report stated.

“DU offers world-class education in environmental and climate-related subjects. However, it sees room for improvement in subjects related to positive social impact,” it said. In Asia, only The University of Tokyo performs better in this metric. However, a sharp drop-off sees the next highest-ranked university place outside the top 100.

Besides DU and the IITs, four other universities made it to the top score in the environment sustainability category, with the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) leading at 49th, the 10th-highest in Asia. This is followed by DU (66), IIT-Madras (70), and Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) (81) in this category.

The QS rankings report noted that despite its strength in environmental education, India struggles with environmental research. The IITs dominate this indicator domestically, with IIT-Delhi taking the highest rank at 236th.

“Specifically, IIT-Delhi excels in research related to Sustainable Cities and Communities,” it said.

The report also highlighted that India could look to improve factors related to the QS ‘Good Governance’ indicator, such as ethics, hiring practices, transparency and decision-making. In this metric, two Indian universities are among the world’s top 200, with Manipal Academy of Higher Education and DU placed at 111th and 167th, respectively.

Also, Indian universities face challenges in the QS ‘Equality Indicator’, which assesses staff, faculty, and student diversity, inclusivity, and student support. Manipal Academy of Higher Education is the national leader, placed 463rd. It is the only Indian institution in the world’s top 500 in this category.

According to the report, DU takes India’s highest rank in Knowledge Exchange, QS’s measure of collaboration, resource sharing, and community engagement. It is placed 93rd in this indicator, making it the only Indian university in the top 100.

“Impact of Education assesses academic prowess and educational quality in subjects with the greatest potential to generate positive social impact, such as politics, law and education. India sees room for improvement in this area, with the highest-ranked university, IIT- Kharagpur placing 646th,” the report stated.

It further said that IITs boast the country’s best graduate opportunities and career prospects, with all five of India’s top performers in ‘Employability and Outcomes’ being the IITs. IIT-Bombay is the top performer, at 199th.

Similarly, in ‘Health and Wellbeing’, which analyses relevant research and quality of life for students and staff, IIT-Bombay takes the highest rank, 430th globally.

QS Senior Vice President Ben Sowter said, “India, as one of the world’s largest emitters of carbon dioxide, faces a formidable challenge and shoulders immense responsibility for meeting its commitment to achieve net zero by 2070. In this context, the role of Indian universities is pivotal as they continue to expand in number and improve in quality.”


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