India’s most admired government universities

EducationWorld May 2022 | Cover Story Magazine

In EWIHER 2022-23, government universities are ranked in nine separate categories — multidisciplinary, law and humanities, natural and life sciences (including medical), engineering and technology, all-women, agriculture etc. This segregation eliminates apples with oranges type comparisons, writes Summiya Yasmeen 

India’s public higher education system comprises 16 deemed-to-be, 54 Central and 444 state government universities. Among them, 16 elite government varsities conferred deemed university status for teaching and research excellence by the Delhi-based University Grants Commission (UGC) are top-ranked followed by well-funded Central universities and good, bad and ugly state government universities. Together, these 624 public universities educate over 32 percent of India’s 37.4 million students in higher education.

Though over the past quinquennium, the country’s new genre private universities — which have multiplied from 276 in 2015-16 to 403 in 2021-22 — are giving stiff competition to the once highly prized public universities, the latter continue to dominate the Indian higher education ecosystem. Especially given that the 444 state government universities affiliate over 40,000 undergraduate colleges countrywide, prescribing their academic syllabuses, sanctioning new study programmes, conducting examinations and awarding degrees. Moreover, with government institutions offering highly subsidised higher education, they are more affordable and preferred over relatively pricey private universities by the great majority of the country’s 260 million households.

Although the annual EducationWorld India Higher Education Rankings (EWIHER) initiated in 2013, were initially restricted to assessing private universities, in 2020 separate league tables rating and ranking the country’s best reputed Central and state varsities were introduced. This year, in keeping with our commitment to continuously improve and refine the EWIHER, we have further sub-divided the broad category of government (and private) universities according to their domain specialisation. Therefore in EWIHER 2022-23, government universities are ranked in nine separate categories — multidisciplinary, law and humanities, natural and life sciences (including medical), engineering and technology, all-women, agriculture, physical sciences and sports, maths and research. This segregation eliminates apples with oranges type comparisons and makes it easier for school-leaving students and graduates to select universities best suited to their aptitude and academic aspirations.

To conduct the EW India Government University Rankings 2022-23, the highly-reputed Delhi-based market research and opinion polls company Centre for Forecasting & Research Pvt. Ltd (C fore, estb.2000) interviewed 4,105 sample respondents comprising 2,236 faculty, 1,047 final year students of 163 universities, and 882 industry representatives in 25 cities countrywide.

These respondents were persuaded to award public universities of whom they have sufficient knowledge, scores of 1-300 on ten parameters of higher education excellence, viz, faculty competence, faculty welfare development, research and innovation, curriculum and pedagogy (digital readiness), industry interface, placements, infrastructure, internationalism, leadership/governance and range and diversity of study programmes. Higher weightage is given to the critical parameters of faculty competence (150), research and innovation (300) and infrastructure (150).
EWIHER ranks 161 government universities in nine categories with the multidisciplinary institutions league table being the most competitive and populous.

India’s best government multi-disciplinary universities

Higher education institutions offering multidisciplinary programmes are popular with students as they provide a wide range of study programmes across numerous faculties including arts, humanities, science, commerce, management, engineering and technology, etc, and offer opportunity for inter-disciplinary study. Therefore, it’s not surprising that the lengthiest league table in EWIHER 2022-23 is of government multidisciplinary universities.

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