The Office of Rankings, Benchmarking and Institutional Transformation (ORBIT), and International Institute for Higher Education Research and Capacity Building (IIHEd) jointly organised a conference on ‘Promoting a Culture of Excellence in Universities: Role of Rankings & Benchmarking’ from 18 – 19 November 2018 at the JGU campus. Professor (Dr.) Khaled Assaleh, Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs, Ajman University, UAE; Professor (Dr.) Ihron Rensburg, Visiting Professor, King’s College London & Former Vice Chancellor University of Johannesburg, South Africa; and Professor (Dr.) Pankaj Mittal, Additional Secretary, University Grants Commission, Delhi attended the event as guests of honour.
The two-day conference began with a welcome address by JGU Vice Chancellor, Professor (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar followed by several sessions on a variety of topics related to rankings, benchmarking, institutional excellence, sustainability and higher education scenario in BRICS countries.
Concept Note In the public discourse on future of higher education in India, there has been a growing emphasis on promoting quality and excellence of global standards in Indian Universities. This need becomes more pertinent in the light of India’s inability to figure in the list of top global universities by various world university rankings. As a country of billions, India education system constantly faces an increasing demand for higher education by its young population. While catering to the educational demand of young population is the priority of Indian universities and higher education institution (HEI), providing high quality education is being the foremost responsibility of them. This has necessitated HEIs to improve their institutional standards and strive towards excellence. In this context, rankings and data benchmarking have arguably emerged as a tool for improving their performance. Data Benchmarking is an ongoing, systematic process used for measuring and comparing the work processes of one organization to those of another, by bringing an external focus to internal activities, functions, or operations (Kempner 1993). It highlights the problem areas and the potential for improvement, providing an incentive to change, and assists in setting targets and formulating plans and strategies (Meade, 1994). Rankings and benchmarking not only become tools to assess their performance but also instruments to push them to improve themselves.
Today, we stand at an important juncture of change, where each of us being a part of this service have a responsibility to drive that higher level of excellence. We have some important milestones to meet- Balancing an increase in education outreach with improved quality; Achieving excellence through means of benchmarking by adoption of industrial best practices, and through higher world rankings which place Indian universities on the global education frontier; And finally channelizing this excellence into achieving not just growth in economy, but also into making a social impact to see India evolve into a developed nation. As ranking and benchmarking as indicators of the quality of Institutional quality have caught the popular imagination of the governments, policymakers, academicians, students and other stakeholders, this has demanded a scholarly deliberation on the perceived role of data benchmarking in promoting the culture of excellence in universities. In this view O.P. Jindal Global University brings to you a two-day Conference and Networking Arena on Promoting a Culture of Excellence in Universities: Role of Rankings and Benchmarking to be held on 18-19 November 2018.
This conference aims to lead the discussions and deliberations on the roadmap that the universities should follow in order to transform themselves from local “centres of excellence” to global “institutions of eminence”. It also aims to highlight the importance of learning from the efforts and experiences of other countries especially BRICS nations and imbibing their best practices in Indian higher education system. The culture of excellence in universities is further promoted by the high quality research work. Research is not only a natural corollary of high level thinking and creativity, but has a larger and a far-reaching impact as a tool of social transformation. The larger goal of this conference is to sensitize and educate the multiple stakeholders on how the rankings and benchmarking can be channelized to create a culture of excellence that would further contribute in institutional building for nation building. Therefore, a wide range of panel discussions have been planned to cover areas on rankings & benchmarking, impact of research publications in the Indian context, global impact by creating imminence and excellence within BRICS, and use of excellence in education to achieve higher levels of social impact and community engagement.