• 13 December 2011
  • News
  • By Shrikanth G

India's Top Engineering Colleges 2011 (DQ-CMR Top T-Schools Survey 2011)


Free Report :

Download the DQ-CMR Top T School Report here




Free Report :

Download the DQ-CMR Top T School Report here




Free Report :

Download the DQ-CMR Top T School Report here



Knowledge itself is powerFrancis Bacon

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True to this saying, Indias next logical evolution to a global superpower (from the much clichd Asian tiger reference) lies in our ability to groom further home grown technology talent that should be truly global in nature. Clearly knowledge is the single most potent weapon India must leverage to become an economic superpower. But one needs to go beyond the rhetoric and must frequently do a due diligence on the state of our technology education delivery and make amends for its improvement. That is the Dataquest-CMR Top T-School Surveys key intention. Into its 7th year, this years survey findings have their usual share of surprises and pointers.

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Over the years we have received our share of bouquets and brickbats; we have considered the macro landscapecomprising thousands of technology schools present across the country. Our intention is to present some of the best T-schools in the country, IITs and non-IITs chosen through an elaborate process of selecting, short listing and ranking. In the end the institutes scores on various parameters that decide the top spots. Also, why include the IITs individually? Well, a convincing answer for that lies in the fact that though IITs are a collective intellectual ecosystem, each IIT has its share of unique differentiators and hence the need to rank them as separate entities from a ranking perspective, to foster healthy competition.

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ParametersUp Close

Overall, looking at the top 10 listings there was quite a bit of change. As we look at the Ivy League of Top 5, the top 4 places go to the IITs with the exception of IIIT Hyderabad holding on to its #5 position. But it is interesting to note that while IIT Bombay retained its #1 position, tough competition ensued between the IITs of Delhi, Chennai, and Kharagpur and the outcomes altered the Top 5 ranking composition with IIT Madras making an impressive climb to #2 position. In fact it was a tight rope finish by IIT Bombay whose overall HR perception score helped it clinch the top spot, which IIT Madras missed by a whisker.

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Both IIT Bombay and IIT Madras rightful stature in the survey is due to the pioneering efforts they have been doing all these years, thats yielding fruits y-o-y. Be it initiatives like alumni funding in which IIT Bombay tops. For instance IIT-B has launched a dedicated online donations portal for better reach as well as transfer of funds easier from donors abroad. In terms of research and industry-institute collaboration IITB plays an aggressive role. For instance it is working on country specific unique research initiatives together with the industry and one good instance here is its collaboration with IBM for an Open Collaboration Research (OCR) project with the Industrial Design Center (IDC) at the institute.


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This unique research collaboration focuses on the development of new designs for mobile device interfaces that can easily be used by people who are semiliterate or illiterate, as well as individuals who have limited or no access to information technology. Ultimately through this collaboration the core focus is on developing simple, inexpensive mobile phone user interfaces for everyone, regardless of geography or education level, aims to introduce new levels of ease-of-use to mobile phone interaction via developed software technology that will be made available to the public through open source. Meanwhile IIT Madras also has excellent industry academia collaborations.

Looking at the individual parameters, Infrastructure is one sweet spot for IIT Bombay and in the Top 5, IITs rule in these parameters with the only exception being NIT Rourkela at #5. Meanwhile NITK-Surathkal topped in the Industry Interface. In terms of Academic Environment, IIT Kharagpur took the honors and made it to the top spot followed by IIT Madras, Delhi, and Bombay. On academic environment as we look at the non-IITs the top ones were Institute of Technology BHU, NIT Rourkela, IIIT Hyderabad, Dehradun Institute of Technology and BITS Pilani. Looking at the results on academic environment with bulk of institutes being IITs in the Top 5, the other non-IITs need to work on this front more to give at least stiff competition to the IITs.

Monitoring for Quality

Of late the quality of engineering education is subject to much debate including the quality of faculty, as well as graduating students. Experts suggest that the mushrooming of engineering colleges though a sign of supply to cater the demand but often times the availability of infrastructure, academic output and quality of faculty asking for more quality. Moreover the quality of students from these new and emerging engineering colleges which comes in all names with strong regional political affinities need to be closely monitored for quality and their overall academic credentials and their industry accreditations need to be taken into consideration.

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Putting this perspective many industry bodies have from time to time looked at the employability of overall engineering graduates (mostly non-IITs) which estimates suggest is as low as 25%. Clearly education reform experts argue that engineering schools need to engage in more empirical curriculum with strong orientation towards current job and demand dynamics and try and arrive at a judicious blend of theory and practice with string emphasis on soft skills as well. This many experts feel will significantly improve the employability quotient of graduating engineers across disciplines and will bring more parity and even bridge the knowledge divide between IITs, NITs and other privately funded engineering institutions.

In the recent times even IITs and its entrance test systemthe JEE has come in for debate and scrutiny. Some of the experts argue that the JEE candidate selection process has become so outdated and one needs more innovative testing processes that can test the candidates real engineering IQ rather than theoretical aspect of things. With the mushrooming of IIT coaching center experts are asking for ground-up engineering education reforms in the country. Many feel the JEE system has become too old and predictable and hence many candidates preparing for the IITs adopt the mugging theoretical concepts method and by taking so much mock tests they clear the final real JEE. While these candidates are top scorers in both school and in IIT JEE the question is how much extempore knowledge they have on certain theoretical concepts and their orientation towards hardcore engineering. Recently former Infosys chief Narayana Murthy, pondered over the quality of students at IITs right now and the need for improvement when compared to global technology schools in the US.

While quality of students is one issue raised by some in the industry in IITs and other engineering schools in the country, a more important debate is on the quality of the faculty as well. It might be recalled earlier this year Union Minister Jairam Ramesh openly criticised the quality of faculty in IITs and IIMs. But from the IITs perspective, the institutes do not seem to be unduly perturbed by all these criticisms and continue to do their work. But experts feel that the debate on improving the quality must be seriously taken in the right spirit and that attitude will ultimately benefit the whole IIT and overall engineering education system in the country and further its quality benchmarks.

The Placement Edge

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Getting back into the survey findings and as we look at parameters like placements there were some upsets. IIT Bombay vacated its #1 position (previous year) to IIIT, Hyderabad this year but managed to occupy the #2 position. According to IIT Mumbais placement report it says, Amongst positive vibes about economic recovery and increased hiring, IIT Bombay entered its placement season with high expectations in 2010-11. Around 250 organizations participated in the campus placement and over 950 jobs have been offered through on-campus and pre-placement offers. Students from Bachelor of Technology (BTech), Master of Science (MSc), Dual Degree (DD), Master of Technology (MTech), Master of Design (MDes), Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programs in various fields of engineering, science and technology, and design participated in the placement process.

Its indeed an impressive climb by IIT Madras which zipped forward to #3 position compared to #11 the previous year. Interestingly none of the IITs surveyed made it to the number one spot and moreover in the Top 5 on placements there were only 2 IITs and 3 non-IITs (apart from IIIT, Hyderabad the others were PES Institute of Technology (PESIT) and Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology). This shows that other institutes apart from the IITs are fast catching up on the placements and attracting some of the best and big names in the industry. Instances like PESIT entering inside Top 5 shows the changing landscape and the recruiters attitudinal change in going for different caliber of institutes apart from the IITs. The prominent exits out of top 10 this year were ones like Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information Communication, IIT Guwahati, and NIT Karnataka Surathkal.


Free Report :

Download the DQ-CMR Top T School Report here

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Emphasis on Research

This is one area India needs to foster more output of global standards. Also this is one area where experts call for rapid and well rounded reforms that can usher in the motivation and deepen opportunities for higher learning and research across disciplines. For instance the initiatives like the Higher Education and Research Bill, 2010 drafted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has set the stage for much needed reforms in space but it needs to be implemented fast and it is expected to be passed by end of this year. The proposed higher education bill will provide for the determination, co-ordination, maintenance of standards in, and promotion of higher education and research, including university education, technical and professional education other than agricultural and medical education, and for that purpose, to establish the National Commission for Higher Education and Research.

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The bill also proposes to further to promote the autonomy of higher educational institutions for the free pursuit of knowledge and innovation, and for facilitating access, inclusion and opportunities to all, and providing for comprehensive and holistic growth of higher education and research in a competitive global environment through reforms and renovation; and to provide for an advisory mechanism of eminent peers in academia. While cutting edge research on various fields happens across IITs, with the higher education bill one expects the other non-IITs can also speed up their research initiatives.

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Looking at this years survey outcomes on the research side, only 56% of the surveyed sample institutions offered PhD degrees and this component has to go up significantly for higher research activities. But yet again it also puts into focus the academic environment and infrastructure which are the two key elements for candidates pursuing research. For instance even in IITs a bulk of them moves out after their bachelors to MS programs abroad, mainly the US. So the challenge for IITs despite having the best of everything is to retain its own graduating students to opt for PG and PhD within the IIT system. But for non-IITs with the exceptions like BITS and some NITs the overall infrastructure relating to research activities need to be increased. One needs focussed collaborations and speciality labs that can attract candidates who can feel more secured once they see a career path post their research completion.

A closer look at data on this front this year shows a silver lining. For instance the average number of PhD intake saw an increase and in tandem the average number of research papers also increased. For the non-IITs it can source some learning form the IITs model of higher research. For instance IIT Madras in addition to providing academic and departmental research programs, it has also initiated interdisciplinary research projects across 16 domains cutting across environmental technologies to IT. Also to foster more practical application of the research skills institutes must go on aggressively with Industrial Consultancy. In the case of IIT Madras, it provides for faculty and staff of the institute to undertake specific assignments for the industry, which include project design, testing and evaluation or even training in new areas of industrial development. Industries and organizations involved in the industrial development request IIT faculty to take up specific assignments channelled through the Center for Industrial Consultancy and sponsored Research (ICSR).


Free Report :

Download the DQ-CMR Top T School Report here




Methodology

How We Ranked the T-Schools
(The methodology of the Dataquest-CMR Best Tech School Survey 2011)

Background
Dataquest compiled the seventh Dataquest-CMR survey scorecard on the best T-schools in the country on the basis of a methodology and calculations vetted by research firm CMR.

Research Objective
The aim of this survey was to determine the top Technology Schools (BE, BTech, or similar level graduate technical course) in the country and rank them on a list of parameters important for both students and recruiters.

Research Methodology
The Dataquest-CMR survey was done in 2 phases.
Phase 1Desk Research: In this phase, the CMR team so as to identify the list of 300 Tech Schools did an exhaustive desk research and leading 40 companies who would be invited to be a part of the survey. We screened colleges established post 2004 and the ones which were not offering a BE, BTech, or similar level graduate technical courses.
Phase 2: The Tech Schools and the IT companies shortlisted in Phase 1 were approached by CMR team. For the Tech Schools both email responses and face-to-face interviews with the college representative (preferably the placement coordinator) were considered. HR heads of the leading companies were contacted over email to include the recruiter perception in the survey. The data was compiled on the basis of 2-year objective data (academic years 2009-10 and 2010-11) provided by institutes and perception scores of the recruiters.

The Ranking
The research team from CMR carried out the validation exercise. The objective scores were obtained by evaluating the T-schools against the following parameters:
Dot Placements
Dot Infrastructure
Dot Academic Environment
Dot Industry Interface
The weights were distributed as: Placements (40%), Infrastructure (10%), Intellectual Capital (20%), and Industry Interface (5%). The total weightage assigned to objective data was 75%.
These parameters were further categorized into sub parameters. This was done in the following manner.

Placements
Dot Percentage of students placed in all type of companies
Dot Percentage of students placed in IT companies
Dot Number of companies visiting campus in all type of companies per student
Dot Number of IT companies visiting campus per student
Dot Maximum Salary- Per Annum
Dot Average salary of all type of companies- Per Annum
Dot Average salary of IT companies- Per Annum

Infrastructure
DotComputer to student ratio
DotPercentage of computers connected to internet
DotPercentage of students that can be accommodated in hostel
DotInternet access in hostel
DotPercentage of P IV/latest configuration computers
DotInternet access in computer labs
DotBatch strength for PG Course in engineering disciplines
Dot Availability of Digital/Network in-campus library

Academic Environment
DotFaculty/Student ratio
DotPercentage of permanent faculty
DotPercentage of Permanent Faculty with PhD
Dot Number of Patents obtained by the institute
Dot Batch strength of PhD course in engineering discipline
Dot Percentage of students passed with first division in BE/BTech Degree
Dot Average number of research papers in 2009-10 and 2010-11

Industry Interface
Dot Number of MoU signed by the industry
Dot Average number of assignments in 2009-10 and 2010-11 for organizations
Dot Affiliation or linkages with international institute/education body

Perception Score: The perception survey of recruiters was conducted through another questionnaire. Recruiters were asked to rate importance of various aspects while deciding which Tech School to visit for campus recruitments on a 5-point scale. Recruiters were also welcome to add any parameter of their choice. They were given a list of institutes which they had to rate on a 10-point scale. The overall weightage given to the recruiters response was 25.
The composite score, which is the total of the objective data score and the recruiters perception score, was used to arrive at the final ranking.

Analysis Methodology :All the absolute data provided by the institutions were normalized and converted to relative data to evaluate the relative distance among the institutes across different parameters. After normalization the data had been multiplied with respective weights of each parameter and then the total objective score out of 75 was calculated. Similarly from the HRs perception, the total score out of 25 was calculated only for those institutes that received some marks from the HR professionals otherwise the HR portion was kept blank. These 2 scores were then added up and composite score was calculated out of 100. The whole data was then arranged in descending order and we finally got the top institutes across India.

Reasons for Change in Rank : Every year, we experience few reshuffling of ranks every year mainly due to the reason that this survey is based on hard facts rather than perception only. As a result, the total score of a particular institute gets modified and altered every year.

Validation Process : The CMR research team did all the data validation exercise. We had asked for few documents from the institutes like list of companies visited in the campus, number of students recruited by each one of them and the salary offered to the students, placement brochure, institute prospectus, companies for whom consulting/industrial assignment has been done, name of journal where research paper has been published, and official copy of semester results. Apart from these we had also validated the data from various secondary sources. Especially the placement data have been validated from the data provided by the various companies who generally visit campuses
for placements.


Free Report :

Download the DQ-CMR Top T School Report here




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So clearly institutes must attract more R&D jobs. If we take IIT-Bs last placement season, its placement report says that with the economy increasingly striving for high-end products and services, a larger number of companies now strive to develop products on the forefront of technology. IIT-B saw an increase in organizations hiring fresh graduates in the R&D sector. This sector had been steadily growing for the past few years and this year IIT-B saw some premier job offers in this sector. A total of 16 R&D organizations offered around 70 positions this year.

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Compensation Matters

While attracting top notch companies for the campus recruitment drive is a matter of great prestige but when it comes to compensation there exists a gap in terms of what is offered between the IITs and non-IITs. Specifically if we compare IITs with NIT, the former takes the trophy with average annual salary ranging in the `7 lakh while NITs managed to get around an average salary of `5 lakh annually.

Industry Interface

This parameter is increasingly becoming a USP for non-IITs which are walking the extra mile to forge closer ties with the industry. For instance NITK Surathkal took the #1 spot in this parameter and other names like Faculty of Science and Technology, ICFAI University and Harcourt Butler Technological Institute signify the growing clout these institutes have on Industry Interface. Experts believe that closer ties the institutes forge with the industry will augur well for them as they can leverage the industrys expertise in many ways and increase the opportunities for the students.

Outlook

At the end of the day, looking back at the survey findings some are on expected lines and some findings point to the new and changing equations. For instance as the debate on delivering quality technology education gets louder, even IITs are not spared in those debate and it applies to all. Moreover if we look at some of the key parameters like placement and industry interface, one can see shifts happening there and names like IIIT, Hyderabad which topped in placements and NITK Surathkal which topped in Industry Interface certainly drives home the stiff competition emerging for IITs from these fronts. The good news is such competition will usher in new benchmarks on quality and open up new development platforms. With pointers like these one hopes that the overall quality of technology education in the country will leapfrog in the years to come.

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