Pakistani print and electronic media, is proudly reporting that Quaid-e-Azam University has been ranked 69th in world in "Engineering and Technology" category. Complete story can be found on APP's website.
They deserve appraise for such an outstanding achievement but wait a minute, does it make complete sense. How could a university make such a huge progress to appear in top 100 world universities all of a sudden. On a positive note, we must find out how they did it and implement the same model for other universities as well.
As I came to read that QAU ranked for the Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical and Manufacturing category, the first thing I did was to ask two sane and sound looking engineers sitting around me to confirm if they knew whether QAU conducted Mechanical Engineering or any other Engineering course at all. Blank faces... :-(. You see them so often around, blank faces.
I checked on QAU's website and bad luck again, may be reflecting my poor googling skills. Nothing there in Engineering category. On a side note, you may agree that the beta version of new website looks definitely a lot cool and professional than the old one.
Intrigued, I thought may be I can spare some time to see the actual source of the ranking. 2011 QS World University Rankings by Subject - Engineering & Technology Rankings. The first and only thing I got after a pressing Cntrl-F and looking for Pak was what I looked for. QS rankings seem to confirm what we claim.
However, in the first place, the ranking never says exact rank sixty-nine, it's just 51-100 category. However, if you keep counting the rows from 50 onwards on that page, you reach rank 69 for sure.
Let's look at the top of the page to see how universities are ranked. Their are three criteria listed. Academic, Employer Ranking and Research Citations. MIT is at top and it scores 100, 84.9 and 61.3 in individual categories for an overall score of 83.9.
But QAU's score are bit strange. 2.4 in academics, 5.2 in Employer and 92.8 in Research. You can do the rest of maths. It ain't that hard. However, the overall score is not mentioned at the QS website.
A 92.8 score is incredibly high. It means we are probably ahead of all the universities in the world in mechanical engineering research. Rice University scores 89.1 and Harvard 84.1 for citations.
HEC says QAU is at top in its ranking with 544 indexed journal publications. I could not find how many papers MIT or Cambridge have published in same period of time and what is the amount of their citations.
These rankings indicate the university ranks pretty bad in academics. 2.4 out of 100 is not a charming score after all. The only contributing factor to the ranking is the number of publications. A natural question pops up if research and academics have any relationship at all.2.4 in academics and 92.8 in research, does that sound logical and possible.
If I were aware of detailed ranking criteria, may be I had a different picture of the story.
The story was narrated by a close friend about a politician from the raja family of Khan Pur (near Taxila), Pakhtunkhwa. A political leader from their side was bragging about the number of primary schools in Pakhtunkhwa. Someone asked him, why he does not support the case for institutions of higher education in his area. The response was classical and accurately portrays the mindset of our politicians.
In his words,
"Jeray Primary pass ho janday nay, oh ta sanun salam nae kar k janday, jeray 10 par laysan... O te lazmi saday ser ech jootian marsan"
"Those who pass primary, they don't even say salam to us. If they pass 10th grade also, they will, for sure, throw shoes at us."
And indeed that is what happened with these people. HEC, did not surrendered to the illegal demands of our corrupt politicians and exposed their fake degrees.
The reciprocal response seems pretty natural. Similar has been happening to whosoever in our country attempts to expose such cases of corruption and foul play.