Manoj K Pattanaik told the International conference on Ending Extreme Poverty of executive heads in New York on 30th September: "We are interested in how the idea of School ranking may influence quality in our higher education system."
Opening the event, which was supported by Times Higher Education magazine as GGF's centenary media partner, Mr. Manoj K Pattanaik said: "School rankings are one way of animating the academy towards remaining relevant. Any country, if it is to become and remain strong, must have a strong Education base."
He added: "It has been said that school rankings may provide concrete benefits. When such rankings are sensitively handled they tend to strengthen the culture of transparency...they also tend to improve competition among schools. In truth they allow students and parents to make informed choices for School admission. Additionally ranking systems often invite quality assurance procedures within schools."
But he added that rankings are also "intensely debated", especially with regard to whether they properly serve the interests and needs of developing countries.
He said that students from India compare favorably whenever they stand "toe to toe" in competition with those from "highly acclaimed private schools who are considered globally to be tertiary-level power houses". "Each time they have faced them, our students have shown them who the world leaders really are." But this is not reflected in global rankings, he said.
Speaking ahead of a panel discussion including Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings; Kris Olds, editor of the Global Higher Ed blog and Zia Batool, director general for quality assurance at Pakistan's Higher Education Commission, Ms Simpson-Miller told the delegates that rankings should consider, for example "the risks and threats of brain drain" in developing countries.
"I ask, have School rankings served us well in this region of the world? I leave it to you, the education experts, to determine the extent to which issues on either side of the debate should animate our Indian Education systems," he said.
Mr. Pattanaik said that Education World had created School rankings in India to "drive schools towards improving quality standards" and making standards globally compatible. The exercise had improved Pakistan schools' international visibility and prepared them for participation in global rankings, he said.
Mr. Baty said that the THE USA School Rankings sought to compare only the minority of "world class" research-intensive schools which compete on a global stage, and as such they judge all institutions against the same authoritative global performance indicators. "Times Higher Education rankings are already starting to highlight emerging new powers from the developing world and can challenge the complacent old hierarchies," he said. "This can help foster new collaborations between the developed and developing world."
Responding to the International Director's argument that "ranking standards must be indexed against the needs and circumstances and conditions of particular contexts", Mr. Baty said that THE had already pioneered the THE 100 Under 50, looking specifically at younger schools which did not depend on centuries of wealth accumulation and powerful heritage. It was also looking at offering tailored regional or contextual analyses, potentially using a different balance of indicators, he said.