Although annual enrolments in higher education have grown steadily at 6.3% over the last decade, the GER (Gross Enrolment Ratio is a statistical measure used by the United Nations to measure education index of a nation) in India still stands at 12.4%, way below the global average of 26% and pathetically low when compared to an average of 36.5% for developing countries. Even the Human Development Index for the year 2011 ranked India at 134, one of the lowest among the League of Nations. This clearly indicates that India requires more institutions to address the issue of accessibility, which is only possible if government encourages entrepreneurs to set up private colleges and universities.

The good news is that, according to a recent report (Private Universities in India: An Investment in National Development) by management consulting group Parthenona, private universities in the country have more than doubled in the last six years. While the country had 20 private universities prior to 2005, that figure surged to 107 last year. However, the bad news is that India still ranks one of the lowest in terms of number of universities per population. While US has nearly 2,500 universities for a population of about 313 million, India has a little over 350 universities catering to a population of 1.3 billion. Even Germany and UK have over 350 and 125 universities for a population of 80 million and 60 million respectively. Experts estimate that India needs 1,000 universities more and the higher education enrolment ratio to be increased by 20% in the next 10 years, to meet the challenges of country’s development.

This certainly compels the government to make room for non-governmental educational institutions to shoulder this responsibility while, at the same time, increasing its efforts to strengthen and empower the existing universities. And not just government, even educational institutions need to look inward and at the paradigm shifts happening all over the world. Apart from the fact that we are now looking at an increasingly multi-polar global environment and a shift from a single ideology, it is a foregone conclusion that leaders of tomorrow will need a radically different approach as compared to their predecessors. Hence, it is important for educational institutions to realise that they have a critical role to play in building these leaders, and to understand how they can fulfill their role responsibly, as it also links to their own long-term sustainability. Listed below are the “Power Private Universities” and “India’s 25 Most Promising Engineering Colleges” which are imparting high quality education in India. They are providing a professional learning environment that acts as a catalyst not only for the exponential growth of students, but for the country as well.

The Indian Council for Market Research (ICMR) conducted a perception survey to identify Power Private Universities. The survey was conducted amongst education consultants, industry experts and students. The respondents were asked to name and list a few upcoming universities in the country based on course contents, faculty, infrastructure, affiliations and accreditations awarded to them, brand equity and media visibility. Based on these responses, the final list of 15 Power Private Universities was generated.

Apart from Power Private Universities, a separate perception survey was conducted by ICMR amongst engineering students to identify 25 Most Promising Engineering Colleges. Faculty members of esteemed engineering colleges were also interviewed on the parameters of infrastructure, course content and R&D. An overall sample of 250 respondents were covered using a structured questionnaire through telephonic and email techniques. Then, based on the frequency of responses, a list of the 25 Most Promising Engineering Colleges was generated.