The World-Class University Discourse: Disentangling the Conflict Between Efficiency and World Class-Ness

  • Aishna Sharma


The discourse of world class universities has very recently swept the Indian higher education policy, a concept which has been burgeoning globally for quite some time now. A world-class university is the one which is held to be amongst the best in the world; it is ideally premised on academic freedom and displays high-quality output. What underlies this quest for achieving world-class status is competitiveness amongst the universities, inside the country and also with universities globally. There is always a comparison between universities and thus the ranking discourse is rendered legitimacy.

The paper tries to address two related and consecutive objectives. The first is to understand the concept (and nature) of competition as would ensue between universities in applying for world-class status. The competition would exclude many universities not well equipped. With competition being restricted to only a few universities, the second objective would be to look at what kind of efficient practices pertaining to dynamic efficiency, internal efficiency and allocative efficiency would possibly take place, as the potential universities compete. The paper concludes by highlighting the contradiction between the pursuit of efficiency and academic freedom on the one hand and quality on the other, the two crucial pillars for a university to emerge as world class.


World-class university Competition Efficiency Academic freedom 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aishna Sharma
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Economics and Public PolicySchool of Management and Entrepreneurship, Shiv Nadar UniversityNoidaIndia

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