New Delhi: Four Chinese universities figure in the list of the world's best 50 educational institutions, even as India's sole representative in the top 200 -- IIT Bombay -- has slipped 24 places from its 2009 position. The University of Cambridge has replaced Harvard as the world's best university in the prestigious QS World University Rankings, 2010, published in London yesterday. Six of the top 10 universities in the world are American, the other four are in the UK. The US and UK share positions 1 through 17 among themselves. The QS rankings, earlier published in collaboration with Times Higher Education, are an annual ranking of the top 500 universities in the world, based on an academic reputation index, employer reputation index, institution inclusion, and research among other criteria. Among Asian countries, Japan has 10 universities in the top 200; China and Korea have six and five respectively. India has one -- IIT Bombay at No. 187, down from No. 163 in 2009. IIT Guwahati has crashed 100 places from No. 401 to No. 501, University of Delhi is down 80 places from 291 to 371, IIT Delhi is down 21 from 181 to 202, and IIT Kanpur is down 12 from 237 to 249. The Universities of Mumbai and Pune are in the 450-500 bracket, comparable to Tehran. In contrast, three of the four Chinese universities in the top 50 have improved their positions since last year. At No. 23, the University of Hong Kong is up one place, and on top of the Asian pile. The Chinese University of Hong Kong is up to 42 from 46, and Peking University is up to 47 from 52. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is at No. 40, down from No. 35 last year. Beijing's Tsinghua University is the fifth Chinese institution in the top 100, coming in at No. 54. Martin Ince, convener of the Academic Advisory Board for the QS World University Rankings, said that the poor performance by the IITs apart, "the real story is the very modest showing of all other Indian higher education in our rankings". "Delhi University scores well in our assessment of academic and employer opinion but very poorly on our other measures -- faculty/student ratio, citations, international staff, international students," Ince wrote in an email to The Indian Express. "This is a very modest performance for the flagship university of a very significant nation... Note too that many universities around the world are investing heavily and want to be prominent in this and other rankings. So universities need to improve just to stand still." IIT Guwahati director, Prof Gautam Barua, expressed surprise and disappointment over the steep fall in the institute's rank and said he would examine the issue. IIT Kanpur director Sanjay G Dhande, however, said that wide disparities in the budgetary structures of Indian and Western institutions -- even though faculty and student profiles may be comparable -- make it unfair to measure them by the same yardstick. Indian government policymakers argue that international ranking criteria are based largely on western models and do not take into account several other indicators. The University Grants Commission is in fact, in the process of developing its own ranking system based on "Indian indicators of performance". Ince, however, argued that "the much more prominent position of Chinese universities than Indian ones proves that we are not simply being nice to western institutions". He added, "In fact, India's tradition of the English language ought to give it a big advantage over China in world higher education, but we do not see this effect at work." HRD Minister Kapil Sibal, though, struck an optimistic note. "In the next ten years several of our institutes will be among the top 100 in international rankings. Without commenting on the merits and demerits of these rankings, with the reform in education systems, we should see more Indian institutes figuring on them. It should also be thought what should be adopted as a global criteria... not necessary it has to be western-style", Sibal told The Indian Express.