US, UK Dominate as Asia Gains in World's Top University Rankings

The latest edition of the world's top universities from The Times Higher Education Supplement (THES) has few surprises in 2009. The top 10 Universities are: Harvard (US), Cambridge (UK), Yale(US), UCL, London (UK), Imperial College, London and Oxford (both UK, joint 5), Chicago (US), Princeton (US), MIT, Massachusetts (US) and California Institute of Technology (US). As always, the top of the list is dominated by American and British Universities this year, together making up about 40% of the entire list of 200. The US universities account for more than a quarter, while the UK institutions make up about 15% of the top 200 universities. Outside of the US and the UK, there is fair representation of Australian, Canadian and European institutions and a smattering of Asian universities from China, Japan, South Korea, India, Singapore and Malaysia.

A US publication, US News & World Report, also published its ranking of the world's top universities in June, this year. USN&WR rankings are not identical but quite similar to the Times list.

The number of Asian universities in the list of top 100 has increased from 14 to 16. The University of Tokyo, at 22, is the highest ranked Asian university, ahead of the University of Hong Kong that stands at 24.

Leading UK universities said institutions in Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong were "snapping at the heels" of western institutions, arguing they need more funding to compete on the global stage.

However, there has been a significant fall in the number of North American universities in the top 100, from 42 in 2008 to 36 this year.

The rankings are based on an international survey of 9,000 academics who assessed the institutions' research facility, teaching quality and ability to recruit staff and students abroad.

"The broad message of these tables is clear - the leading UK research universities are held in high esteem internationally but countries like China and Korea, which are investing massively in their best institutions, are snapping at our heels" Wendy Piatt, director general of the Russell Group of universities said.

Piatt said the UK was less well-funded than its competitors and if public spending cuts hit budgets they would be under increasing pressure.

The entire Muslim world is represented by just one university from Malaysia on the top 200 list. Other Muslim nations including Indonesia, Malaysia, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and UAE are represented by one or more institutions among the top 400 universities listed by the Times of London for 2009. Egypt, the largest Arab nation by population, is conspicuous by its absence from this prestigious list of 400 institutions of higher learning.

Here are some of the key highlights:

1. Among the top 20 universities, including one tied ranking, there are 13 American, 5 British, 1 Australian, 1 Canadian and 1 Swiss on the list.

2. Top Canadian university is McGill in Montreal, at number 18, up from 20 last year. Australian National University and ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) are ranked at 17 and 20 respectively. Another top Canadian University in top 200, University of Toronto, is ranked 29.

3. Top Asian universities are University of Tokyo at 22 (down from 19 last year), followed by University of Hong Kong at 24 (up from 26), National University of Singapore at 30, and Hong Kong University of Technology at 35 (up from 39).

4. Outside of Hong Kong, the top Chinese university is Tsinghua at 49 (up from 56), followed by Peking University at 52 (down from 50).

5. The top Irish university is Trinity College, Dublin, at 43, up from 49.

6. Two campuses of the Indian Institutes of Technology make the list, down from three in 2006. IIT Bombay is ranked 163, up from 174 last year, and IIT Delhi at 181, down from 154 last year. Beyond the top 200, there are four more Indian institutions in the top 400 list. These include IIT Kanpur at 237, IIT Madras at 284, University of Delhi at 291 and IIT Kharagpur at 335.

7. Except for UC Santa Cruz (at 252) and the relatively new campuses at Merced and Riverside (at 285), the rest of the University of California campuses are on the top 200 best universities list. UCLA is at 32, UC Berkeley 39, UC San Diego 76, UC Santa Barbara 106, UC Davis 108, and UC Irvine at 161. On a personal note, it is nice to see both of my daughters' schools, UCLA and UC Berkeley, show up among the top 50 institutions on the list. It is also a consolation to see Rutgers University, where I taught in late 1970s, ranked at 183.

8. Ranked at 181, Universiti of Malaysia is the only institution from a Muslim nation on the list, down from two in 2006. It is a sad commentary on the quality of higher education at universities in Islamic nations that renders them unable to be considered for such prestigious lists. It is not hopeless however. There are several up and coming universities in Islamic nations, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which can move up the list if there is continued focus on excellence in higher education.

9. Beyond the top 200, there are thirteen more universities on the list of top 400 from Muslim nations. At 201, the University of Indonesia just missed the top 200 list. Saudi Arabia's King Saud University is at 247, Indonesia's Universitas Gadjah Mada at 250, Saudi Arabia's King Fahd University at 266, Malaysia's Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia at 291, Malaysia's Universiti Sains Malaysia at 314, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia at 320, Universiti Putra Malaysia at 345, Pakistan's National University of Science and Technology (NUST) at 350 (up from 376), Indonesia's BANDUNG Institute of Technology at 351, Turkey's Bilkent University at 360, Iran's University of Teheran at 386 and UAE's United Arab Emirate University at 374.

Table Courtesy of Two Wobbling Minds:

Related Links:

Times Higher Education Rankings

US News and World Report Rankings

Pakistan Thompson Reuters' Rising Star in Science and Technology

World's Top 600 Universities

Quality of Higher Education in South Asia

Haq's Musings

NEDUET Admissions Prospectus 2009-10

Global Shortage of Quality Labor

Nature Magazine Editorial on Pakistan's Higher Education Reform

India Invites Foreign Colleges to Set Up Indian Campuses

McKinsey Global Institute Report

Pakistan Ranks Among Top Outsourcing Destinations

Pakistan Software Houses Association

World's Top Universities Rankings

Improving Higher Education in Pakistan

Globalization of Engineering Services 2006

Center for European Reform

Reforming Higher Education in Pakistan


Riaz Haq said…
Whys is India not a scientific power, asks an Op Ed in The Hindu:

.....It is the robustness of scientific research and innovation that sets apart great powers from the mediocre ones.

We have good scientists, but why has India not produced outstanding scientists who make path-breaking discoveries that will make the world sit up and take notice? Should we continue to be satisfied with tweaking borrowed technologies? Is reverse engineering an innovative phenomenon?

All debates about scientific research inevitably end up zeroing in on the deficiencies of our educational system as the root cause of the abysmal record in scientific research. This is only part of the story.

A nation's culture — belief systems, values, attitudes — plays a significant role in determining the quality of scientific research. The Oriental attitudes differ from the Occidental values in many respects. Asian societies are basically collectivist, that is, the collective good of society ranks higher than individual happiness and achievements. People do not ask what they can do for their country; they are always asking what the country will do for them. They look up to the state for guidance, leadership and direction. There is no burning individual ambition to excel and achieve something new.

In the West, individuals try to achieve their potential through their own efforts, aided and facilitated by enabling laws and institutions. Self-reliance is the key objective of life. An independent life requires a free and questioning mindset that takes nothing for granted and constantly challenges conventional wisdom. Children are encouraged to push the frontiers of knowledge by self-examination and open-minded enquiry. It is only a sceptical and dissenting mind that often thinks out of the box to explore new vistas of knowledge.

Collectivism promotes conformism and deference to authority whether it is parents, elders, teachers or the government. It is heresy to question established values and customs.

We pass on our passivity and uncritical attitudes to our children. No wonder, the educational system encourages rote learning and unquestioning acceptance of what is taught in the classrooms and stated in the textbooks. How can we expect our children to suddenly develop an enquiring and inquisitive attitude when they have been brought up in a milieu that discourages ‘disruptive' thoughts?

India and China were once advanced nations before foreign rule drained their resources and sapped their willpower and scientific traditions. Cultures tend to become conservative and defensive when subjected to long spells of colonial exploitation.

Indians are great believers in destiny. But our tradition does not frown upon free will and individual excellence. We must realise that our ability for free action remains unhampered despite what destiny may hold in store for us.
Fear of failure

Another flaw in our culture that prevents individual excellence is the fear of failure. The stigma associated with failure makes our children risk-averse while choosing their courses and careers.

Scientific research is a long-drawn war on received wisdom that requires many battles before it can be won. Science was not built in a day. Some of the battles can end in defeat. In the West, they celebrate failure as a stepping stone to success.

Educational reforms must be preceded by mental deconditioning of parents, teachers, educationists and policymakers — throwing away the cobwebs of uncritical submissiveness to conventional knowledge. Let us bring up a generation that will not hesitate to ask inconvenient questions. This generation will be the torch-bearer of a scientific revolution that will unleash cutting-edge research to make the Nobel Prize committee sit up and take notice....
Riaz Haq said…
There are no South Asian universities in Top 200 QS list this year.

There are several Indian (IITs) and one Pakistani university (NUST) in top 500.
Riaz Haq said…
The first on our list is the National University of Sciences and Technology located in Pakistan. The university was established in 1991. Why this university is ranked at number one in our list? To put it simply although the university was established in 1991, the main campus upon which its ranking is based was established in 2008.The campus was built on a whole sector in the capital city of Pakistan; Islamabad. NUST’s ranking, as per QS World University Rankings, is among the top 500 universities of the world. NUST has managed to reach top 500 in shortest time when compared to other universities of its size. The university allows entrepreneurial opportunities for its students who are allowed to bring their ideas to the forum and are then provided with a portal to industry. The university is rapidly building links with more and more industries in Pakistan and abroad to facilitate its students. The university is the leading university when it comes to research and faculty in Pakistan and has made a name for itself in quite a short span of time. The university has also been awarded the “International Quality Award” at 2014 Asia Pacific Quality Network Conference and Annual General Meeting held in Vietnam.
Riaz Haq said…
#India’s climb to world's top 100 #universities not easy, but it can rise. #education … via @timeshighered

Late last year, India’s president, Pranab Mukherjee, told a conference on industry-academic interaction that if India provides “enough funds to [the] top 10 to 15 institutions for the next four to five years, these institutions will certainly storm into the top 100 of global academic rankings within [the] next few years”. Unfortunately, his optimism is misplaced. That laudable goal will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve in the short or medium term.

India’s higher education and research sectors have, for decades, been underfunded, especially in view of the tremendous growth in student numbers. Compared with the other BRIC countries, the proportion of Indian gross domestic product spent on education – 4.1 per cent – is second to Brazil. But India is bottom for research expenditure, committing just 0.8 per cent of its GDP, and it educates the lowest proportion of the relevant age group. So despite now having the largest higher education system in the world after China, the public and political clamour for more expansion is immense.

Indian higher education is also poorly organised to create world-class universities. No state government has a vision to do so, and none provides adequate funding to maintain high standards. The central universities are better funded and do not share with the state universities any of the immense, globally unique responsibility for supervising India’s 36,000 colleges. But they are still beset by a range of factors that make institutional change extraordinarily difficult. These include excessive bureaucracy, a promotion system that pays little attention to productivity and the occasional intrusion of local politics on to campus. This explains India’s tendency, when it wants to innovate in the sector, to create new institutions, such as the Indian Institutes of Technology, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research or the Indian Institutes of Management. But doing this requires time and immense resources – and leaves the vast majority of the system wallowing in mediocrity.

Whatever the approach, creating world-class universities requires careful thought and planning, as well as considerable funding over the long run. India will need to consider whether it has the resources. If recognition in the global rankings is a goal, the challenges are even greater because the rankings are a moving target. There can be only 100 institutions in the top 100, and several other countries, such as Russia, Japan and China, are also spending big on their top universities. India is very much a latecomer to the world-class party.

Jamil Salmi and I analysed the experiences of 10 successful new universities in our 2011 book The Road to Academic Excellence: The Making of World-Class Research Universities. We found that while money is necessary, other elements are just as vital. One is a governance model that involves significant participation from – but not total control by – academics. Another is strong leadership: not only a visionary president but also competent administrative staff able to implement the university’s mission. A third element is enough autonomy to prevent the interference of governmental or private authorities, combined with reasonable accountability to external agencies. A fourth is top academic staff who are committed to the university’s mission (including teaching), paid adequately and provided with appropriate career ladders. Also important are academic freedom, highly qualified and motivated students, and a firm commitment to meritocracy at all levels.
Riaz Haq said…
Discover top #universities in #Pakistan determined by data collected by Times Higher Education. #COMSATS #NUST #QAU

Pakistan has around 170 public and private higher education institutions, some of which date back to when the country was first established. Following the establishment of Pakistan as an independent country the government built several universities to provide vital skills to the newly-formed republic, especially in the sciences and engineering. That legacy continues to this day with many universities retaining a focus on science, medicine and technology.

COMSATS Institute of Information Technology

The COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, or CIIT for short, was established in 1994 by the commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South, an intergovernmental organisation whose goal is to promote sustainable growth in developing countries through science and technology. CIIT is spread over six campuses with the main campus in the capital city, Islamabad.

Although still a young institution, CIIT has gained a strong reputation in the region for its research and teaching especially in the fields of IT and computer science, and CIIT is highly placed in regional rankings as a result. The Islamabad campus is home to over 5,000 students while around 30,000 more attend classes at CIIT’s satellite campuses in Abbottabad, Attock, Vehari, Lahore, Wah and Sahiwal.

The university offers a wide range of degrees at postgraduate and undergraduate level. Subjects are split into nine departments which between them offer almost 100 degree programs. Teaching at CIIT takes place in English and the comparatively low cost of tuition makes this an attractive option for international students wishing to specialise in information technology or computer science.

National University of Sciences and Technology

The National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) is a public research university based in Islamabad. The university was founded in 1991 to further the provision of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in Pakistan’s higher education system.

The university was founded in collaboration with the military and military and civil educational establishments merged to become NUST. Since its creation, the institution has grown student enrolment and broadened its curriculum to include non-STEM subjects.

NUST consistently performs well in the regional rankings for the quality of its electric engineering department, the university also ranks highly among those from other emerging economies. Students can choose from a wide array of undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral programs from over 20 departments.

The university has in the region of 15,000 students encompassing many different nationalities. NUST also has close links with a great many international organisations such as Stanford and Caltech in America, the university of Manchester in the UK and the Tokyo Institute of Technology, among many others. The university also collaborates with CERN, Intel and Microsoft in research and training.

Quaid-i-azam University

Also based in Islamabad, Quaid-i-azam University was founded in 1977 to further the study of postgraduate education. A public research university, Quaid-i-azam University was called Islamabad University when it first opened. Since those days the institution has broadened its curriculum and is now proud to call itself an interdisciplinary university offering postgraduate and undergraduate degrees.

The university offers a broad mix of subjects from 38 academic departments spread across its four faculties. The faculty of natural sciences is home to the maths, physics and computer science departments among others. The faculty of social sciences houses law, history and economics, the faculty of biological sciences has medicine, biochemistry and microbiology. Finally the faculty of medical science is home to dentistry, nursing and the university eye hospital.
Riaz Haq said…
#Columbia University #ranking scandal raises questions over sky-high value of an #IvyLeague education. The university drops in #US News & World Report rankings from 2nd to 18th place after admitting to cheating on data submitted. via @YahooFinance

Caught fluffing its numbers by one of its own professors, one of America’s elite eight Ivy League undergraduate schools admitted handing in homework cribbed to score higher on a placement test.

Columbia University, located in Upper Manhattan, had been ranked the second best in the prestigious 2021 U.S. News & World Report annual ranking, thanks to the use of “outdated and incorrect methodologies.” It has since been bumped down to 18th as a result of the scandal.

The charges are serious given the ongoing debate over the value of a typical college degree in the humanities, given tuition has been among the largest drivers of national inflation. Last month President Joe Biden ended a fractious debate over the hot-button political issue of student debt by ordering a portion of the over $1.6 trillion owed to the federal government to be canceled.

The admission is furthermore extremely embarrassing as academic honesty is considered the cornerstone of higher education. Students found to have cheated on an exam or plagiarized sources without attribution are subject to immediate disciplinary action that often can involve expulsion.

“Anything less than complete accuracy in the data that we report—regardless of the size or the reason—is inconsistent with the standards of excellence to which Columbia holds itself,” the university said in a statement on Friday.

Unlike in other countries, the college one attends is often much more important to potential employers than what degree they received or the strength of their grade point average. Ivy Leagues are considered the benchmark when it comes to teaching the country’s best and brightest young minds how best to analyze problems and arrive at a solution or present a logically compelling argument.

Harvard University, which has long bragged about the number of applicants it receives every year, can charge its students an arm and a leg for their education given it could only accept a record low 3.2% of applicants for its 2026 undergraduate class in April.

‘Bogus rankings’
This culture fosters a heavy emphasis on ranking, boiling down the varied experiences of a university to a narrow number of key performance indicators. Prospective college students and their parents scour the annual special edition of U.S. News & World Report every year before making a decision as to where to apply for admission.

According to Columbia’s own calculations, tuition for this academic year alone costs $65,000; add on room and board, and you’re talking $86,000 with typically three more years still to come before a student has earned his or her undergraduate degree.

Even after adjusting for inflation, nonprofit think tank College Board estimated the cost of tuition at an average private university during the 2020–21 year has doubled relative to where it was 30 years prior. For public universities, it has nearly tripled.

Should a university like Columbia be found not to apply the kind of intellectual rigor expected, it could suffer substantially when attracting the best students and professors, not to mention raising donations from wealthy and successful alumni.

The Columbia professor who flagged the issue
Michael Thaddeus, the Columbia mathematics professor that discovered the inconsistencies, poured scorn on the system of rankings.

“Does it make sense to conclude from this folly that Columbia is the 18th best American university, worse than Cornell but better than Berkeley?” he told Gothamist. “Of course not—that would be ridiculous. The only thing that makes sense is paying no attention to these bogus rankings at all.”

Popular posts from this blog

Pakistani Women's Growing Particpation in Workforce

Project Azm: Pakistan to Develop 5th Generation Fighter Plane

Pakistan's Saadia Zahidi Leads World Economic Forum's Gender Parity Effort