Not so long ago, one of the world’s leading university ranking institutions – Times Higher Education (THE) – released the regional table for Asia’s top universities in 2019/2020.
This year in particular, Tsinghua University made it to the top, and knocked off last year’s number one institution, National University of Singapore (NUS), to second position.
THE opines that Tsinghua’s capacity development, as seen in the World, APAC and Emerging Economies rankings, is as a result of the university’s improvement in its teaching environment in addition to growth in its scores for citation impact and global influence.Interestingly, this is the first time a Chinese institution has attained the number one position in THE‘s regional Asia rankings.
In this regional university rankings, THE made use of 13 performance indicators – which cuts across teaching, research and industry income – the only difference is that the criteria were adapted to suit the unique attributes of these Asian institutions.
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) achieved third position, going two spaces up from last year’s joint fifth position. In this year’s ranking, HKUST made a debut as the number one educational institution in the Greater China region.
In total, well over 72 Chinese universities achieved a spot in the ranking, a record climb up from 63 in 2018, while 16 of the country’s 26 top 100 universities either maintained last year’s position, went up the list or got in for the first time, except Peking University, which went down the pecking order by two places as a result in its decline in ranking score for research and industry income.
The UAE impressively has four universities in the league table, two of whom rank in Asia’s top 50 for the first time ever.
A number of this year’s new entrants were able to achieve fairly high rankings – and this aptly testifies to the fast growing strength of the region’s tertiary education sector.
The University of Hong Kong (HKU) on the other hand comes in fourth, sitting strong in previous year’s position. While HKU comes first in China in the THE world rankings, its position in this year’s list is lower as a result of metric’s different weightings.
THE adds that a combination of research productivity, research income and industry income have had positive effects in Asia league table, while teaching and research reputation achieved less, reason being that most Asian institutions are way younger than Western universities,implying that they are not as popular or well-regarded globally.
A number of 103 institutions entered the rankings – up from 89 two years ago. At the moment, Japan is the most represented country in the region for the second year running. But the top three universities either stayed steady or improved, a number of its lower-ranked universities are gradually going down, thus increasing the spread between the nation’s top ranking and lower-performing higher universities.
Also note that both Japan and India welcomed new entrants among the top 20 newcomers (five) than China (four), while Iran was on the same level with China in terms of the highest number of high ranking entrants .
University of Malaya on the other hand climbed eight places to achieve joint 38th position, and thus cement its position in the top 40. Improvements in its scores for teaching environment, citation impact, industry income and international outlook collectively helped the school’s impressive ranking.Infact, six out of the nine Malaysian universities featured in the 2018 and 2019 league tables improved on their overall scores.
Gerry Postiglione, who is a distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Education at the HKU and an opinion leader in the comparative sociology of Asian higher education, had a chat with THE that the increase in the number of “World Class Universities” in China gives gleamses of “a potential long-term asset for engaging with the significant diversity of other leading research universities located in countries encompassed by the BRI”.
The Chinese government provides subalstantial financial and social support for 42 tertiary institutions inoreder to achieve “world-class” reputation, while 64 universities across the BRI route took advantage of being included in their own countries’ excellence initiative, according to Postiglione.