QS University Rankings:Asia 2013

The QS University Rankings: Asia 2013

The fifth edition of the QS University Rankings: Asia appeared last week.

It shows that for the third year in a row, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is the region’s top institution. But there are also some surprises in the rankings, both among the top dogs and a little lower down.

A casual look at these rankings confirms the advantages that the English language, and historic links to the English-speaking world more generally, bring to some Asian universities. The top three institutions are in Hong Kong and Singapore, repeating last year’s findings. These three, HKUST, the National University of Singapore and the University of Hong Kong, are all well-liked in our academic and employer surveys, the backbone of the ranking.

But it would be wrong to think that these universities show up strongly in our rankings solely for historical reasons. The higher education systems of Singapore and Hong Kong reflect the open global status both countries, so much so that all three universities have perfect scores in our measures of international students and faculty, and apart from HKU also score top marks for outbound and incoming exchange students. This is a very powerful combination and makes up in our ranking for these three’s comparatively modest output of research papers.

However, it is also notable that seven of our top 20 Asian universities are in Japan, starting with Tokyo and Kyoto in ninth and tenth place respectively. A lot is said about Japan’s current attempts to revive economic growth after two lost decades. These findings imply that the Abe government’s idea of putting universities at the heart of this project has some good raw material to work with. However, our ranking also confirms Japan’s recognition that its universities need to be much more international. It shows that the problem is even more acute when it comes to international faculty than it is for international students.

One fact that will doubtless attract attention in Tokyo is the growing power of Korean universities in these rankings, starting with Seoul National in fourth place. KAIST and POSTECH are sixth and seventh, and each has improved its position since last year, while Yonsei and Korea University are also in the top 20. A comparison of Tokyo and SNU is revealing. It shows SNU beating Todai convincingly on all four of our measures of international orientation: overseas students, overseas faculty, and inbound and outbound exchange students.

A further intriguing question is the future of higher education in mainland China. The top Chinese university, Peking, is in fifth place here, one up from 2012. It scores well across the board, including our measures of research volume and quality. In addition, its rise is consistent with other Chinese form in this ranking. Of the 21 mainland universities in our top 100, 14 are better-placed than last year.

By contrast, this ranking holds little comfort for our Indian readers. The top Indian institution, IIT Delhi, is in 38th place and the top mainstream university, also in Delhi, is 80th. They emerge here as well-liked institutions on a national scale, scoring well with employers and academics, but have essentially no appeal to globally mobile students or faculty.

These rankings also show that good universities are widespread in the Earth’s most populous continent. Japan and China account for 71 and 75 respectively of the 300 universities we list, a clear majority. But we rank universities in 16 nations in all, including one each in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Macao and Sri Lanka

ink that these universities show up strongly in our rankings solely for historical reasons. The higher education systems of Singapore and Hong Kong reflect the open global status both countries, so much so that all three universities have perfect scores in our measures of international students and faculty, and apart from HKU also score top marks for outbound and incoming exchange students. This is a very powerful combination and makes up in our ranking for these three’s comparatively modest output of research papers.

However, it is also notable that seven of our top 20 Asian universities are in Japan, starting with Tokyo and Kyoto in ninth and tenth place respectively. A lot is said about Japan’s current attempts to revive economic growth after two lost decades. These findings imply that the Abe government’s idea of putting universities at the heart of this project has some good raw material to work with. However, our ranking also confirms Japan’s recognition that its universities need to be much more international. It shows that the problem is even more acute when it comes to international faculty than it is for international students.

One fact that will doubtless attract attention in Tokyo is the growing power of Korean universities in these rankings, starting with Seoul National in fourth place. KAIST and POSTECH are sixth and seventh, and each has improved its position since last year, while Yonsei and Korea University are also in the top 20. A comparison of Tokyo and SNU is revealing. It shows SNU beating Todai convincingly on all four of our measures of international orientation: overseas students, overseas faculty, and inbound and outbound exchange students.

A further intriguing question is the future of higher education in mainland China. The top Chinese university, Peking, is in fifth place here, one up from 2012. It scores well across the board, including our measures of research volume and quality. In addition, its rise is consistent with other Chinese form in this ranking. Of the 21 mainland universities in our top 100, 14 are better-placed than last year.

By contrast, this ranking holds little comfort for our Indian readers. The top Indian institution, IIT Delhi, is in 38th place and the top mainstream university, also in Delhi, is 80th. They emerge here as well-liked institutions on a national scale, scoring well with employers and academics, but have essentially no appeal to globally mobile students or faculty.

These rankings also show that good universities are widespread in the Earth’s most populous continent. Japan and China account for 71 and 75 respectively of the 300 universities we list, a clear majority. But we rank universities in 16 nations in all, including one each in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Macao and Sri Lanka