Times Higher Education released its first Asia University Rankings online yesterday, including the list as a free supplement with the Times Higher Education magazine today. Japan took 22 of the top 100 spots in Asia, with the University of Tokyo in first place. China and Taiwan also had strong showings with 15 and 17, respectively, alongside Hong Kong’s six (all within the top 50) and Korea’s 14.
The rankings cover a massive swath of the planet, including universities from the entirety of Asia, from Japan in the Far East to Turkey and the Middle East. The Asia rankings join Times Higher Education’s collection of other similar rankings, including its well-known World Reputation Rankings, published every March.
It was past time for an Asia assessment by the education rankings giant. Times Higher Education’s rankings editor Phil Baty said, "Asia is the most exciting continent on Earth in higher education terms. As well as needing to absorb huge numbers of additional learners, many Asian countries recognize the central role world-class research plays in driving the knowledge economy - and are spending accordingly.”
Baty added, "Contrast this with the West, where austerity is leading to public disinvestment in higher education and research.”
Asia has 57 institutions on the latest 400 World University Rankings, published every October and based on 13 criteria meant to assess the quality of teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook of each ranked institution. The list of the world’s best is topped by The California Institute of Technology, Oxford University, Stanford University and other usual suspects. But make no mistake: Asian universities are on the rise.
Singapore’s National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University have made massive gains, rising rapidly up the list of the top 200 to 29th and 86th places, respectively. NUS has attributed its success to its global orientation.
As reported by the Global Times, NUS President Tan Chorh Chuan told Xinhua, “For a small country like Singapore, this is even more important because many of our graduates will work with people from all around the world, in multinational companies, or they may be working overseas.”
Meanwhile, in China Peking University climbed from 49th to share 46th place, while the fellow Beijing-based Tsinghua University leapt from 71st to 52nd. Institutions from Malaysia, Thailand, India and beyond also made it into Asia’s top 100. The increasingly strong performance is par for the course for the region.
"It's really because Asia is developing very rapidly. If you look at the world today, the largest investments in education are being made in Asia,” added NUS President Tan. “Where new programs are being established, the importance of managing them well is amplified.”