The Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2015 released last week placed University of Tokyo at the number one spot this year, for the third year in a row. National University of Singapore finished second, and the University of Hong Kong came in third.
Although the University of Tokyo remains Asia’s number one institution, Japan slips to second place with 19 representatives, down from 20 last year. On the other hand, China has toppled Japan to be the continent’s higher education powerhouse, with 21 universities from the Chinese mainland enter the top 100 of the rankings. Peking University earns the fourth spot among top Asian universities, while Tsinghua University closely follows the former at fifth place.
China’s special administrative regions also performwell, with six universities from Hong Kong (two in the top 10) and one from Macao represented in the top 50.
“The shift in power towards China takes place against a backdrop of investment in research and development while Japan wrestles with cuts as a result of its crippling level of public debt,” Times Higher Education stated on its website.
South Korea is the third-strongest nation in the rankings with 13 representatives, down from 14 last year. Its leading Seoul National University is sixth, down two places, and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is in eighth. Although Pohang University of Science and Technology dropped out of the top 10 this year, Sungkyunkwan University jumped 11 places to 16th.
Asia is expected to be the next global higher education superpower, after North America and Europe. As Allan E. Goodman, president of the Institute of International Education, states in Asia: The Next Higher Education Superpower?, “Governments in Asia see internationalisation of their colleges and universities as a means to capitalise on rapid globalisation and remain competitive in the global marketplace. Their progress in these regards will define Asia’s future involvement with the world and possibly redefine the way the world engages in higher education.”
On the other hand, six Turkish universities take places in the top 50, making Turkey the most successful representative in the Middle East. Middle East Technical University (METU), its best performer, leaps 17 places to 12th. According to THE, this “stunning progress” is “largely attributable to its outstanding research impact”.
Bothwell said: “[Among] the top eight universities for citations, five of these are in Turkey, up from two last year. Bogazici University has taken 14th position, up from joint 19th, and new entrant Sabanci University almost made the top 20.
Unfortunately, no Malaysian university was able to meet the international standard this year. The last time a Malaysian varsity made the cut was in 2013 when Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia was ranked at the 87th place.
Note: The Asia rankings use 13 performance indicators to compare each university against its core missions of teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.