The Times Higher Education supplement released its second annual Asia Universities Ranking this week. As was to be expected, the University of Tokyo, National University of Singapore and the University of Hong Kong nabbed the top spots once again, with NUS widening its lead over HKU despite the latter’s shiny new Centennial Campus and an MTR station in the works.
There may be no single reason for HKU’s poorer performance, but the territory’s oldest uni has faced criticism in the past year for admitting too many mainland students, who already occupy 70 percent of all postgraduate positions. HKU’s score for “International outlook” continues to suffer as a result, falling to 80 percent this year compared with NUS’s 94 percent.
Peking University and Tsinghua both placed high once again (fifth and sixth place), but this year Beida was knocked down a peg, beaten to fourth place by Seoul National University. Shanghai’s Fudan and Jiaotong universities placed 25th and 47th respectively. Other Chinese universities to place in the top 50 were Heifei’s University of Science and Technology of China, Nanjing University, Zhejiang University, and Renmin University in Beijing.
Hong Kong’s other renowned schools HKUST and the Chinese University of Hong Kong also placed high again, at ninth and twelfth respectively—the same as the previous rankings. City U also placed at 22nd (down from 19th), PolyU at 35th (down from 33rd), and Baptist University at 42nd (up from 50th). Across the mouth of the Pearl River Delta, the University of Macau failed to place again. UM is currently planning to build a brand new campus on land leased from Zhuhai, but whilst this will give the university more space and newer facilities the fact that it would still fall under Chinese jurisdiction has lead to anxieties about academic freedom.
National Taiwan University came in at 14th, holding the same position as last year, but overall only 13 universities in Taiwan made the top 100, down from 17 last year. Some have suggested that this is due to Taiwanese universities’ over-dependence on government funding rather than corporate sponsorship, inducing them to lose their competitive edge.
By Ryan Kilpatrick