Singapore leads the way in Times Higher Education's 2016 ranking of the premier universities in Asia
Date - June 20, 2016
Singapore is home to the best two universities in Asia for the first time, while China and Japan have the highest density of top institutions in the continent, according to the Times Higher Education Asia University Rankings 2016.
The National University of Singapore (NUS) claims pole position, while its neighbour Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is in joint second place (with China’s Peking University) – the highest positions for the two Singaporean institutions in the rankings’ four-year history.
Singapore’s success in the table follows its rise in THE’s flagship World University Rankings; NUS has climbed 14 places in this table since 2012 to reach 26th place last year, while NTU has risen 119 places since 2011 to 55th place.
While mainland China and Japan are each home to almost a fifth of institutions in the extended top 200 table (39 each), China has the upper hand, after a shift in power towards the nation last year. The country has 22 universities in the top 100, including two in the top 10, while Japan has just 14 in the upper half of the table, and its top-ranked institution – the University of Tokyo in seventh place – has lost its place at the summit of the list.
Gerard Postiglione, chair professor in higher education at the University of Hong Kong, said that the Singaporean government’s “strategic” positioning of its universities as “competing in the global economy” and generous financial support for research are two reasons why the city state has “shone the brightest” in the ranking. He added that collaborations with world-class universities outside Asia – such as the partnership behind the Yale-NUS liberal arts college – have benefited Singapore’s universities.
“Singapore also has a very high-quality school system and its immigration policy makes it possible to bring in talented people,” he said.
China’s special administrative region, Hong Kong, has also performed well with six representatives, all in the top 45, while South Korea and Taiwan are the most-represented countries after China and Japan, with 24 institutions each.
Tony Chan, president of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), in sixth place, said that Hong Kong’s success is part of a “wider story about the rise of East Asia over the past few decades”.
“Being a gateway to mainland China and a melting pot of different cultures, Hong Kong, with its unique qualities including rule of law, low tax system, free flow of information, a skilled bilingual workforce and its world-class infrastructure, is the best breeding ground for knowledge and the advancement of science and technology – a reason why such a small city is home to several top universities in Asia,” he said.
Institutions from 22 countries, eight more than last year, feature in this year’s ranking, with several countries, including Bangladesh, Indonesia and Qatar, being represented for the first time.
The THE Asia University Rankings use the same 13 performance indicators as the World University Rankings, but have been recalibrated to reflect the attributes of Asia’s higher education systems. - THE
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