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ONLY 0.5 percent of the world’s higher education institutions are represented in the top 100 of the Times Higher Education (THE) World Reputation Rankings.

Times Higher Education rankings editor Phil Baty said it is a highly competitive list, based on a survey of leading academics across the world and led by long-established brands in the United States and the United Kingdom.

“The THE Reputation Rankings are based on nothing more than subjective judgment – but it is the considered judgment of senior, published academics, the people best placed to know the most about the world’s universities.

“Unfortunately none of Malaysia’s universities feature in the table. Just 19 nations make the cut,” he said.

Harvard University tops the rankings this year followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University.

On how Malaysian institutions can enter the list, Baty said there is no single strategy that can guarantee success in the World Reputation Rankings.

“After all, it is based on the subjective judgement of top scholars. However, institutions that consistently perform well in the table are truly global universities, with partnerships and collaborations that span the globe, and publish high-impact research in leading journals,” he said via an e-mail interview.

“A striking feature of this year’s table is the continued rise of Asia, in particular China, whose universities are overtaking distinguished Western institutions including Imperial College London, the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University.

“Universities in North America and Europe are losing ground.

“The ranking reflects an increasingly competitive higher education landscape, in which institutions across the world are jostling to make a name for themselves on the global stage,” he said.

The United States takes eight out of the top 10 places, and have a total of 42 institutions in the top 100. However, Asian universities continue their rise with 28 institutions in this year’s ranking with China continuing to rise and, this year, overtaking several prestigious European institutions.

“North America still dominates the THE World Reputation Rankings, taking almost half of the places in the top 100 list,” he said.

But, he added, its standing is becoming increasingly threatened by increasingly prominent brands in Asia that are making a name for themselves on the global stage.

For example, China’s Tsinghua University and Peking University both leapfrogged the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University in the table this year while the University of Tokyo now has a stronger reputation than Columbia University.

Overall. he said 20 of the US’s 42 representatives have declined since last year and only eight have improved while the rest are stagnant.

“The situation is not much rosier in Canada. Although the country’s three leading institutions remain in the list, they have all lost ground; Toronto has slipped one place to 24th, while British Columbia and McGill have each dropped three places to 40th and joint 42nd respectively.

“North American universities will need to ensure they maintain their reputation as the higher education landscape becomes increasingly competitive,” he said.

Baty said this ranking shows that universities in the Asia-Pacific are becoming increasingly prominent brands on the world stage.

“Mainland China is the stand-out performer in the region; Tsinghua and Peking universities have each risen four places to 14th and 17th place respectively, overtaking distinguished Western institutions including Imperial College London, the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University.”

Meanwhile, the University of Hong Kong features in the top 40 for the first time in five years after climbing six places to joint 39th, and South Korea has three representatives, up from two in last year’s table.

Both of Singapore’s leading universities also make the table.

“However, there are warning signs for Japan and Taiwan. Although the regions have improved their performance in the reputation table, their diminishing success in the World University Rankings list in recent years may harm their prestige in future years.”

Source - The Star

Related - Tsinghua University is the 14th best in the world, according to new reputation rankings

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