"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Ranking of Universities in Emerging Economies

"Without higher education basic education cannot progress" is a conclusion that can be reached after reading Karuna Chanana's book, "Transformative Links between Higher Education and Basic Education". Universities have three roles in society: research, training and outreach. These three functions are not independent from each other and for any university to be deemed worthy of the label "institution of higher learning", it must address all three. A university may choose to focus on one of these and such can be clearly stated in its mission. Nevertheless, the fact that research, training and outreach are truly inseparable, neglecting two of the functions to concentrate on only one does not really work. Thus, there may be instances where a university is currently prominent in undergraduate education. That same university may not be on the top when it comes to research. However, this does not mean that such university is not currently engaged in research simply because an excellent undergraduate education can not exist without research-active faculty.

In the United States, U.S. News and World Report publishes a ranking of universities to help parents and their children choose their college. The ranking takes into account selectivity in the entering class (This includes ranking in high school and scores in standardized tests), graduation and retention rates, class sizes, per-student spending, high school counselor assessments, and alumni giving. These factors clearly center on what is deemed to be directly beneficial to an undergraduate student. In this particular ranking, Georgetown University ranks 20th. A similar ranking, the Forbes' list, places Georgetown University 26th overall (24th among private colleges, 18th among research institutions, and 17th in the northeast section of the US). One must keep in mind the purpose of these rankings: To help high school graduates choose their college. The US has a developed economy and it can therefore afford to have higher institutions of learning that focus on providing excellent undergraduate education. In stark contrast, for a developing country, it is imperative that its higher institutions of learning deliver on all three functions: research, instruction and outreach. This need is even greater when the country also faces challenges in basic education. Basic education requires policies guided by evidence from research. Basic education requires teachers who are trained in colleges. Basic education requires participation of higher education faculty. Hence, rankings like those of the U.S. News maybe useful to parents, but for a country that is aiming to compete and thrive in a global economy, such assessment may be irrelevant.

There are several global rankings of universities. One example is the Times Higher Education World University Rankings which rely mainly on data provided by Thomson-Reuters. It uses five criteria: teaching (30%), research (30%), citation (30%), industry (2.5%) income, and international outlook (7.5%). With this ranking methodology, Georgetown University is 160th among world universities and 62nd among US universities.

To help gauge how universities in emerging economies or developing countries are performing, a separate ranking has been employed so that only the universities in these nations are considered. (The following figures are copied from The Times Higher Education BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings 2014):




BRICS stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. These are the countries that are regarded as representatives of economies that may lead the world in the future. The ranking, however, includes not only these 5 nations, but the other countries considered as emerging economies as well. These are shown on the map below.


The number shown near each emerging economy on the map above is the ranking according to Gross Domestic Product. The idea is to gauge whether this ranking parallels the university ranking. Lines drawn connecting the GDP standing of a country to the number of universities it has on the top 100 list should not be intersecting if the rankings according to economy and universities are indeed parallel. And the following graph illustrates this comparison showing not too many lines intersecting:


Not surprisingly, the biggest economy, China, also has the largest number of universities in the top 100. It has 23. India, the second largest, ranks only third in the university ranking. India has 10 universities in the top 100 list but this fails in comparison with Taiwan, which is only 8th in terms of economy, but has more than twice (21) the number of universities. This country has the line that noticeably intersects others.

Clearly, half of the top 100 higher institutions of learning in emerging economies have been captured by these three countries, China (23), Taiwan (21) and India (10). Next in the university ranking is Turkey, which has 7. Like Taiwan, Turkey seems to be an overachiever as well. Russia and Brazil, although ranking well in economy size, only has 2 and 4, respectively, in the top 100 list.

Among the countries in the list, only four do not have any university, not even one, on the top 100 list. These countries are Indonesia, Peru, Pakistan and the Philippines. The fact that not one of the universities in the Philippines speaks volume with regard to one of the major problems basic education in the Philippines faces. Repeating Karuna Chanana's conclusion: "Without higher education basic education cannot progress". This list of top 100 universities includes only those from emerging economies. To relate this back to the ranking of all universities in the world, ranked somewhere in the upper third in the emerging list, the various campuses of Indian Institute of Technology, barely make it on the top 400 list of all world universities.

The problems in basic education in the Philippines, as highlighted in numerous posts on this blog are concentrated at the two ends of education: early childhood education and higher education. Poverty creates huge learning gaps right at the very beginning. The current educational system in the Philippines is unable to assign resources where these are most needed and tracking of students according to socio-economic status happens as early as kindergarten. Kindergarten, albeit universal, suffers greatly in lack of quality due to the use of volunteers or contract workers as teachers. At the other end, higher institutions are not doing their job in discovering new knowledge. Research output on education is very low while education reforms are touted as based on evidence. Policies are drawn from opinions and misconceptions, not from peer-reviewed research. The new basic education curriculum attempts to address the challenges and failures of Philippine basic education in the middle, not at the ends where the problems truly arise. Additional years in high school and a spiral curriculum in the math and sciences are not the answers to the problems in the Philippines. These will not address the lack of research and poor early childhood education. Deciding what General Education courses can be taught in high school is not even tangential to the real problems Philippine basic education faces. DepEd K+12 is really a huge loss in time, opportunity and money. These are, unfortunately, things the Philippines simply cannot afford to squander.

The following is the list of top 100 universities in emerging economies.

BRICS & Emerging Economies Rankings 2014

RankInstitutionLocationOverall score
1Peking UniversityChina
65.0
2Tsinghua UniversityChina
63.5
3University of Cape TownSouth Africa
50.5
4National Taiwan UniversityTaiwan
49.2
5Boğaziçi UniversityTurkey
44.3
6University of Science and Technology of ChinaChina
44.0
7Istanbul Technical UniversityTurkey
42.7
8Fudan UniversityChina
42.3
9Middle East Technical UniversityTurkey
41.5
10Lomonosov Moscow State UniversityRussian Federation
41.4
11University of São PauloBrazil
41.1
12Bilkent UniversityTurkey
40.3
13Panjab UniversityIndia
40.2
13Renmin University of ChinaChina
40.2
15University of WitwatersrandSouth Africa
39.8
16National Chiao Tung UniversityTaiwan
39.6
17University of the AndesColombia
39.2
18Nanjing UniversityChina
38.9
19National Tsing Hua UniversityTaiwan
38.6
20Koç UniversityTurkey
37.1
21Stellenbosch UniversitySouth Africa
36.2
22Zhejiang UniversityChina
35.3
23University of WarsawPoland
35.1
24State University of CampinasBrazil
34.7
25National Cheng Kung UniversityTaiwan
34.3
26National Sun Yat-Sen UniversityTaiwan
33.7
27Shanghai Jiao Tong UniversityChina
33.6
28Wuhan University of TechnologyChina
33.1
29King Mongkut's University of Technology, ThonburiThailand
33.0
30Indian Institute of Technology, KharagpurIndia
32.8
31Charles University in PragueCzech Republic
32.5
31National Taiwan University of Science and TechnologyTaiwan
32.5
33National Central UniversityTaiwan
32.0
34Indian Institute of Technology, KanpurIndia
31.9
35Sun Yat-sen UniversityChina
31.7
36China Medical University TaiwanTaiwan
31.0
37Indian Institute of Technology, DelhiIndia
30.1
37Indian Institute of Technology, RoorkeeIndia
30.1
39Tianjin UniversityChina
29.9
40Wuhan UniversityChina
29.4
41Jagiellonian UniversityPoland
28.6
42East China Normal UniversityChina
28.5
43Harbin Institute of TechnologyChina
28.4
44National Taiwan Normal UniversityTaiwan
28.2
45University of KwaZulu-NatalSouth Africa
28.0
46Indian Institute of Technology GuwahatiIndia
27.9
47Indian Institute of Technology MadrasIndia
27.6
47Jadavpur UniversityIndia
27.6
49Dalian University of TechnologyChina
27.5
50Aligarh Muslim UniversityIndia
27.2
51Hunan UniversityChina
26.8
52Mahidol UniversityThailand
26.7
53Masaryk UniversityCzech Republic
26.6
53Asia UniversityTaiwan
26.6
55Pontifical Catholic University of ChileChile
25.7
55Tongji UniversityChina
25.7
57Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityIndia
25.3
58Yuan Ze UniversityTaiwan
25.2
59National Autonomous University of MexicoMexico
25.0
60National Yang-Ming UniversityTaiwan
24.8
60University of DebrecenHungary
24.8
60Semmelweis UniversityHungary
24.8
60Federal University of Rio de JaneiroBrazil
24.8
64Warsaw University of TechnologyPoland
24.7
65Xi'an Jiaotong UniversityChina
24.2
66Chung Yuan Christian UniversityTaiwan
24.0
67Saint Petersburg State UniversityRussian Federation
23.7
68Huazhong University of Science and TechnologyChina
23.6
69National Chung Hsing UniversityTaiwan
23.5
70China Agricultural UniversityChina
23.3
71Taipei Medical UniversityTaiwan
23.0
71National Taiwan Ocean UniversityTaiwan
23.0
73Chang Gung UniversityTaiwan
22.9
73Istanbul UniversityTurkey
22.9
75National Taipei University of TechnologyTaiwan
22.8
76United Arab Emirates UniversityUnited Arab Emirates
22.6
77Universiti Kebangsaan MalaysiaMalaysia
22.3
78University of PretoriaSouth Africa
21.7
79American University of SharjahUnited Arab Emirates
21.4
80National Chung Cheng UniversityTaiwan
21.2
80Hacettepe UniversityTurkey
21.2
82Chiang Mai UniversityThailand
21.0
83University of Marrakech Cadi AyyadMorocco
20.8
84University of Technology BrnoCzech Republic
20.4
85Chulalongkorn UniversityThailand
20.3
86University of ChileChile
20.2
87UNESP - Universidade Estadual PaulistaBrazil
20.0
88Shanghai UniversityChina
19.9
89Prince of Songkla UniversityThailand
19.7
90Feng Chia UniversityTaiwan
19.6
90Sichuan UniversityChina
19.6
92National Chengchi UniversityTaiwan
19.0
93Alexandria UniversityEgypt
18.6
93University of SzegedHungary
18.6
95Cairo UniversityEgypt
18.0
95Universiti Putra MalaysiaMalaysia
18.0
97Mansoura UniversityEgypt
17.8
98Northwestern Polytechnical UniversityChina
17.5
99Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher EducationMexico
17.4
100University of ŁódźPoland
17.3





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