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Thursday, September 22, 2016, 11:20

52 mainland varsities in World University Rankings

By Xinhua

52 mainland varsities in World University Rankings
This picture taken on Sept 10, 2016 shows a general view inside a courtyard of the Schwarzman college at Tsinghua university in Beijing. (NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP)
LONDON - A total of 52 universities from Chinese mainland are included in the 13th edition of World University Rankings published on Wednesday, with Peking University and Tsinghua University ranked 29th and 35th, respectively.

Seven universities from Chinese mainland are included in the top 400 list and two universities from Hong Kong made it to the top 50 list, namely, University of Hong Kong (joint 43th) and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (49th).

There is also a new number one for the first time in six years: UK's University of Oxford takes over the top spot from US universities for the first time in the 13-year history of the rankings.

The World University Rankings, now in its 13th year, is an annual publication of university rankings by Times Higher Education magazine. The ranking includes top 980 universities in the world or 5 percent of the world's higher education institutions.

Chinese mainland's rise can be partly attributed to improved scores for academic reputation, research influence and attracting international talents, while Hong Kong's performance is largely owing to increased institutional and research income and greater research productivity, said Phil Baty, the editor of the ranking.

He told Xinhua in an interview that he attributes China's great success to one key factor - a government committed to generously funding and supporting the development of world-class universities.

"China's investment in excellence since the 1990s has been an example to the rest of the world, an extraordinary success story that demonstrated that with the right levels of financial support, and the political will to reform universities, outstanding results can be achieved. The most recent excellence drive, often referred to as "world class 2.0," is likely to see China's universities making even further progress in the future," he said.

No other Asian nation has made the development of world-class universities as high a priority as China, and the clear evidence from the Times Higher Education World University Rankings is that the policies are working well, he added.

Baty said China can still do more in future to further enhance the level of higher education

"After powerful levels of funding and a dramatic increase in the quantity of research coming from China, there should be further focus on the quality of research. A key element of this should come through greater international partnerships - where the best practices from the great Chinese scholarly traditions can be combined with good practice in the West," he said.

Baty said the notion of Asia as the "next higher education superpower"  has become something of a cliche in recent years, but this year's rankings show that the continent's rise is real and growing.

Overall, 290 Asian universities from 24 countries are included in the list and 19 are among the top 200, up from 15 last year. The continent has two new entries in the top 100 and a further four institutions from Hong Kong, South Korea and China have joined the top 200.

China's Peking University climbed 13 places from 42th last year, while Tsinghua joins the top 40, up from a joint 47th last year. Five of Hong Kong's six representatives have entered the top 200 - more than any other Asian region, while South Korea has also made great strides. The National University of Singapore, Asia's top university, is at 24th - its highest ever rank.

"There is no doubt that more of Asia's leading universities will soar to join the world elite in the years to come," said Baty.

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