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Well-known QS World University Rankings has recently released new rankings of the universities around the world. The ranking assesses university performance across four areas: research, teaching, employability and internationalization. Also, the ranking methodology measures universities in accordance with six performance indicators:

  • Academic reputation (40%)
  • Employer reputation (10%)
  • Student-to-faculty ratio (20%)
  • Citations per faculty (20%)
  • International faculty ratio (5%)
  • International student ratio (5%)

The world-leading US technology university – MIT leads the ranking again with 100 points in all indicators, except 96.6 points for international student ratio. Stanford, another university famous with its entrepreneurial success stories, is the second in the ranking. This year, Stanford outperformed Harvard which is followed by Cambridge, Caltech, Oxford, UCL, ETH Zurich, Imperial College London and Chicago.

There are some attention-grabbing trends that may be useful to follow for other universities to enhance their quality education and achieve better places at the QS rankings:

  • Technology institutes and universities with enormous efforts and focus on entrepreneurship succeed and climb the ranking ladder quickly. MIT, Stanford, Caltech, ETH Zurich, Nanyang Technological University, EPFL are true examples of the world-leading tech universities with highest performance indicators. Further, technology institutes, e.g., Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, KAIST, Ecole Polytechnique, Tokyo Institute of Technology, and Delft University of Technology, could be considered as runner-ups, and if trend continues, can compete with all-time higher-ranked universities.
  • Another hopeful development comes from Asian universities. Compared with previous decade, this year’s ranking is heavily charmed with universities from Singapore, Japan, Honk Kong, South Korea and Taiwan. Asian universities, particularly, technology institutes keep pace with their US and European peers. Four universities, for example, from a city-country Honk Kong got their places in the TOP100 list of the ranking.
  • The European universities usually keep a stable performance for years. This year, the University of Cambridge lost its long-time third place after a decade to Stanford and Harvard from the United States. Also, LSE did not increase its performance, and fall behind to 37th from 35th last year. There might be many reasons, including Brexit, that negatively affect universities and their reputation. This issue should be further analyzed in detail.

The lessons we can learn from universities in the QS Rankings varies from mindset to funding:

(a) Our universities have to focus on “entrepreneurial university” concepts in order to innovate technologically advanced academic products, increase the employer reputation both locally and globally, as well as follow the path of other technology universities;

(b) Fundamental and basic research projects are usually conducted by the research institutes which are isolated, in themselves, from teaching. The universities and their research and curricula agenda have less information about cutting-edge industrial demand. Therefore, the distance negatively influences their mindset, quality and modernization.

(c) Academic reputation and citation factors can consequently be increased with the help of English-written curriculum and papers. Otherwise, locally (in a better occasion, regionally) published articles cannot attract scholars to cite our articles.

(d) Exchange programs become relatively more popular recent years, and some local universities arrange student exchange with many leading universities in Europe, Far East and Turkey. However, exchange among faculty members is comparatively slow and limited. Even if our faculty members and students visit foreign higher education centers, there is very low rate of visits from abroad to our universities.

Hopefully, in the near future we will subsequently see our universities in such rankings. One may argue that rankings do not necessarily demonstrate everything about quality education, but perhaps no one claim non-existence of the gap between the TOP100 and the rest in terms of these six indicators.

© Photo: QS.com

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