China leads but India rises in new university ranking

Chinese higher education institutions dominate the Times Higher Education BRICS and Emerging Economies University Rankings 2017, published on Wednesday, taking six of the top 10 places, with Peking University coming top and Tsinghua University second. BRICS is the acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

It is the fourth year running that Peking and Tsinghua universities have taken the two top spots. Fudan University rose 11 places to reach sixth place this year.

Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, said: “The clear trend, in the fourth year of this annual list, is China’s continued dominance.

“With almost double the number of institutions in this ranking than the second most-represented country, India, China looks set to continue to dominate the list in the years to come, while other nations will have to run faster just to stand still.”

China has 52 institutions out of 300, or more than one in six places, in the ranking overall, the highest density of leading institutions in the developing world. Forty-four of these make the top 200, five more than last year.

India comes second on the number of institutions included with 27, led by the Indian Institute of Science at 14th, which breaks into the top 15 for the first time.

“India could soon overtake Taiwan as the second most-represented country in the top 200 of the table, behind China,” Baty said. “Overall, India has 19 universities in the top 200, up from 16 last year, while Taiwan has 21, down from 24.”

However, the performance of the other BRICS nations is waning, largely due to increased competition as a result of expanding the list to rank 300 universities from 41 countries, up from 200 institutions in 35 nations last year.

“Brazil no longer has a university in the top 10, as the University of São Paulo slips four places to 13th, its lowest ever position, while half of South Africa’s eight universities have fallen,” Baty added.

“Russia’s performance is more mixed; while 10 of its 24 universities have dropped places, Lomonosov Moscow State University holds onto third place amid increasing competition from China, and Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology climbs 81 places to 12th, thanks to an improved performance across teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.”

Brazil has 25 universities in the ranking, up from 14 last year, and Russia has 24, up from 15 last year.

South Africa has also struggled to compete this year, with a slight drop in the overall representation in the rankings and three of its top four performers dropping year on year. It has two universities in the top 10, led by the University of Cape Town in 4th place and the University of the Witwatersrand at eighth, and eight in the ranking overall.

Newcomers to the rankings this year include universities from Latvia, Tunisia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Northern Cyprus, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.

The 2017 ranking has expanded to 300 institutions, compared to 200 last year, from 41 countries. It examines the “leading universities in 50 emerging and frontier economies”.

Turkey gains

There were gains made overall by Turkey (16 institutions ranked, up from nine last year), Egypt (eight versus three last year) and Pakistan (seven versus two last year). On the other hand, Thailand (nine versus seven last year), Taiwan (25 versus 24 last year), Hungary (seven versus six last year) and Greece (six versus seven last year) failed to make much progress and lost ground to competitor nations.

Countries represented for the first time include Latvia (University of Latvia in the 201-250 band and Riga Technical University, 201-250), Tunisia (University of Monastir, 251-300, and University of Tunis El Manar, 251-300), Bulgaria (Sofia University, 201-250), Croatia (University of Zagreb, =196th), Northern Cyprus (Eastern Mediterranean University, =173rd), the Philippines (University of the Philippines, 201-250) and Sri Lanka (University of Colombo, 251-300).

Baty said the ranking uses the same 13 performance indicators as the overall World University Rankings.

“Institutions must demonstrate high standards of performance across teaching, research, international outlook and knowledge transfer and compete with other leading research universities across emerging economy countries.”