Philippine universities out of world’s top 300
Top Philippine universities fared poorly in this year’s world university rankings by a respected London-based agency—an underwhelming rating linked by Filipino experts in higher education to declining government support.
None of the country’s elite schools made it to the top 300 in the latest rankings for 2011-12 released on Monday by the London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a company specializing in education and study abroad.
While still the top Filipino school on the list, the University of the Philippines was ranked 332, falling 18 spots from the 314th place last year. Ateneo de Manila University placed 360th, down from 307th place last year.
Two other universities slipped farther down the list, with De La Salle University dropping from the 451-500 bracket last year to the 551-600 bracket this year. The University of Santo Tomas was out of the top 600 list, down to the 601+ bracket from the 551-600 bracket last year.
QS assesses world schools based on academic performance and employer feedback. The company surveyed 32,000 academics and 16,000 employers this year, describing the initiative as the “largest of its kind ever conducted.”
The index measures how universities fare in the following: academic reputation (40 percent), faculty citations (20 percent), faculty-student ratio (20 percent), employee reputation (10 percent), number of international students (5 percent) and proportion of international faculty (5 percent.)
Questions on the methodology of the QS survey have been raised, but the rankings are still recognized and reported globally as an index of the world’s best higher education institutions. UP does not participate in the survey.
“This may come as a disappointment, but possibly not a surprise as thousands of students recently took to the streets in protest of the government’s budget cuts in higher education,” QS noted in a statement to the Inquirer.
The Aquino administration last year cut the government subsidy to state colleges and universities, prompting these schools to raise tuition and other fees. State subsidy for these institutions has decreased from P25.36 billion in 2009 to P23.4 billion this year.
Of the four universities on this year’s QS list, only UP is state-funded. No other state university made the QS top 600 list.
Student groups have been protesting the budget cuts, saying this has further limited access to quality education among the poor.
Tragic and embarrassing
Danilo Arao, head of the UP System Information, said that the UP administration would “work harder” to improve its QS ranking.
He said UP president Alfredo Pascual was to outline his vision for UP as a “great university” in his investiture address on Sept. 15.
Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino said the ranking “exposes the tragic and embarrassing Philippine education crisis.”
The National Union of Students of the Philippines said the QS survey should serve as a “wake-up call” for the Aquino administration to boost its support to state schools.
John O’Leary, a QS advisory board member, noted that nations like Germany, Japan and South Korea had kept their universities—among them state-funded—within the top bracket through investments in education. The contrary has happened to countries that have less.
Top Asian universities, mainly leading institutions in Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and China, landed on the top 50, alongside European and American schools.
The University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom topped the survey for the second consecutive year, edging out other consistent top five schools including Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Yale and Oxford, QS said.
“The [rankings] give a clear illustration of the link between investment and results in higher education,” O’Leary said. He said countries that had cut funding for higher education saw a gradual decline in the international standing of their universities.
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