On June 20, 2013, most leading newspapers across the world had an article about ‘The Second Annual Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 Rankings’. These rankings rate the top 100 universities from around the world who are less than 50 years old. This project was commissioned by ‘Times Higher Education’ and is based on information collected by Thomson Reuters from its ‘Global Institutional Profiles Project’. Institution rankings were determined on the basis of five major areas - research, teaching, knowledge transfer and international activity.
- Pohang University of Science and Technology (Postech) – South Korea - retains its position as the world’s top university under 50 years!
- Postech is followed by École Polytechnique Fédérale of Lausanne – Switzerland at the second position and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology – South Korea at the third position.
- Nearly a fifth of the institutions in the list are based out of the UK.
- Australia has 13 institutions and the US has eight institutions in the list.
- Netherlands and Singapore have a presence in the top ten institutions with Maastricht University at number six and Nanyang Technological University at number 10.
The overall ratings or metrics that make up the ranking index show a huge gap between those institutions that lead the pack and the institutions that are placed at the bottom of this list. In a way, this shows the amount of hard work, which is required by institutions to make it to the ‘Top-10’.
Not a single institution from India or China two of the largest and most populous countries features in this list. It is an extremely worrying factor that India, which was the epicentre of learning right from the ancient ages with world-class universities like Nalanda and Taxila, does not have a single modern university, which can compete with international universities from much smaller countries like Iran, Taiwan, Finland and Singapore.
Reference: The Second Annual Times Higher Education 100 Under 50 Rankings
Choosing the road not taken!
Students are no longer just opting to study the ‘tried and tested and safe courses’. There is a focus on innovation and research in niche areas and students are opting for specific technological, scientific and engineering courses
. Nano-technology, artificial intelligence, human computing, aero-space and submersible engineering and computer-aided graphic design are some of the top-ranking niche courses, which students are opting for in recent years.
The UK – no longer welcomes international students!
Traditionally the UK has been a preferred higher education destination for Indian students. The pictures of Cambridge and Oxford Universities and the Big Ben and the Buckingham Palace are images that have motivated many a young student to eventually land up in the UK and study there.
Recent policy changes made by the government headed by the British Prime Minister David Cameron have made visa policies extremely strict. Additionally, visa processing costs have also gone up. Tougher employment laws also make it very difficult for non-EU students to find a job in the UK after finishing their studies there.
All these factors are driving Indian students to opt for courses in Singapore and Malaysia. Not only are Malaysia and Singapore much closer to India than the UK and the US; the cost of living is also much lesser.
Exciting times ahead:
The next edition of the rankings will feature institutions established after 1965 – this is going to bring in a number of institutions from south-east Asia within the list of institutions. Perhaps the UK government might reconsider its visa-policies and perhaps an Indian or Chinese institution will find a place in the next edition of the rankings!