AUB maintains global rank, as other universities in region fall

BEIRUT: The American University of Beirut maintained its spot in an international ranking of universities, remaining the second-highest ranked school in the Middle East.

The QS World University Rankings, to be made public Tuesday, and obtained prior to release by The Daily Star, listed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as the top school in the world followed by Harvard University and University of Cambridge.

Of the 11 Middle Eastern institutions on the list, the American University in Cairo was the only one to make an improvement from last year’s listing, jumping from 392nd to 348th.

AUB held steady at 250th in the world, while universities in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar precipitously fell from their spots at the middle and bottom of the international listing.

The reason for the decline was due to years’ worth of political instability and unrest, a researcher at the group said.

“Middle Eastern institutions are producing less widely cited research than in previous years, which may be related to unrest in the region,” said Ben Sowter, a researcher with the ranking organization.

Schools were ranked based on their academic reputation, employment reputation, student-to-faculty ratio, faculty research citations and international-student-to-faculty ratios.

“Scores for academic reputation and research citations have declined across the board this year, which has caused them to lose ground on the international competition,” Sowter said about the Middle East drop in rankings.

King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals was ranked the top university in the region with a ranking of 216, eight spots lower than in 2012. AUB came in second, while King Saudi University came in at 253, King Abdul-Aziz University at 360 and United Arab Emirates University followed on the list at 427.

The United States took 11 of the top 20 university positions, but a number of its top universities fell in the rankings. Many Asian universities rank in the top 400 list, but there has yet to be an Asian school to appear in the top 20. Great Britain had four of the top 10 universities on the QS ranking.

The rankings are done by Quacquarelli Symonds, a British-based company, which provides one of the top international university ranking lists. The 2013 list ranked 800 universities out of 3,000 considered using 90,051 individual responses and an array of other rating methods.

Article source : The Daily Star.

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