THE Releases the 2017 Asia University Rankings: Saudi Arabia Leads the Region

THEAsiaRankingsBy Arabia Higher Ed Editorial Staff

Times Higher Education (THE) released its 2017 Asia University Rankings. The latest edition was expanded to cover 300 universities, compared with 200 last year.

The Asia rankings were led by the National University of Singapore which claimed the first position, followed by Peking University at the second position, and Tsinghua University at the third.

The Asia rankings this year are dominated by Japan who claimed 69 universities in the top 300 Asian universities, followed by China with 54 and India with 33.

The rankings feature seven Arab countries this year including Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.

The top three positions in the Arab region were claimed by Saudi Arabia. King Abdulaziz University led the pack and claimed the 23rd position in the rankings. KAU was followed by King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals who was ranked a distant 54.  King Saud University claimed the third positon in the Arab region at the 56th position.

The Arab Universities rankings' results are encouraging for Saudi Arabia which improved its position in the rankings. Saudi Arabia also unseeded Lebanon from the third position, which was held in 2016 by the American University of Beirut.

The top three Saudi universities improved their global positions in this year’s rankings.  King Abdulaziz University improved its rankings from the 26th position in 2016 to the 23rd this year.  King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals moved from the 66th position to the 54th.  King Saud University leaped to the 56th position from the 96th last year, and unseeded the American University of Beirut from the third position in the Arab region. 

Lebanon had a poor showing this year where the American University of Beirut was the sole representative, and slid from the third position in 2016 in the Arab region to the 7th position in 2017. While Egypt was starkly missing from this year’s rankings, Kuwait made the list for the first time.

Academic excellence in Asia correlates with the country income and the availability of higher education. According to THE, wealthier countries tend to perform better in the rankings; the higher a country’s gross domestic product (GDP), the higher the average score of its institutions in the ranking. However, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar from the Arab region underperform compared with what one would expect based solely on their wealth.

The Asia University Rankings employ the same 13 performance indicators as the THE World University Rankings. The score is based on subjective measures (25%) as well as objective measures (75%). The indicators are grouped into five areas: teaching (25%), international outlook (7.5%), industry income and innovation (7.5%), research (30%), and citations (30%).

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