No Pakistani university makes it to list of top 100 Asian varsities by

ISLAMABAD: Though the annual budget of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has seen a steady increase for several years, in the recent ranking none of the Pakistani universities could make a place among the top 100 universities of Asia.

On the other hand, India and China are far better than Pakistan in the higher education sector as nine Indian and 20 Chinese universities were among the top 100 Asian universities ranked by the Times Higher Education magazine of London. The world university ranking is the annual publication of the magazine.

The Indian Institute of Science, Punjab University (India) and the Indian Institute of Technology (Roorkee) are among the 100 institutions. Some universities of even smaller countries such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand are also among the 100 best institutions of Asia.

Commenting on the latest ranking, Vice Chancellor Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) Dr Shahid Siddiqui said Pakistan should not be far behind the other Asian countries. He, however, explained several reasons for the average performance of Pakistani universities.

“Research almost never used to be the focus of our universities from 1947 to 2002. There is also no tradition of research in school education that always helps in higher studies.”

Dr Sidiqui said it was about time our universities created and constructed knowledge by conducting relevant research.

The Times Higher Education Asia university rankings 2015 was based on 13 performance indicators, including teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

Two universities each from Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Korea are among the top 10 universities of Asia. The University of Tokyo is at the top with 76.1 overall score.

The National University of Singapore stands second with 73.3 points. The University of Hong Kong is on the third position with 67.5 points while Peaking University China is at number four (65.2 points) and Tsinghua University China (65.1) ranked fifth.

As many as 13 universities each of Japan and Korea, 10 of Taiwan, five of Turkey, four each of Israel and Iran are also in the list.

Two universities each from Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Thailand and one each from Lebanon and Macau also made a place in the list.

When contacted, Chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC) Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said: “I wish our universities make into the top 100. But we must realise the ground realities. Normally, those universities who make into the top ranking have strong infrastructure. They have been conducting research work for decades that’s why they are on the top,” he said and added that some of the universities were functioning for over a century.

“We [HEC] started focusing on higher education in 2002. But the budget remained a problem in the past. However, during the last two or three years, we have received a relatively satisfactory budget. Today, I can say we are on the right track and in the coming years will be among the top 100,” he said.

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