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Singapore and Korea: Asia’s new Education power houses

NUS students
Singapore: Singapore and Korea is slowly taking the upper hand in higher education and swiftly moving towards the status of knowledge economies of Asia. Old academic power houses like Japan and Hong Kong lose its sheen due to innumerable inadequacies.
Both Singapore and Korea are dedicated to set up new facilities, initiating policies to attract foreign students, researchers and faculty as well as branch campuses of foreign institutions. And this way, these two countries are dropping its local and regional tags for acquiring the new label of “truly international hub” of higher education. This new change reflects in the recently announced world-famous QS(British-based Quacquarelli Symonds) ranking of Asia rankings. QS ranking confirms Singapore and Korea have overtaken Japan and Hong Kong as Asia’s academic powerhouses.

The two Hong Kong universities make way for the National University of Singapore, or NUS, which, for the first time, is Asia’s top institution. Two Korean universities make their mark on the top ten, with KAIST – the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology – jumping from sixth to second place and the Seoul National University retaining fourth place.

Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, or NTU, climbs to 7th, its highest ever position, while Korea’s POSTECH (9th) also makes the top 10, but slips two places.

“Both NUS and KAIST have benefitted from major government investment in research; while operating in English has helped them attain new levels of global engagement.”- QS head of research Ben Sowter says. The rankings confirmed the emergence of Singapore and Korea as the region’s new major players, denting the dominance of Hong Kong and Japan, Sowter added.

NUS and NTU are currently benefitting from a S$16.1 billion (US$12.9 billion) government scheme to improve their performance in science, technology and innovation, while Korea now spends 3.6% of its GDP on research and development, among the highest in the OECD.

The University of Tokyo, Japan’s leading university, falls one place but manages to hang on to its place in the top ten in tenth place, its lowest ever position.

“Though the drops for Japanese universities this year are small, they continue a trend that is observable over the past three or four years,” Ben Sowter says.

“The after-effects of the financial crisis have made it harder for Japan to keep up with the improvements made by Singapore, Korea, Hong Kong and China.”

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has been ousted from the top of the QS Asia rankings. It falls to fifth place.

Thirteen of the Chinese top 20 institutions have improved their position this year, after a surge in research citations, but Peking University slips three places to 8th.

How the ranking?

A total of 491 institutions were evaluated, 474 ranked and 300 published. Ranking criteria (with weighting in brackets) include: academic reputation (30%), employer reputation (10%), student/faculty ratio (20%), papers per faculty (15%), citations per paper (15%), internationalisation (5%), student exchange inbound (2.5%) and student exchange outbound (2.5%).

India sucks

The overall number of Indian universities in the ranking rose to 17 from just 11 last year, but seven of its top eight institutions fell. The Indian Institute of Technology Delhi is the top performer at 38th.

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