QS.com Asian University Rankings: niches within niches…within…

QS Asia 3Today, for the first time, the QS Intelligence Unit published their list of the top 100 Asian universities in their QS.com Asian University Rankings.

There is little doubt that the top performing universities have already added this latest branding to their websites, or that Hong Kong SAR will have proudly announced it has three universities in the top 5 while Japan has 2. QS Asia 2

QS.com Asian University Rankings is a spin-out from the QS World University Rankings published since 2005.  Last year, when the 2008 QS World University Rankings was launched, GlobalHigherEd posted an entry asking:  “Was this a niche industry in formation?”  This was in reference to strict copyright rules invoked – that ‘the list’ of decreasing ‘worldclassness’ could not be displayed, retransmitted, published or broadcast – as well as acknowledgment that rankings and associated activities can enable the building of firms such as QS Quacquarelli Symonds Ltd.

Seems like there are ‘niches within niches within….niches’ emerging in this game of deepening and extending the status economy in global higher education.  According to the QS Intelligence website:

Interest in rankings amongst Asian institutions is amongst the strongest in the world – leading to Asia being the first of a number of regional exercises QS plans to initiate.

The narrower the geographic focus of a ranking, the richer the available data can potentially be – the US News & World Report draws on 18 indicators, the Joong Ang Ilbo ranking in Korea on over 30. It is both appropriate and crucial then that the range of indicators used at a regional level differs from that used globally.

The objectives of each exercise are slightly different – whilst a global ranking seeks to identify truly world class universities, contributing to the global progress of science, society and scholarship, a regional ranking should adapt to the realities of the region in question.

Sure, the ‘regional niche’ allows QS.com to package and sell new products to Asian and other universities, as well as information to prospective students about who is regarded as ‘the best’.

However, the QS.com Asian University Rankings does more work than just that.  The ranking process and product places ‘Asian universities’ into direct competition with each other, it reinforces a very particular definition of ‘Asia’ and therefore Asian regionalism, and it services an imagined emerging Asian regional education space.

All this, whilst appearing to level the playing field by invoking regional sentiments.

Susan Robertson

8 thoughts on “QS.com Asian University Rankings: niches within niches…within…

  1. SE & S Asia are the main source of foreign students worldwide so it is logic that the first THE-QS “regional” ranking is devoted to “Asia”. But, nobody is concerned about a British company publishing again a brit-biased ranking?. Are really HK (ex-Brit colony) the best univ’s of the region?. Other World Rankings (ARWU, Leiden, Webometrics) show a different scenario.

  2. But only 4 British universities, but 13 American universities, ranked among the first 20th world-class university according to the 2008 THE-QS ranking.

    I am not sure how regional sentiments (as aruged by Professor Susan Robertson) will be invoked when comparisons among Asian universities are more explicitly made.

  3. Bad Rankings.

    These rankings to me are the result of computer calculations and not actual reality. Sorry but when ranking Universities, I think human beings need to be part of the equation. For example Soka University of Japan did not make the list but it is one of the most international schools in Japan, Queen’s College of Indonesia, AVM Hong Kong it has one of the best student to teacher ratios of any school etc. I think this list needs some human revision.

  4. Pingback: THE-QS World University Rankings 2009: Year 6 of market making « GlobalHigherEd

  5. For the Philippines, university ranking does not match reality. For example, one school with only Management Engineering (not even a real Engineering course), Electronics & Communications Engineering, and Computer Science is the country’s best in Engineering and IT! How could that be. Silly! Then in Arts & Humanities, that same school is also best when it does not even offer courses in the Arts. Also, in life sciences and biomedicine, how could that school be the best when it has only one or two pre-medicine course,and a new medicine degree. These are not even recognized locally as good programs. Unthinkable! Here is another one for the record: UST could even be better than this school in this subject or field. You must be kidding. Better wake up before you lead to self-destruct. You will be sorry yourself for no one will believe your ranking!

  6. Your data on student population and others are wrong! For example, you talked about UP Diliman, then you included all the student population of the seven campuses. Your number of undergraduate and graduate degree programs is also wrong. UP Diliman alone has more than 300 degree programs, not 94. Your descriptive statements of schools are also obsolete. Where do you get all these wrong data and misinformation? I know UP never submitted data for your ranking. How have you been obtaining those spurious data all these years. Funny but not entertaining!

  7. This ranking is more credible than your opinion. That school you’re claiming to have no arts courses actually has.

    Better do your research before you post anything.

    It’s not the organization’s fault if UP’s data is not updated, and it certainly is not QS fault if UP continues to go down because it does not want to participate in the survey. If UP decides to ignore this ranking, then better it not be affected by the results.

    Because for this year (2010) the ranking of the 4 leading Philippine schools in the Asian Universities Ranking is now –

    Ateneo 58
    UP 78
    UST 101
    DLSU 106

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