Recent news releases presented the rankings of universities in the Philippines as compared to their counterparts in the rest of the world. These also provided information as to how these colleges and universities fare against each other locally. There are various factors that form the basis for the ratings and rankings. These were released by a number of international quality assessment rating bodies that have been doing this for several years now. Given the global recognition and acceptance of these systems, I can say that these ratings are reputable and present a fair assessment of the quality of the covered educational institutions.
In the past weeks, the 2023 Quacquarelli Symonds Asia University Rankings (QS Asia Rankings) and the 2023 Times Higher Education World University Rankings (Times Rankings) were released. Sometime in June 2022, the Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings (QS World Rankings) were also released.
The QS Asia Rankings covered 760 universities. The Times Rankings included 1,799 universities across 104 countries and regions, making this the largest and most diverse university rankings to date. The QS World Rankings included almost 1,500 institutions from around the world.
The ranking indicators for the QS World and Asian Rankings included 8 and 11 areas, respectively. These included indicators such as academic and employer reputations, the number of staff holding doctoral degrees, and the percentage of international students. The Times Rankings included 13 calibrated performance factors that measure an institution’s performance across four areas: teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and international outlook.
The top three schools ranked by the Times Rankings were the University of Oxford, Harvard University, and Cambridge University. The QS World Ratings had Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge University, and Stanford University as its top ranked institutions. Harvard University, my alma mater for my advanced tax studies, ranked fifth in the 2023 QS World Ratings. The QS Asian Rankings ranked Peking University, the National University of Singapore, and Tsinghua University as the top three schools.
Among the Philippine universities, the University of the Philippines was ranked the highest in the 2023 QS World University Rankings. UP ranked 412th, Ateneo de Manila University (Ateneo) was included in the 651 to 700 top universities, and, the University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University (La Salle) were both ranked among the 801 to 1,000 group. There were no other Philippine schools included in the top 1,500 list.
In the QS Asian Rankings, the same schools were ranked the highest Philippine universities. The UP was ranked 87th, Ateneo was at 134th place, La Salle was ranked 171st, and UST was 175th. Aside from these four schools, there were 12 other universities in the Philippines that were included in the top 760 schools in the QS Asian Rankings.
In the Times Ranking, Ateneo placed in the 351 to 400 bracket, UP ranked among the 801 to 1,000 top schools, La Salle was in the 1,201 to 1,500 category, and Mapúa University had a 1,501+ ranking. There were no other Philippine universities in the top university rankings.
How do the higher education institutions in the Philippines fare in comparison with the schools in the rest of the world? Per Commission of Higher Education records, the Philippines has about 2,400 higher education institutions. Considering this significant number, it is to be expected that there should have been more universities included in the top-ranked schools. Does this indicate that there is a proliferation of sub-standard HEIs in our country? And consequently, sub-standard quality of graduates being churned out from these HEIs? I believe the answers to these are not to our satisfaction.
Joel L. Tan-Torres was the former Dean of the University of the Philippines Virata School of Business. Previously, he was the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the chairman of the Professional Regulatory Board of Accountancy, and partner of Reyes Tacandong & Co. and the SyCip Gorres and Velayo & Co. He is a Certified Public Accountant who garnered No. 1 in the CPA Board Examination of May 1979.
This column accepts contributions of articles from the business community for publication. Articles not exceeding 700 words can be e-mailed to boa.secretariat.@gmail.com.