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Thai university rankings slide, Singapore cements SE Asia best

Rankings of universities in Thailand slid in the latest Times Higher Education global report, below tertiary institutions in Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines

The report released on Wednesday put the four best Thai universities in the 801-1,000 band. They were:

Chulalongkorn University

King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi

Mae Fah Luang University

Mahidol University

Their positions dropped from last year when Mae Fah Luang and MU were in a higher group of 601-800.

This year, Chiang Mai was the only university in the 1,001-1,200 group, while five others were grouped in the 1,201-1,500 cluster. They were:

Khon Kaen University

King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok

Prince of Songkla University

Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer of Times Higher Education, said in a statement said some Thai leading universities had seen their rankings slip.

Singapore underlined its solid performances in higher education as its two universities led members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean). The National University of Singapore was even in the world’s top 20 at 19th and Nanyang Technological University jumped 10 notches from last year to 36.

“The data shows clearly that the city state of Singapore is a growing world powerhouse for excellence in higher education and a beacon for the Asean nations – a powerful and well-connected international hub that continues to improve,” Mr Baty said. “However, other Asean nations are really falling behind the global competition, giving cause for concern.”

Universiti Brunei Darussalam in Brunei was the only higher education institution in Southeast Asia other than Singapore in the 301-350 grouping.

The best universities in the Philippines and Malaysia were Ateneo de Manila University and the University of Malaya respectively, both in the 351-400 band.

Duy Tan University in Danang was the best in Vietnam in a lower tier of the 401-500 cluster, while Indonesia was the only country in the region whose best university, the University of Indonesia, was ranked lower than its Thai peers. It stayed in the 1,001-1,200 tier.

Mr Baty called for more cooperation in education and research among universities in Southeast Asia to be better placed in the global rankings amid strong competition from other regions in education.

“International competition is extremely intense, funding requirements are extremely demanding and you have to run very fast just to stand still in the global rankings,” he said.

The world’s best rated university was still the University of Oxford, for seven consecutive years. The United States dominated the top 10 with seven universities led by Harvard at second, and the rest were in  the United Kingdom.

The world rankings this year covered 1,799 universities from 104 countries and regions, the largest in the 19-year history of the rankings.

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