The nation’s slowing investment in higher education is the main reason behind Taiwanese universities’ sliding performances in international rankings, Minister of Education Wu Se-hwa (吳思華) said yesterday.
Wu made the remark in response to a ranking of international universities published by UK newspaper the Times.
The list shows National Taiwan University’s (NTU) ranking fell to a record low of 167th from 155th last year.
Wu said that in an age when countries around the world have upped the ante for their universities, the capital that went into Taiwan’s higher education system had remained largely unchanged, resulting in a lack of educational and research resources for universities, which puts them at a disadvantage.
He said that higher education institutions are unlikely to see budget increases in the foreseeable future, and society at large should engage in other means of tertiary investment.
Meanwhile, National Taiwan University president Yang Pan-chyr (楊泮池) called on the public not to jump to conclusions based on one ranking.
Yang said that since grading criteria used by each list is different, the NTU’s ranking will vary, adding that the school’s lower placing also has to do with the larger pool of schools rated by the Times, which expanded from about 400 last year to 800.
He said the decline in NTU’s ranking is also partly attributable to the list’s inclusion of research funds invested by the business sector in its grading criteria.
As the nation’s laws impose many restrictions on collaborative research, it puts Taiwanese universities at a disadvantage, Yang said.
He said that while NTU has made some improvements, some international universities have advanced more, adding that NTU will continue to make progress.
According to this year’s ranking, the National University of Singapore (26th) has edged the University of Tokyo (43th) out of the top 30 to become the best university in Asia.
The University of Tokyo is down 20 slots compared with last year’s results.
The California Institute of Technology in the US topped the list for the fifth consecutive year. The school has dominated the rankings since it edged Harvard University, ranking 6th this year, out of the No. 1 slot in 2011.
The UK’s University of Oxford and the US’ Stanford University took the second and third place on the list respectively.
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