THAI UNIVERSITIES have been dropping down the list of the world’s best higher-education institutes in recent years, and this downward trend has become a cause for concern.
“This new data signals real concerns for Thailand. Not only has the country’s leading institution dropped out of the world top 600 this year, but most other institutions have also fallen,” said Phil Baty, editorial director of Global Rankings at Times Higher Education (THE).
He made the comment after THE World University Ranking 2019 was unveiled yesterday at the National University of Singapore, which ranks 23rd on the list.
No Thai institutes have even made it to the list of 500 best universities, let alone top 100.
Mahidol University, previously deemed best in Thailand, fell from the 501-600 band to the 601-800 band this year. Chulalongkorn University, which is Thailand’s oldest university, also plunged from the 601-800 band to the 801-1,000 band, while King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thon Buri and Suranaree University of Technology have also suffered the same fate.
The Prince of Songkla University, Kasetsart University, Khon Kaen University and King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang have also fared badly, dropping from the 801-1000 to the 1001+ band.
Not all Thai institutes have followed the downward trend. Chiang Mai University, which is a reputed institute in Thailand’s North, has remained in the 801-1000 band, while King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok has also stayed in the 1001+ group.
Apart from this, four Thai universities have made it to the list for the first time – Mahasarakham University, Naresuan University, Srinakharinwirot University and Thammasat University. They are all in the 1001+ band.
The definitive annual listing – now in its 15th year – covers more than 1,250 higher education institutions from 86 countries, making it the most competitive listing yet. Last year, the list had 1,100 institutes from 81 countries.
Baty noted that though more Thai universities were included in THE World University Rankings this year, a bigger presence on the list did not downplay the poorer rankings.
Neighbouring Malaysia, meanwhile, is doing better. Its flagship University of Malaya has risen to the 301-350 band from the 351-400 band. Overall, Malaysia has 11 institutions represented in the 2019 table – up from nine last year.
Meanwhile, UK’s Oxford and Cambridge remain the best two universities, followed closely by the United States’ Stanford University.