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Indonesian institutions lag behind regional counterparts

posted Jan 26, 2017, 1:11 AM by Brook Ross
Abridged from The Jakarta Post, June 16, 2016

A global higher education index has found Indonesia is lagging behind ASEAN neighbors in academic excellence as the country is represented by only two higher education institutions on the list of Asia’s 100 most reputable universities. Conducted by education rating institution Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) and released Tuesday, the QS University Rankings: Asia listed 11 Indonesian universities among the 350 best campuses in Asia this year. Unfortunately, none came close to competing with institutions from Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, which all had institutions placed higher in the annual ranking. 

The prestigious National University of Singapore (NUS) topped the list, while the country’s Nanyang Technical University (NTU) took third place. The top 10 also featured four Hong Kong-based institutions and two universities each from China and South Korea. Malaysia, once known for sending its foremost scholars to Indonesia to study, now boasts two universities in the top 50 and four in the top 100: Universiti Malaysia ranked 27th and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) placed 49th, while Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) was close behind at 51st and Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) took 55th spot. Two Thai universities fared better than Indonesian institutions, with Chulalongkorn University placing 45th and Mahidol University at 61st.

The University of Indonesia (UI), despite rising 12 spots from last year, sat in an underwhelming 67th place, followed by the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), which jumped from 122nd to 86th this year.

The QS University Rankings for Asia uses 11 indicators in its scoring system, with academic reputation and reputation among employers making up 50 percent of the score. This is followed by a faculty-to-student ratio worth 15 percent. Meanwhile, citations per paper and papers per faculty account for 10 percent each, followed by staff with PhDs at 5 percent and the proportions of international faculty, international studies, inbound exchange students and outbound exchange students with 2.5 percent each. While it is still debatable how accurately the QS rankings reflect academic standing on the global stage, some experts insist that Indonesian higher education institutions should remain unperturbed by the glossy numbers announced each year. 

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