Thailand's top university ranks only 50th in Asia

Thailand's top university ranks only 50th in Asia

Thai universities slip in annual rankings

Among the top 50 universities in Asia on the QS list is just one from Thailand – Chulalongkorn University, ranked at No.50. (Photo chula.ac.th)
Among the top 50 universities in Asia on the QS list is just one from Thailand – Chulalongkorn University, ranked at No.50. (Photo chula.ac.th)

Chulalongkorn University (CU) was the only one to rank in the top 50 in the latest 2018 QS Asian University Rankings, released Wednesday.

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This is the kind of story that experienced readers can finish quickly. Notice that the top part looks the rankings of individual Thai universities. The next section talks about universities in Malaysia and Singapore. Next the story explains the rating system. Then a Thai offical explains why Thai universities rank so poorly and finally we find out what the government plans to do to improve the situation.

Only Chula squeezes into Asia's top 50

Dumrongkiat Mala

Many top Thai universities have seen their rankings slip this year on the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) list of top tertiary educational institutions in Asia.

Chulalongkorn University (CU) was the only one to rank in the top 50 in the latest 2018 QS Asian University Rankings, released Wednesday.

It slid from 45th last year to 50th among 450 universities from 17 Asian countries after earning 67.1 out of 100 points.

Mahidol University (MU) bucked the trend by climbing three spots from 61st place to 58th with a score this year of 63.8 points.

Thammasat University (TU) also rose from 101st to 97th to claim third place among Thai institutes of higher learning with 47.8 points.

Yet Chiang Mai University (CMU) failed to keep a grip on 104th, settling instead for 112th on the list with 47 points.

It was more bad news for Kasetsart University, which fell from 129th to 149th, while King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi went from 161st to 171st.

Khon Kaen University also saw a decline, dropping from 165th to 178th, and Prince of Songkhla University dropped to 188th from 185th.

King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang fell from 251st to 261st and Suranaree University of Technology went from 251st to 301st.

In contrast, top universities in Singapore and Malaysia all performed better than in the previous year.

Universiti Malaya (UM) rose three spots to 24th as it remained Malaysia's top public university while Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) jumped 13 places to 36th.

Singapore-based Nanyang Technological University (NTU) edged up two places to claim the coveted No.1 spot as Asia's best university, trading places in the process with the National University of Singapore.

London-based education and career consultancy QS said the annual rankings are judged on research, teaching, employability and internationalisation involving over 70,000 academics and 44,000 employers.

The scores were based on nine indicators: Academic reputation (30%); employer reputation (20%); faculty/student ratio (15%); citations per paper (10%); papers per faculty (10%); staff with PhDs (5%); proportion of international faculty (2.5%) and proportion of international students (2.5%); proportion of inbound exchange students (2.5%); and proportion of outbound exchange students (2.5%).

Suphat Champatong, secretary-general of the Office of the Higher Education Commission (Ohec), said Thai universities' performance in the rankings reflected a paucity of academic research papers in English and a shortage of highly qualified lecturers.

"If Thai universities want to feature in the international rankings, they need to publish more research papers in English and also produce more lecturers with academic ranks," Mr Suphat said.

He said only one-third of Thai university lecturers have credentials such as assistant professor, associate professor or professor, compared to almost 100% in world-leading universities.

However, Ohec has set up a 10-year plan to help the country's top universities improve their ranking at an international level, he said.

Under the plan, leading universities will receive a bigger budget from Ohec to increase their research spending.

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Vocabulary

  • academic: relating to education - เชิงวิชาการ
  • academic: someone who teaches at a college, or who studies as part of their job - นักวิชาการ
  • annual: happening once a year - ประจำปี
  • assistant professor (noun): a teacher at a college or university who has a rank just below the rank of an associate professor - ผู้ช่วยศาสตราจารย์
  • associate professor (noun): a teacher at a college or university who has a rank just below the rank of a professor - รองศาสตราจารย์
  • buck the trend (idiom): to be different from what is happening to others; to be an exception -
  • budget: an amount of money able to be spent on something - งบประมาณ
  • career: a job or series of related jobs that you do, especially a profession that you spend a lot of your working life in - อาชีพ
  • citation (noun): words or lines taken from a book, speech, research article, etc. - การกล่าวอ้าง
  • commission: an official group of people who have been given responsibility to control something, or to find out about something, usually for the government - คณะกรรมการ, คณะกรรมาธิการ
  • consultancy: the service of providing expert advice and help in some area - ปรึกษา, ปรึกษาหารือ
  • credentials: personal qualities, achievements, or experiences that make someone suitable for something - คุณสมบัติ, คุณวุฒิ
  • decline: becoming less - การลดลง
  • employability (noun): the abilty to get a job, to function in a job and be able to move between jobs -
  • employer: a person, company, or organisation that pays someone to work for them as a member of their staff - นายจ้าง
  • exchange student (noun): a programme in which students from a secondary school or university study abroad at one of their institution's partner institutions -
  • faculty: a group of departments in a college or university which specialise in a particular subject or group of subjects - คณะ
  • feature: to include someone or something as an important part - มีบทบาทสำคัญใน
  • grip (noun): an act of holding somebody/something tightly; a particular way of doing this - การยึดเกาะ, การฉวย, การจับ, การกำ
  • improve: to get better - ดีขึ้น
  • improve: to make better - ทำให้ดีขึ้น
  • in contrast: different from - ตรงข้ามกับ
  • inbound: travelling towards a particular point, particularly into a city - ขาเข้า (opposite of outbound ขาออก)
  • indicator: something that shows what a situation is like - เครื่องชี้บอก, เครื่องชี้นำ
  • individual: relating to or involving a single, separate person or thing - แต่ละบุคคล
  • institutions: large and important organizations, such as universities or banks - สถาบัน
  • internationalisation: making more international or following international standards -
  • involving: taking part or having a role in something - เกี่ยวข้อง
  • judge: to form an opinion about somebody/something, based on the information you have - ตัดสิน
  • lecturer (noun): a teacher at a university or college - อาจารย์ผู้บรรยาย
  • level: a position or rank in a scale of size or importance - ระดับ
  • outbound (adj): travelling towards a particular point, particularly away from a city, country, etc. - ขาออก (opposite of inbound ขาเข้า)
  • paucity (noun): a small amount of something; less than enough of something - ความขัดสน, จำนวนเล็กน้อย
  • professor: a university teacher of the highest rank - ศาสตราจารย์
  • proportion: part or share of a whole - สัดส่วน
  • public: open to people in general - สาธารณะ
  • publish: to make something available to the public through books, magazines, the Internet, etc. - เผยแพร่, จัดพิมพ์
  • qualified (adj): able to do something, because you have the knowledge, skill, or experience that is needed - มีคุณวุฒิเหมาะสม, มีคุณสมบัติ
  • rankings (noun): the position of somebody/something on a scale that shows how good or important they are in relation to other similar people or things, especially in sport - อันดับ
  • rating: a measurement of how good or popular someone or something is, in this case, a television programme - การประเมิน, เปอร์เซ็นต์ผู้ขมหรือผู้ฟังของรายการหนึ่ง
  • ratio (noun): the relationship between two numbers or amounts, one number over another number, proportion, fraction - อัตราส่วน, สัดส่วน, อัตราเปรียบเทียบ
  • reflect: to show - สะท้อน แสดงถึง
  • release: to make known to the public - เปิดเผย, ให้ข่าว, ปล่อยข่าว
  • reputation: the opinion people have about how good or bad someone or something is - ชื่อเสียง
  • research: a careful study of a subject, especially in order to discover new facts or information about it - การวิจัย
  • secretary-general (noun): the person who is in charge of the department that deals with the running of a large international or political organisation - เลขาธิการ, เลขาธิการใหญ่
  • section: any of the parts into which something is divided - ส่วน
  • settle (verb): to fall from above and come to rest on something; to stay for some time on something - ทำให้ค่อย ๆ จมลง
  • shortage (noun): when there is not enough of something - การขาดแคลน
  • situation: all the circumstances and things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place - สถานการณ์
  • slip: to fall to a lower level; to become worse - ตกต่ำ,เสื่อม,เสื่อมโทรม
  • staff: workers employed by a person or organisation considered as a group - คณะผู้ทำงาน, คนงาน
  • system (noun): a particular way of doing something; an organised set of ideas or theories - ระบบ, หลักการ
  • tertiary (adj.): at university or college level - ในระดับมหาวิทยาลัยหรือวิทยาลัย
  • trade: to exchange something that you have for something else - แลกเปลี่ยน
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