LAHORE: The performance of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), its provincial branches and higher education departments has been exposed with the release of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019 as none of the Pakistani universities could get a place in the list of top 500 higher education institutions while only nine universities of the country have been included in the Times Higher Education Emerging Economies University Rankings 2019.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings is a UK-based an annual publication of the university rankings by the Times Higher Education (THE) magazine.

The ranking of the Emerging Economies University Rankings this year comprises nearly 450 universities – expanded from 378 last year – from 43 countries across four continents. However, the 2019 table sees several new entrants and there are also several institutions that dropped back. The Emerging Economies University Rankings 2019 include only institutions in the countries classified by the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) as ‘advanced emerging’, ‘secondary emerging’ or ‘frontier’.

None included in top 600 varsities; only nine feature in emerging economies varsity ranking

The rankings use 13 performance indicators of the World University Rankings to judge institutions on their teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. But they are recalibrated to reflect the development priorities of universities in emerging economies.

Pakistan had 10 universities included in the Emerging Economies University Rankings last year with the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, being the top institute. However, not only the number of Pakistani universities has fallen to nine in 2019, the top-ranked university of the previous year, the QAU, is no more featured on the list for 2019.

The Comsats University, Islamabad, is at 137, on top among the Pakistani institutes, followed by the National University of Sciences and Technology in the 201-250 bracket, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF), in the 251-300 and University of Lahore in the 302-350, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan, University of Engineering and Technology (UET), Lahore, Government College University, Lahore, PMAS Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, and the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, in the band of 351 plus.

As none of the Pakistan universities could surface in top 500 universities in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019, Comsats only retained as the top varsity of the country but it did so with a ranking of 634. NUST and UAF were listed in the 800-1,000 bracket.

The rankings paint a dismal picture of the way universities are working both in public and private sectors of Pakistan. They reveal the incompetence of the universities and their professors, showing public universities facing glaring mismanagement while those of public sector as mere business ventures, aimed at collecting millions of rupees from students.

China remained the most represented nation in the annual listing with 72 institutions in total and four of the table’s top five positions. The Tsinghua University surpassed the Peking University as this year’s top institution while Zhejiang University went three positions up to 3rd, the University of Science and Technology of China climbs one place to 4th, with Lomonosov Moscow State University completing 2019’s top five.

India had 49 of its universities featured in this year’s ranking, up from 42 last year. The Indian Institute of Science was the top entry from India at number 14 while the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay was the next best at number 27. Overall, India had 10 of its universities featured among the top 100 institutes in emerging economies. Russia has 35 institutions included, up from 27 last year, overtaking Taiwan as the fourth most-represented in the overall table. Brazil is third most-represented in the table – with 36 institutions, up from 32. But the position of 17 of them has declined, including its two leading universities. The South Africa has nine institutions, up from eight last year, and retains seven in the top 200.

Other emerging nations across Europe have generally declined while several countries in the Middle East and North Africa and Southeast Asian regions have progressed. Overall, 442 universities from 43 countries were featured in the table.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2019