Students from Tsinghua University run in a barefoot race, organized for freshmen. XINHUA
For many students, as soon as they enter high school, choosing an ideal university is a big thing on their to-do list. Among the many variables to consider, university ranking is a key factor.
On Sept 2, Times Higher Education (THE) published its latest rankings of the world’s top universities, which covered 1,662 universities this year.
China’s Tsinghua and Peking universities tied for 16th place, marking the highest position ever achieved by Chinese mainland universities, reported China Daily.
According to the rankings, Tsinghua climbed four places from last year and Peking seven places. This is the first time that two institutions from the Chinese mainland have ranked among the top 20 universities in the world. The two have also reached the highest positions that institutions in Asia have had so far, noted The Paper.
In addition, a record 10 universities from the Chinese mainland were in the top 200, with nine of them improving on their previous rankings. Eight universities made their debut in the rankings, taking the Chinese mainland’s total representation to a record 97 universities.
In terms of the total number of universities listed, the Chinese mainland ranked the fourth, behind the US with 183, Japan with 118 and the UK with 101.
China Daily noted that the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the rankings this year, as universities involved in research on understanding and managing the pandemic saw great boosts in their rankings. For example, 11 Chinese mainland universities benefited from such research, including Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, Hubei province, which ranked 181 on the list.
According to Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer at THE, the world’s elite universities have enjoyed a long period of dominance at the top of the table with help from historic reputations, global status and reliable income. “But our data shows us there are clear shifts happening across higher education around the world, and perhaps most rapidly in the Chinese mainland.”
He added that Chinese mainland institutions have continued to improve in the university rankings despite the pandemic. “It will be interesting to witness what happens in the post-pandemic world, and whether the Chinese mainland can challenge the US and UK’s long-running dominance in the global top 10,” Baty said.