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NewsHong Kong

HKU drops over 20 places in Times Higher Education world league table

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 03 October, 2013, 4:50am

The University of Hong Kong has fallen more than 20 places over the past four years on a list ranking the world's top 200 universities.

Once ranked the best university in Asia, HKU dropped to fourth in the region - losing out to institutions in Japan, Singapore and Australia, according to this year's World University Rankings released today by Times Higher Education.

The news comes a day after the South China Morning Post published an interview with University of Science and Technology (HKUST) president Tony Chan Fan-cheong, in which he warned local universities that they faced growing competition and needed to fight for more cash and support from business, saying: "We have to keep running to stay in place."

Although it is still Hong Kong's best performer, the 102-year-old HKU now stands at 43 in the world, down from 21 just four years ago when the rankings were inaugurated.

Phil Baty, editor of the survey, described the university's fall as "significant".

However, Baty said that the change was not so much a result of HKU suffering a decline in its standards, but the fact that the university's competitors had outpaced it.

"It's more of a case of it standing still," said Baty.

In comments that echoed Chan's words, he added: "HKU doesn't seem to be competitive on working with industries ... It has fallen behind the other universities in those regions because money has been spent more heavily on them."

In terms of sourcing funding from business, HKU scored 57 points out of a possible 100 in the rankings list.

An HKU spokeswoman said: "The latest list will serve as a general reference for us. We will continue to strive for excellence in teaching, learning and research."

HKU announced on Monday that Professor Peter William Mathieson, currently dean of medicine and dentistry at the University of Bristol, had been recommended by an 11-member selection committee to succeed Professor Tsui Lap-chee, whose term of office ends in February, as HKU's new vice chancellor.

City University of Hong Kong, ranked 182 last year, fell out of the league table in the Times Higher Education rankings altogether.

However, HKUST rose eight places to 57 and Chinese University climbed 15 places to 109. Both were found to have done better in sourcing funding both from business and academic citations.

A government spokesman told the Post it had set up a HK$23 billion fund for research in local universities and put in place a funding of HK$50 million to support institutions' effort in research transfer and collaborating with industries.

The Times Higher Education list uses 13 indicators to assess universities in areas such as research income, income from transferring research into industries, the learning environment, citations per paper, reputation and the number of international students and staff.

Additional reporting by Raymond Li



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This article is now closed to comments

"We simply do not have the talent nor the capacity for the high tech industries you are taling about."

I agree. But maybe if the education system is totally revamped and the current totally backword system of mindless rote memorization is scrapped, then perhaps just maybe we'll end up with some local talent and capacity for high tech industries.

It's not the high property prices that is stopping innovative and entrepreneurial activity, though they aren't exactly helpful either; what is really killing entrepreneurial activity is small minded thinking from education officials and parents.

If we had parents and the education system embrace creativity and thinking outside of the box, then just maybe the next Facebook or Google could be launched in HK rather than the US.

Even the mainland had a jump on us since wechat launched there. It could have been launched in HK if we didn't have so many shortsighted parents who want their kids to be a "CEO" (of an already established company), doctor, or lawyer. In and the minds of these foolish parents, it means robbing the youth of their childhood and locking them down to study all day and all night.

Such god damn fools!
I agree. These radical student democracy activists are nothing more than small minded red guards.
Pity. Maybe the result of militant Red Guards running amok around the campus resulting in the resignation of the Vice-Chancellor and criticism of the Registrar. Who can function properly under this environment? Thank you, Red Guards. You should have just worked on your studies and left the running of the University to others. I dare you to behave in the same way at the offices you work in later, if you ever manage to land a job. My heart bleeds for the damage you have caused to this University's proud tradition. And so would its most illustrious graduate Dr Sun Yat-sen.
Lies, damn lies, and statistics - and even worse: League Tables
What lies, please? What do you know about these League Tables?
More than to react with a rant that the downgrading of HKU was a result of political activism. You and @taoscmplogin sure have earned your 50 cents today!
I was asking for information about lies with league tables, since you seem to know something I don't. No need to get aggressive. I am still waiting for enlightenment.
Not surprising at all. The inordinate amount of recent publicity on radical HKU students and faculty in relation to political activities detract from this institution's great traditions and historical academic excellence. Someone had better remind them that demonstrations and political activism are no substitutes for old fashioned hardwork and modern networking with well-informed patrons who are at the forefront of industry or commerce. A professor of law from HKU promoting civil disobedience and breaking the law? Come on, that says it all.
The political activism on HK campuses is actually quite tame compared to what is seen routinely at the US institutions ranked highest on the Times ranking. Perhaps the public in HK is more sensitive to political upheaval, though.
In any case, I heartily agree that the HK government and universities should open the floodgates for funding technology if it has any hope of competing on the global level in the coming decades. Many, many different voices have been saying this recently, and for good reason! If Hong Kong invested a few billion dollars into technology competitions, made it easier for foreign engineers to move here and start companies with local engineers, subsidized the establishment of high end manufacturing like biotechnology and nanotechnology, what a huge opportunity the city would have for becoming a tech powerhouse.

All that talk about subsidies making a difference is nonsense. Look at the US, did the US govt subsidise companies like Mircrosoft or Apple? We simply do not have the talent nor the capacity for the high tech industries you are taling about.




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