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Three Vietnamese institutions make World University Rankings debut

Thursday, September 12, 2019, 16:02 GMT+7
Three Vietnamese institutions make World University Rankings debut
A campus of the Hanoi University of Science and Technology in Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi. Photo: Chi Tue / Tuoi Tre

For the first time, Vietnam has three universities ranked in an international league table put out yearly by a British weekly magazine.

The annual World University Rankings, released by Times Higher Education (THE) on Wednesday, analyzed nearly 1,400 education institutions across 92 countries and territories.

Touted as “the largest and most diverse university rankings ever to date,” it uses 13 "performance indicators" to judge institutions' excellence in teaching, research, income and international outlook.

The Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST), Vietnam National University - Hanoi (VNU-Hanoi), and Vietnam National University - Ho Chi Minh City (VNU-HCMC) are included in this year’s rankings.

The former two institutions were ranked in the 801-1,000 range, while the latter was placed in the 1,001+ group in overall scores.

Among the three Vietnamese universities, HUST scored best in citations, while VNU-Hanoi led in teaching, research and international outlook, and VNU-HCMC was the pack’s leader in terms of industry income.

It was the first time the three institutions had been included in the Times Higher Education rankings.

A campus of Vietnam National University - Hanoi in Cau Giay District, Hanoi. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

A campus of the Vietnam National University - Hanoi in Cau Giay District, Hanoi. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

There was no change at the top this year, where European and North American universities continue to dominate.

The University of Oxford took the top spot for the fourth year in a row, with its traditional rival University of Cambridge - both from the United Kingdom - dropping to third place behind the California Institute of Technology in the United States.

Switzerland was the only country outside the UK and North America to break into the top 20, with the ETH Zurich coming in 13th place.

Mainland China now provides both of Asia’s top two universities, with Tsinghua and Peking Universities finishing at 23rd and 24th, respectively.

Brunei, Cuba, Malta, Montenegro, and Puerto Rico all saw institutions represented for the first time in the global university league table besides Vietnam.

A campus of Vietnam National University - Ho Chi Minh City in Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Nhu Hung / Tuoi Tre

A campus of the Vietnam National University - Ho Chi Minh City in Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Nhu Hung / Tuoi Tre

Times Higher Education requires that institutions publish at least 1,000 academic papers over a five-year period, teach undergraduates, and work across a range of subjects in order to be included in the rankings.

The U.S. had the most representations in this year’s table with 170 institutions ranked, followed by Japan and the UK with roughly 100 each.

HUST Chancellor Dr. Hoang Minh Son told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that research-oriented universities in Vietnam should participate in such globally recognized rankings when they feel confident enough, but these rankings should not be something to go for at all cost.

Each ranking judges participating universities on a different set of criteria, so being included in one does not inherently mean an institution is better than others not on the list, Son said.

Getting ranked is a chance for institutions to reflect on their strengths and shortcomings and use that knowledge to improve the quality of their academic training and research, he added.

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