Higher education badly in need of a spending boost

posted on November 23, 2015

The World University Rankings 2015-2016, announced Oct. 1 by the Times Higher Education, defied expectations as the University of Tokyo, which ranked 23rd in the previous year, dropped to the 43rd spot and the ranking of Kyoto University fell from 59th to 88th.

The Tokyo Institute of Technology, Osaka University and Tohoku University, which placed between 100th and 200th in the previous year, fell to below the 200th level.

The University of Tokyo, which had previously enjoyed the highest rank among universities in Asia, has been surpassed by the National University of Singapore and Peking University.

All these have turned Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s university initiative — a call for placing 10 Japanese universities among the world’s top 100 — into an unrealistic dream. The fact is that only 11 Japanese universities rank among the top 500 in the world.

The global rankings by the Times Higher Education are determined by a weighted average of points in five categories, with the full marks set at 100 points for each category. The weighting ratios for the five categories are 0.3 for “teaching,” 0.3 for “research,” 0.3 for “citations,” 0.075 for “international outlook” and 0.025 for “industry income.”

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has long attributed the low rankings of Japanese universities to their poor showings in the “international outlook” category, which the ministry says has been due to the small number of people who come from overseas to study or teach at Japanese universities.

That is why the ministry has drawn up a plan to increase the number of overseas students to 300,000 and encouraged universities to provide more classes taught in English.

But even if these plans do raise the score for the “international outlook” category by 10 points, it would only result in elevating the total score by less than one point.

Japanese universities are particularly lagging behind their foreign counterparts in the “citations” category. Since the score in this category reflects the quality of papers written by teachers, the low score means that Japanese universities have only limited numbers of researchers capable of writing quality papers that are highly valued in academic circles and quoted by their peers around the world.

source by japantimes
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