Pakistan’s Performance Dismal In Emerging Economies University Rankings 2019


The Times Higher Education has released its Emerging Economies University Rankings 2019, with only nine Pakistani universities making it to highly coveted list. On the whole, 442 universities from 43 countries feature in the table, which includes only countries that the Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) ranks as “advanced emerging”, “secondary emerging” or “frontier” economies.

The FTSE ranks Brazil, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Malaysia, Mexico, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey as advanced emerging economies. Secondary emerging economies include Chile, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation and United Arab Emirates, while frontier economies include the likes of Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Botswana, Bulgaria, Cote d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Ghana, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malta, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Palestine, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Vietnam.

As expected, China remained the most represented country in the list, having 72 of its universities featured in the 2019 list. China also claimed four of the top five positions in the Emerging Economies University Rankings 2019, including the top spot, besides having seven of its universities in the top ten list. Tsinghua University was the top university in the ranking with 84 points overall. The university is also the 22nd best university in the world, according to THE World University Rankings 2019.

Other Chinese universities included in the top 10 were Peking University at number 2, Zhejiang University at number 3, University of Science and Technology of China at number 4, Fudan University at number 6, Nanjing University at number 7 and Shanghai Jiao Tong University at number 8.

India continued its strong run in the world of higher education, continuing to be the second most represented nation in the Emerging Economies University Rankings 2019.

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.


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Pakistan’s position in the 2019 ranking has seen a visible downward movement, both in terms of the number of universities and the individual ranks.

Last year, Pakistan had 10 universities included in the Emerging Economies University Rankings 2018, with Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad (QAU) being the top Pakistani institute at number 85. However, not only the number of Pakistani universities has fallen to nine in 2019, the top ranked university of previous year, QAU, is no more featured on the list for 2019.

The top Pakistani university in the list this year was COMSATS University Islamabad, which was placed at 137th position. The result is a worsening of fortunes for COMSATS, which was ranked 131st in last year’s rankings.

National University of Sciences and Technology was the next best institute from Pakistan, placed in the 201–250 band. It was followed by University of Agriculture, Faisalabad in the 251–300 band and University of Lahore in the 301–350 band. Bahauddin Zakariya University was placed in the 351+ category, along with University of Engineering & Technology (UET) Lahore, Government College University Lahore,      PMAS Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi and University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore

As our neighbor India rejoices with continuous improvement in the rankings of its universities, it is time for both the Pakistani government and university administrations to take stock of what is going wrong with higher education institutes of the country.

Is it the absence of a research culture? Is the faculty employed too relaxed to strive for betterment? Are students not being challenged enough to aspire for more than bookish knowledge? Whatever the causes are, it is time the powers that be sit together to chalk out a comprehensive strategy for improving our universities. Else, we will only see our institutions falling far behind the competition and slowly making their way out of prominent rankings, year after year.


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