by YMANUEL ROXAS and PRINCE RONSON SABADO
THE UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas (UST) remained as the Philippines’ fourth best university in the 2024 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings despite showing significant improvements in its overall performance.
UST ranked 801-850 overall in the 2024 edition of the assessment, climbing from the 800-1000 bracket last year.
The University achieved its overall rank because of its performances in the following indicators: employer reputation (293rd), international faculty (401st), academic reputation (601+) and employment outcomes (697th). UST also got a 701+ rank in citations per faculty, faculty student ratio, international research network, international students and sustainability.
For the 20th anniversary of its world rankings, QS modified its methodology by increasing its indicators from six to nine.
Included in the indicators were international research network (5%), employment outcomes (5%) and sustainability (5%). It also adjusted the weight of academic reputation (30%), employer reputation (15%) and faculty student ratio (10%).
No changes were made in the areas of citations per faculty (20%), international faculty ratio (5%) and international student ratio (5%).
In an email interview with The Flame, QS senior vice president Ben Sowter said the first-ever innovation in its World University Rankings’ methodological paradigm marked an evolution in its annual university assessment.
“More than ever, [the 2024 QS World University Rankings] aligns with Gen Z and Alpha priorities, providing institutions with a unique lens through which to assess their performance in areas paramount to shaping a brighter future for generations to come,” Sowter added.
QS said its world rankings had emphasized employability and sustainability, making it “one of a kind” among other global ranking systems.
Aside from UST, four other Philippine educational institutions were ranked in this year’s assessment, including the University of the Philippines (404), which retained its status as the country’s top university. Also included in the rankings were Ateneo de Manila University (563), De La Salle University (681–690) and University of San Carlos (1201-1400).
‘Research partnerships needed’
QS said the rankings of Philippine higher education institutions this year were driven by a flourishing reputation among international employers and its “highly employable” graduates.
The Philippines (40.8) posted the second highest average employer reputation score in Asia behind Singapore (44). The country also posted above average scores in academic reputation (18.6) and employment outcomes (29.5).
However, QS revealed that the Philippines struggles in the assessment’s research indicators despite its higher international research collaboration.
The Philippines’ citation per faculty score of 2.2 is below the global average of 17 this year. Its international research network also recorded below average scores at 2.7 versus the global average of 19.4.
“For the Philippines, 42% of its research [are] conducted alongside cross-border partners. However, most of this is done with China, Japan and the United States, highlighting the need for diverse research partnerships,” QS said.
Sowter noted that the country is facing other challenges in its attempts to develop its research metrics.
“Despite its vibrant economy, civil friction and an overwhelming number of higher education institutions stifle its ability to innovate, adapt and advance,” Sowter said in a press release.
“For now, the nation’s research efforts need improvement, emphasizing the importance of global collaboration and investing in trained lecturers.”
Aside from its research indicators, the Philippines also scored below average scores in faculty staff ratio (19.3), international faculty ratio (10.0), international students ratio (3.4), employment outcomes (16.1) and sustainability (15.5).
The 2024 QS World University Rankings recorded the highest featured universities in its history, with a total of 1,499 universities featured across 104 locations.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology remained the top university worldwide, followed by the University of Cambridge and University of Oxford. F