The University of the Philippines took stock of its performance in the last Times Higher Education-World University Rankings (THE-WUR) edition to understand the setbacks in the rankings and address them accordingly as the country’s flagship university.
UP slipped from the 401st-500th bracket of the top 1,526 universities in the 2021 THE-WUR edition to the 601st-800th bracket of the top 1,662 universities in the 2022 edition because of lower scores in the criteria of teaching, international outlook, and citation, which are three of five primary criteria.
UP remains among the top ASEAN universities and the highest-ranking Philippine university. Globally, UP’s THE ranking is bracketed alongside other distinguished universities such as the University of Alabama, University of Houston, Keio University, Kobe University, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, University of Maryland-Baltimore, Université du Québec, University of Rome, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (THE, 2021).
In terms of teaching, where out of 100, UP’s score dipped from 23.5 to 22.6, the UP Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs (OVPAA) said it was affected by a decrease in the number of graduates. This, the office said, can be attributed to the implementation of the Department of Education’s K-12 program.
Based on its assessment, UP will recover its teaching or learning environment score only after the 2023 THE-WUR, with a usual number of graduates. This will be combined with the efforts to increase the ratio of PhDs to academic staff, its staff to student ratio, and the institutional income.
UP’s international outlook score, which went from 33.4 to 33.1, was due to restrictions in hiring foreign faculty and enrolling foreign undergraduate students, the OVPAA added.
The University thus remains in pursuit of contractual appointment of foreigners as regular faculty with the same teaching, research, and publication requirements as Filipinos. It is also working to institutionalize cross-appointments. In addition, UP is expecting more foreign students as it organizes Asia Pacific Rim University’s (APRU) student mobility programs in October 2022.
UP said its citation score decreased from 86.7 to 74.3, despite an overall increase in publications over the years, because of the time lag between publication and citation. The OVPAA added that data for publications from international collaboration, which bears more weight than national collaborations and single authorships in the citation score, were still unavailable for submission to THE for its 2022 rankings. Despite the lower citation score, UP managed to stay at number four in ASEAN in citation scores after securing the number one spot in the previous year.
UP’s encouragement of more international collaborative research should address the lower citation score. This kind of research correlates with high citation scores in THE. The OVPAA said that this notwithstanding, the University is conscious of avoiding the pitfalls of past collaborative projects. UP hopes to sustain the increase in publications in general arising from its research.
Research is a significant criterion where UP improved its score, from 16 to 17.5. The University also improved in terms of industry income, from 39.5 to 41.7.