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Missing Your School?

When Asiaweek started its annual universities survey in 1997, one of our goals was to help Asia's schools celebrate their strengths and correct their weaknesses. That is why we felt good after a recent talk with Rung Kaewdang, secretary-general of Thailand's National Education Commission. He is a key author of the country's far-reaching plan to reform its higher education system. "At first, our university professors expressed concern about Asiaweek's methodology," Dr. Rung told us. "But after they did research, they decided it was good. I would like to thank Asiaweek. We used to think our universities were good. But following your survey, we realized there was a need to upgrade. We have gotten a better indication of our standards and how we need to improve."

Unfortunately, there are some schools that apparently have yet to be convinced - including, ironically, two from Thailand. These 35 universities did not participate in this year's study:

Beijing Institute of Technology
Dalian University of Technology
East China University of Science & Tech.
Fudan University
Harbin University of Science & Tech.
Jilin University
Nanjing University
Nankai University
Peking University
People's University of China
Shandong University
Shanghai Jiaotong University
Tsinghua University
University of Science and Technology of China
Wuhan University
Zhejiang University
Zhongshan (Sung Yat-sen) University

Aligarh Muslim University
Banaras Hindu University
M.S. University of Baroda
University of Calcutta
University of Delhi
University of Madras

University of Tokyo

University of Macau

International Islamic University
Mara Institute of Technology (ITM)
National University of Malaysia (UKM)

New Zealand
Massey University

Quaid-i-Azam University
University of Karachi
University of the Punjab

Chulalongkorn University
Mahidol University

Vietnam National University

We did welcome 10 new schools this year. (An 11th institution, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, requested a change in category from the multi-disciplinary list last year to the science and technology ranking this year.) The newcomers: Tianjin University and Xi'an Jiaotong University in China, Birla Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur and University of Mumbai in India, Hokkaido University in Japan, Chonbuk National University in South Korea, and Kasetsart University, Khon Kaen University and Suranaree University of Technology in Thailand.

Given the absence of most Chinese schools, we publish on page 51 a China-only ranking of mainland universities carried out by education portal We are still working to include these schools in our main listing. We are heartened by Beijing's drive to turn major Chinese universities into world-class centers of learning, which could eventually mean benchmarking them against the best in Asia.

One last caveat: We used data from last year's questionnaires for nine universities from Taiwan, supplemented by updated information from other sources. (We did the same for seven other schools that failed to answer the 2000 questionnaire, including Japan's Keio University and Tokyo Institute of Technology. These 16 schools are denoted by an asterisk in the tables.) Taiwan's Association of National Universities and Colleges has decided not to respond to "any request from commercial institutions (including national and international magazines) for providing assessment information or questionnaire investigation." Why? The schools felt they are "entitled to develop individually and autonomously" according to their specific circumstances. We hope they will change their mind. As Thailand's Dr. Rung has discovered, universities need an outsider to celebrate their strengths - and point out their weaknesses.


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