THE change from three- to four-year courses may have caused all seven government-funded universities to fall in the rankings in a global survey, an education specialist has said.
Hong Kong Education Policy Concern Organization (香港教育政策關注社) chairman Mervyn Cheung Man-ping (張民炳) said universities in the territory are still in the accommodation period of the four-year undergraduate curriculum, and therefore their rankings may have dropped.
Ben Sowter, head of Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a British company specialising in education and study abroad, and responsible for the World University Rankings, said the drop may only be temporary and they could recover their places within the next few years.
Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU, 香港浸會大學), for example, suffered the worst decline, dropping 30 places from 288 to 318.
The University of Hong Kong (HKU,香港大學) dropped two spots to 28th while the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST, 香港科技大學) dropped six places to 40th.
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK, 香港中文大學) slipped seven places to 46th, the City University of Hong Kong (CityU,香港城市大學) dropped four places to 108th and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU, 香港理工大學) slipped one place to 162nd.
Lingnan University (嶺南大學) became a cellar-dweller, dropping from the 551-600 group to the 601-650 group.
Sowter said a five-year analysis shows that Hong Kong universities are on an upwards trajectory and could challenge for the top spots within the next 10 years.
The leading institution in Asia, the National University of Singapore (NUS), retains its position as the champion in Asia and 24th in the world.
A spokesman of Baptist University said the institution takes different ranking results as references, while HKU, CUHK and HKUST said different rankings used different criteria.
In the QS University Rankings: Asia that highlights the 300 top universities in the region, the top three universities are NUS, Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology and HKU. HKUST and CUHK ranked fifth and sixth.
QS also publishes the Top Universities Guide 2014 for free download to help students find the best institution for their undergraduate studies.
(The Standard, Kenneth Lau, 17 September, 2014)