LAST but not the least?

The University of Santo Tomas occupied the last spot in a global survey of 500 leading universities topped by Harvard University of Boston.

UST, the oldest university in Asia, was fourth among Philippine schools that were included in the annual survey began in 2003 by the Times Higher Education Supplement-Quacquarelli Symonds (THES-QS).

The University of the Philippines ranked 299, De La Salle University 392, and Ateneo de Manila University 494, according to official results released by the two private firms last month.

The THES-QS World University Rankings surveyed around 15,000 schools in 60 countries, using indicators such as academic and research performance, academic and recruiter peer reviews, student-faculty ratio, faculty member citations, and proportion of foreign teachers and students.

“We are lucky that we are still among the top four universities in the Philippines,” Vice-Rector Fr. Juan Ponce, O.P. told the Varsitarian in an interview.

“(But) we hope to improve our standing to the 200th place in the coming years,” Ponce said.

Ponce said university officials were looking into a report that UST’s ranking in Southeast Asia had plunged from 50th last year to 89th this year.

He said the school ostensibly still had to improve on its faculty profile and research output.

According to the end-term report of former UST Rector Fr. Tamerlane Lana, O.P., 34 per cent of the UST faculty still have to complete their post-graduate degrees, notwithstanding the increase in the number of Master’s degree holder to 53 per cent last school year from 41 per cent. On the other hand, the ratio of full-time faculty members to students has been at 1:28 for the past four years.

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The University has also maintained an 82 per cent in all government licensure examinations.

The report further stated that while the number of foreign students in UST has increased from 273 last year to 300 this year, it is still small in proportion to the number of Filipino students, estimated at 34,900.

Funded research projects, on the other hand declined from 200 in school year 2004-2005 to 161 this year.

The Times Higher Education Supplement is a UK firm that provides readings, reports and analyses from academic research and its partner, Quacquarelli Symonds, is a leading international network for education and career development. Leonard James D. Postrado

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