UST POSTED its lowest standing in the Quacquarelli-Symonds (QS) Asian University Rankings this year, plunging along with three other Philippine schools in the annual survey.

With a score of 36.56, the University dropped by 44 notches and landed at 148th, behind Ateneo de Manila University at 86th place with 48.86 points and De La Salle University, which scored 38.05 points at 142nd. State-run University of the Philippines (UP) led Philippine schools at 68th place with 54.96 points.

UP placed 62nd in last year’s list, while Ateneo and La Salle ranked 65th and 107th, respectively. UST ranked 104th last year.

Davao’s University of Southeastern Philippines, meanwhile, landed in the 251-300 bracket.

Last year, 15 Philippine universities entered the QS list.

Fr. Arthur Dingel, O.P., assistant to the rector for planning and quality management, attributed the University’s decline to the QS ranking’s “perception-based” criteria.

“Perception-based survey entails brand management, which means marketing. For a very long time, we do not market because we do not brag [about the University’s achievements],” Dingel said. “[What the University] needs [is] to be aggressive in joining international associations for UST to [gain international prominence].”

Collapse in subjects

In the life sciences and medicine sub-ranking, the University plunged to 94th from last year’s 61st. It tied with six universities from India, Malaysia, Japan, and Taiwan. Ateneo and La Salle landed on the 57th and 73rd spot, down from last year’s 64th and 74thlast year.

UST failed to get a slot in the humanities category after placing 103rd last year. Ateneo and La Salle placed 29th and 59th from 31st and 65th last year, respectively.

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UST was also excluded in the engineering and technology, natural sciences, and social sciences list. Last year, it placed 170th, 104th, and 136th in these categories, respectively.

Ateneo was the lone Philippine university in the engineering and technology (96th) and natural sciences (68th) categories.

Ateneo and La Salle ranked 40th and 72nd in the social sciences category this year, down from last year’s 46th and 79th, respectively.

As of press time, UP’s rankings on each subject are unavailable.

For Dingel, however, the University’s performance in the QS survey does not mean academic instruction is declining.

“We cannot say that the survey is error-free, because it is only perception-based. We did not decline in terms of achievements, dumami lang talaga ang achievements ng ibang schools,” he said. “But this (results) will serve as a challenge for the University to improve in the coming years.”

Dingel also said the government’s lack of support to private higher education institutions is a handicap for Philippine universities.

“We cannot compete [with other countries] in terms of government support. We have minimal support from the government and the alumni,” Dingel said.

UST did rank favorably in the citations per paper category, ranking fourth among Asian universities and topping all Philippine universities. UP ranked 136th, while Ateneo, La Salle, and Xavier University placed in the 201+ bracket.

No Philippine university ranked in the papers per faculty indicator.

In academic reputation, UST placed 124th, down from last year’s 95th. UP, Ateneo, and La Salle stood at 34th, 52nd, and 79th, respectively. University of San Carlos (USC) and Polytechnic University of the Philippines landed in the 201+ bracket.

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In the employer reputation criteria, UST placed 86th, while UP, La Salle, and Ateneo ranked 29th, 40th, and 43rd, respectively.

The University improved in the international faculty indicator, placing 92nd from last year’s 109th. It was ahead of Ateneo (117th), Silliman University (188th), and UP, La Salle, and USC at the 201+ bracket.

UST meanwhile placed 139th in the international students indicator, up by 51 spots from last year’s 190th but trailed behind La Salle, Silliman, and Ateneo which placed 92nd, 118th, and 123rd, respectively.

UST also placed in the 201+ bracket and 143rd in two new indicators, namely, “student exchange outbound and student exchange inbound.”

The University of Southeastern Philippines led Philippine universities in the faculty to student ratio sub-ranking at 48th place. Ateneo landed at 165th, while Central Mindanao University was at 171st. UP, La Salle, Siliman, Xavier, and Adamson University was included in the 201st+ bracket.

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology remains the top Asian university. R. D. Madrid

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