Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Indonesian universities on the rise

Good news from the ivory tower of academia, where all three of Indonesia's most prominent universities leapt up smartly in the world rankings.

The University of Indonesia rose from 395th to 287th, the Bandung Institute of Technology from 369th to 315th, and Gadjah Mada from 360th to 316th, according to Times Higher Education Magazine. Still a ways to go to crack the top 200 - and even longer to reach the lofty atmosphere of Harvard, Yale, Oxford and Cambridge, which topped the global list - but still, significant improvement for a single year.

How one even goes about quantifying such a planetary ranking, I have no idea. Who's to say the 315th is any superior to the 316th? Indeed in the U.S., the annual business-school rankings of US News & World Report are always rife with controversy, since at some point it's a subjective affair. Same thing with Maclean's magazine's rankings in Canada, where many institutions simply refuse to participate in the surveys.

But however they crunch the numbers, kudos to Indonesian academics, and here's hoping the positive trendline continues. After all, 2006 was actually the country's best showing ever in the rankings, so there's still some lost ground to be made up.

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