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Peradeniya placed higher in global uni rankings; Colombo only other ranked university

  • Popular unis Moratuwa, Sri Jayewardenepura and Kelaniya fail to make list
  • 56 universities from India, 16 from Malaysia, 13 from Thailand in rankings
  • Oxford Uni. tops list; UK and US unis. dominate top 10 
  • Sri Lankan universities’ relatively poor performance puts Cabinet decision to set up 10 new State unis under further scrutiny: private sector educationists

The University of Peradeniya has been included and placed higher in the World University Rankings 2020 edition. It is the first time that Peradeniya has made the list, and the University is ranked in the category of between 401 and 500.

The University of Colombo, which has been in the list for several years, is ranked 1001+, the same as last year, but lower ranking in comparison to its 2018 placing in the between 801 and 1,000 category.

Sri Lanka has 15 universities, but only two have been recognised and ranked in the Higher Education World University Rankings 2020. Notably, the popular Moratuwa, Sri Jayewardenepura, and Kelaniya universities have failed to be recognised in the list. 

In contrast, the 2020 ranking includes 56 universities from India, 16 universities from Malaysia, 13 universities from Thailand, six universities from Indonesia, and two from Singapore.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020 includes almost 1,400 universities across 92 countries, standing as the largest and most diverse university rankings ever to date.

The table is based on 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators that measure an institution’s performance across teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

As per the rankings publication, number of full-time equivalency (FTE) students at Peradeniya is 17,482 and no of students per staff is 10.8. That of University of Colombo is 23,322 and 29.6.

Both universities’ international students’ percentage is 1%, and the female to male ratio is also 61:39.

The top 10 universities in the world in order of ranking are Oxford, UK, California Institute of Technology, US, Cambridge, UK, Stanford, US and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US; Princeton US; Harvard, US; Yale, US; Chicago, US; and Imperial College, London, UK.

Private sector educationists and civil society representatives said the relatively poor performance of Sri Lankan universities in the global ranking puts last week’s Cabinet decision to set up 10 more in the country under further scrutiny. The need for improving existing universities to match up to global standards was stressed.

A proposal by Minister of Higher Education Bandula Gunawardena to build 10 universities by increasing the current Rs. 165 million ADB loan amount by Rs. 50 million was approved by the Cabinet. The new national universities will be built in Kalutara, Nuwara Eliya, Hambantota, Matara, and Galle districts, starting this year, Gunawardena said.

The new additions are a part of moves to increase the number of students admitted to State universities from 30,000 to 60,000. The university system will be expanded using an increased loan amount, provided by the ADB’s Science Technology and Human Resources project.

The Cabinet also decided the University of Sri Jayewardenepura will be developed as an international research university. An allergy, immune, and surgical biology unit and a modern investigation unit for non-communicable diseases and allergies is expected to be established.

Under the program, Rs. 400 million will be allocated for the purchase of respective equipment.

The University of Sri Jayewardenepura is already in the process of exchanging students and professors with the USA, UK, and Sweden. Research programs with foreign experts and scholars will be expanded in the future.

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