Slump in global university rankings should worry nation
The China Post news staffThe annual league table of the world's best universities published on Wednesday does not make positive reading for Taiwan with its most prestigious institutions dropping down in the rankings. Even more worrisome, it has been suggested the English language is to blame for the slump.
October 6, 2013, 12:08 am TWN
Contrary to all expectations, two Beijing-based universities edged into the top 50 of the annual Times Higher Education Ranking, namely Peking University, which moved up one place to the 45th spot, and Tsinghua University, which rose two places to join the 50th position.
According to the editor of the Times Higher Education Rankings, both universities have improved their positions and edged closer to the best in the world thanks to their ability to attract global talent and inspire young leaders.
Four other Chinese universities also entered the top 300, namely Fudan University in Shanghai, the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, Renmin University of China in Beijing and Nanjing University in the city of the same name. Together with Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Wuhan University of Technology, Hangzhou's Zhejiang University and Guangzhou's Sun Yat-sen University, the total number of universities from mainland China on the top 400 list is now brought to 10.
At the same time, National Taiwan University (NTU) slipped down eight places to the 142nd position this year, causing great concerns about the country's leading educational institution's ability to compete with other major Asian universities in the future. Together, NTU, National Chiao Tung University, National Tsing Hua University, National Cheng Kung University and National Sun Yat-Sen University are only listed among the top 350 universities in the ranking. We sincerely hope that the Ministry of Education will further push for strong reform and better performance management measures for both teachers and students.
Take Taiwan's English teaching for example: most people still don't know that the best way to learn vocabulary is to read books, magazines and newspapers. Starting from kindergarten up to university, most people believe that the only way to learn a foreign language is to memorize it. Yet, parents, children and even teachers should agree that the best way to learn new words is to figure out meanings from context. Just read two or three new books every week, including classics like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, and your vocabulary levels should increase dramatically.