Emerging Economies University Rankings 2021: promising partnerships

Better technology and a global focus may pull the higher education world closer together

March 9, 2021
Two dogs on beach carrying a stick as a metaphor for academic partnerships
Source: iStock

Browse the full THE Emerging Economies University Rankings 2021 results


From access to basic equipment, technology and quiet working spaces to childcare burdens and job cuts, the pandemic has exacerbated existing disparities among individuals, communities, institutions and countries.

The increased attention on inequalities has also sparked hope that systems and structures will change and that academia will become more inclusive. Universities in emerging economies could be among the beneficiaries.

Some experts have suggested that international partnerships could become more equitable, with institutions in developing countries better able to assert their value and authority within collaborative research projects.

Gerard Postiglione, emeritus professor of higher education at the University of Hong Kong and coordinator of the Consortium for Higher Education Research in Asia, says that two trends which started before Covid-19 but have since accelerated may help emerging countries in this regard.

One is the rapid acceleration of technology, which “makes it possible for developing countries’ universities to enter global knowledge networks” in a way they have not previously. Another is the increasing drive among top universities, higher education systems and governments in developed countries to solve global problems, which makes institutions in other parts of the world even more attractive and useful partners.


Download a free copy of the Emerging Economies University Rankings 2021 digital supplement


But our analysis also highlights the challenges that developing nations in Africa, Asia and Europe will need to overcome, with scholars warning that the pandemic may only increase the gap between research quantity and quality in more and less advanced systems.

The Emerging Economies University Rankings itself was born out of a desire to be more equal. It was designed to highlight countries that were often overlooked in the global league table and to provide universities in such nations a chance to benchmark themselves against peers operating in similar economic environments. The methodology of the World University Rankings was tweaked for this spin-off to reflect the development priorities of universities in emerging economies. The Emerging methodology gives more weight to knowledge transfer and international outlook and less to research influence.

The data behind the 2021 table, our eighth edition, pre-date the Covid-19 crisis, but they suggest which institutions and countries may be best equipped to withstand its effects. China now takes the five top places, up from the top four last year, while institutions in Russia, Taiwan and South Africa remain in the top 10.

But, as our chart shows, China is not the only system that has been rapidly improving. Malaysia, India and Egypt have also made great strides over the past two years.

We look forward to providing more insights as you continue to improve, overcome the effects of the pandemic and become more equal and valued higher education partners.

 ellie.bothwell@timeshighereducation.com


Countries/regions represented in the THE Emerging Economies University Rankings 2021

Country/region

No of institutions in ranking

Top institution

Rank

China

91

Tsinghua University

1

India

63

Indian Institute of Science

=14

Brazil

52

University of São Paulo

13

Russian Federation

48

Lomonosov Moscow State University

6

Turkey

43

Sabancı University

44

Taiwan

38

National Taiwan University (NTU)

8

Chile

21

Pontifical Catholic University of Chile

=53

Egypt

21

Mansoura University

=94

Czech Republic

18

Charles University in Prague

=64

Thailand

17

Mahidol University

80

Mexico

16

National Autonomous University of Mexico

=129

Pakistan

16

Quaid-i-Azam University

=105

Malaysia

15

University of Malaya

31

Romania

13

Bucharest University of Economic Studies

201–250

South Africa

11

University of Cape Town

10

Greece

10

University of Crete

=68

Saudi Arabia

10

King Abdulaziz University

16

Colombia

9

Pontifical Javeriana University

=94

Hungary

9

Semmelweis University

=64

Indonesia

9

University of Indonesia

=116

Nigeria

6

University of Ibadan

111

Slovakia

6

Pavol Jozef Šafárik University in Košice

201–250

Tunisia

6

University of Sfax, University of Tunis El Manar

351–400

Jordan

5

Jordan University of Science and Technology

77

Morocco

5

Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University

251–300

United Arab Emirates

5

Khalifa University

=20

Lithuania

4

Vilnius University

201–250

Cyprus

3

Cyprus University of Technology

50

Estonia

3

University of Tartu

37

Kazakhstan

3

Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

251–300

Latvia

3

University of Latvia

=147

Vietnam

3

Vietnam National University, Hanoi

251–300

Bangladesh

2

University of Dhaka

351–400

Croatia

2

University of Split

201–250

Iceland

2

University of Iceland

=45

Peru

2

Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia

=122

Philippines

2

University of the Philippines

83

Serbia

2

University of Belgrade

=162

Slovenia

2

University of Ljubljana

=187

Sri Lanka

2

University of Peradeniya

103

Botswana

1

University of Botswana

401–500

Bulgaria

1

Sofia University

401–500

Ghana

1

University of Ghana

251–300

Kenya

1

University of Nairobi

201–250

Kuwait

1

Kuwait University

251–300

Malta

1

University of Malta

=177

Oman

1

Sultan Qaboos University

175

Qatar

1

Qatar University

26

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