By Beting Laygo Dolor, Contributing Editor

The students, teachers, and staff at the state university get to keep their bragging rights. The University of the Philippines (UP) is still one of the top 100 universities in the region.

Specifically, UP retained its ranking as part of the 100 best schools in Asia, according to the 2021 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Asia rankings.

The QS rankings was released last week. It showed the country’s premier state university moving up by three spots, from 72nd in 2020 to 69th place.

The top university in Asia remains the National University of Singapore.

UP is the only Philippine school to be included in the top 100 list of QS Asia, while 13 others landed in the top 650 universities and colleges in Asia list.

Ateneo de Manila University landed on 135th place in the latest rankings, down from last year’s 124th spot, while its main competitor among private schools, De La Salle University (DLSU), also slipped to 166th place, from the previous 156thspot.

UP, Ateneo and La Salle are considered the Big Three among Philippine universities, academically speaking.

The trio is frequently cited as among the best in the region, if not the world.

An earlier global university ranking from London-based Times Higher Education (THE) cited UP and DLSU as among the top 1,000 schools in the world.

The two were the only Philippine institutions of higher learning in the list, with UP retaining its place in the 401st to 500thbracket, while DLSU remained in the 800th to 1,000th spot.

The House Committee on Higher and Technical Education last week approved a resolution commending UP and DLSU for retaining their lofty global rankings.

In the QS Asia rankings, the oldest university in Asia, the University of Santo Tomas, was included in the upper rankings, at 186th place, down from last year’s 179th spot.

The other Philippine universities in the QS list along with their current rankings are as follows:

University of San Carlos (451 to 500)

Ateneo de Davao University (501 to 550)

Mapua University (501 to 550)

Siliman University (501 to 550)

Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (551 to 600)

Adamson University (600+)

Central Luzon State University (600+)

Central Mindanao University (601+)

Central Philippine University (600+)

Xavier University (600+)

The QS Asia University rankings highlights the top universities in Asia, according to its website. The list has come out annually since 2009.

Rankings are based on 11 criteria, namely academic reputation (30 percent), employer reputation (20 percent), faculty/student ratio (10 percent), international research network (10 percent), citations per paper (10 percent), and papers per faculty (five percent), staff with a PhD (five percent), proportion of international faculty (two and a half percent), proportion of international students (two and a half percent), proportion of inbound exchange students (two and a half percent), and proportion of outbound exchange students (two and a half percent).

The rankings, on the other hand, are based on 13 performance indicators grouped into five areas, namely teaching (learning environment), research (volume, income, and reputation), citations (research influence), industry income (knowledge transfer), and international outlook (staff, students, and research).

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez last week moved for a resolution to likewise commend the 14 universities in the QB Asia list, which is twice the number of local institutions of higher learning compared to the previous list.

Although UP has been earning plaudits for decades, President Rodrigo Duterte recently threatened to cut the funding for the state university, ostensibly because its students were calling for a boycott of classes to protest various government actions.

It turned out that it was the students of Ateneo and not UP which had called for the boycott.