Written by Pratumtip Thongcharoen
In modern society, there is a high competition in most activities: living, working and studying. Studying has become particularly competitive. Thus, universities have to preserve and develop their standard of 4 main missions: teaching, researching, community service and preservation of cultural and arts in order to being the top university ranking in Thailand, Asia and the world.
In Thailand, the Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC) and the Ministry of Education just announced the latest information (2010) that there are 157 Thai colleges and universities, 78 public universities, 14 autonomous universities, 69 private universities and 19 community colleges.
Most people know established universities such as Chulalongkorn University (95 years old), Thammasat University (77 years old), Kasetsart University, Mahidol University and Silpakorn University (all 68 years old), Chiangmai University (47 years old), Khon Kaen University (45 years old) and Prince of Songkla University (43 years old). These universities are well known, not only domestically, but also in Asia and the world. New universities such as the 40 Rajabhat Universities were established just over 5 years ago. Of course, they wish to go to the top ranking in the academic international forum, but it is difficult to reach that goal.
Each year, leading universities in different areas anxiously await the Ranking of their universities. There are many institutes who rank universities around the world:
1. Office of the Higher Education Commission (OHEC) -Thailand
– Specific 2 missions, research and teaching, which consider 7 fields
2. ASIAWEEK – Specific 2 missions, Multi-Disciplinary University and Science and Technology.
3. Times Higher Education (THE) – consider 5 missions
5. THES-Thomson Reuters
6. Quacquarelli Symonds - consider 5 missions in Asia and the world
7. SCImago Institutions Ranking (SIR) – specific international research publication
8. Webometrics – demonstrate both quality and quantity of electronic publishing together with other indicators which announce 2 times per a year (January and July)
These rankers have different factors for evaluating and ranking universities. This is a difficult task for them. Some rankers take about 1-2 factors into consideration, while others might take more than 2 factors, and some take an overall approach. There are seven main factors which the rankers usually consider.
1. Research Quality
2. Teaching Quality
3. Graduates' Employability
4. Research Publishication
5. Eco-Awareness (Natural and Friendly with Environment)
6. The number of Experts (Dr /Asst. Prof /Assoc. Prof. / Professor)
The following table is an example of Worldwide University Ranking in July, 2010 by Webometrics illustrating the specific top 10 Thai Universities as follows:
University ’s Name
Prince of Songkla University
Chiang Mai University
Khon Kaen University
Asian Institute of Technology
King Mongkut's University
of Technology Thonburi
Administrators face an enormous challenge in order to take their universities to be the top ranking because that ranking brings many benefits to their universities, including prestige and revenue. The older, well known universities have to ask themselves: How can we sustain our university's top ranking? Furthermore, they should not forget that the ranking changes every year, new universities might have a higher ranking one day.
However, if we consider the 40 Rajabhat Universities, we find that the top 10 universities in Thailand and the world, July 2010 by Webometrics, is as follows:
Rajabhat University ’s Name
Chandrakasem Rajabhat University
Yala Rajabhat University
Suratthani Rajabhat University
From the ranking tables above, it is clear that new universities such as the 40 Rajabhat Universities need to benchmark from old and established universities first, then they have to try more and more to develop 4 main missions and 7 factors as mention above.
The question for Suratthani Rajabhat University is: How can SRU achieve the top University Ranking? In this case, Asst.Prof.Dr.Narong Buddhichewin, the president of SRU, said in “Language of Thoughts” that “whenever most people are sitting, we have to walking; whenever they are walking, we have to be running; and if they are running, we have to run both day and night.” Stakeholders in SRU, such as administrators, lecturers, officers and students have to be aware and participate in finding the answer to this question together.
Narong Buddhichewin. 2010. Language of Thoughts : 33, Udomlarp Printing, Suratthani Province, Thailand.