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China’s Peking University and Tsinghua held the top two spots.
The third place was taken by the University of Cape Town in South Africa.
The Chinese mainland claimed six spots in the top 20 rankings, 15 top 50, and 23 top 100 institutions.
Indian institutions make up about 10 per cent of the list, including nine top 50 places led by Punjab University in the 13th.
“China has emerged as the strongest higher education nation among the emerging economies,” said Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education Rankings.
“This success comes as a result of clear political leadership and strong financial support for the academy, and should serve as a lesson for the rest of the world,” he said. “It prioritized support for leading universities back in the 1990s and it is now seeing the benefits of that support.”
Baty said China “perhaps provides a model for the other BRICS countries in terms of focused, generous funding to a selected group of leading institutions, backed by a strong campaign to attract international talent.”
But according to Times, China still needs to improve by bringing in more autonomy for its educational system..
“Perhaps the final steps holding China back from true greatness in higher education are more autonomy for its universities, to allow them to be more flexible and dynamic in a global market, and further pedagogic reform, to encourage more creativity among the next generation of great scholars,” he said.
This is the world’s first ranking for universities in BRICS and other emerging economies.
According to Baty, the ranking was based on the same methodology as the World University Rankings, with 13 performance indicators in five areas used. These areas included teaching, research, citations, industry income and international outlook.
South Africa had in November proposed a substantial increase in investments to counter unemployment in BRICS nations calling for the establishment of a BRICS Youth Employment Fund to be set up by 2014.