Over at Inside HigherEd, Scott Jaschik has an interesting interview with Philip G. Altbach (director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College) and Jorge Balán (visiting professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto), who have edited World Class Worldwide: Transforming Research Universities in Asia and Latin America. The discussion covers quite a few topics related to university systems in the US and Europe on the one hand, and those in Latin America and Asia on the other. A quick excerpt:
Q: Americans are used to paying attention to developments at Oxford and Cambridge and more recently at IIT. Are there a few research universities in developing nations that deserve close attention?
A: Americans should carefully watch developments among the top universities in Asia. In Japan, the University of Tokyo, the University of Kyoto, and Waseta University are “world class” — along with some others. Seoul National University in Korea, and several universities in Taiwan are also excellent. A half dozen top Chinese universities are moving ahead rapidly, including Peking University, Tsinghua University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Fudan University, and a few others. The University of Hong Kong, the National University of Singapore, are the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok are also very good. Curiously enough, although the Indian Institutes of Technology produce outstanding graduates, they are not research universities — they are small, high specialized, and do not have appropriate infrastructures. There in no Indian universities that rank along the institutions mentioned here. Thus, the United States and Europe should look at what is happening in Asia.