Pakistan has world's weakest higher education system, say QS rankings

Published: May 20, 2016
With an overall score of 9.2, Pakistan higher education system ranked 50 as compared to India which ranked 24. PHOTO: FILE

With an overall score of 9.2, Pakistan higher education system ranked 50 as compared to India which ranked 24. PHOTO: FILE

Pakistan has the world’s weakest higher education system while US and UK have the strongest.

Pakistan has been ranked 50, with an overall score of 9.2 by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a British ranking agency. Despite the government’s claims to have invested billions in the country’s education system, Pakistan secured the lowest ranking of the fifty countries included in the list.

Six Pakistani institutes among world’s top 800 universities

The United States received the top spot on the table with an overall score off 100 points, followed by the United Kingdom (98.5 points). While, India was ranked 24 with 60.9 points.

The QS higher education system strength rankings is divided into four categories: system strength, access, flagship institution and economic context.

Countries with the best higher education systems:

United States – 100

United Kingdom – 98.5

Germany – 94

Australia – 92.6

Canada – 90.2

France – 89

Netherlands – 84.8

China – 83.5

South Korea – 80.1

Japan – 78.5

System Strength

The category assesses ‘overall national system strength’, based on how many of the country’s universities are featured in international rankings.

“Each country is awarded a score based on the number of its institutions which are ranked 700 or above in the QS World University Rankings®, divided by the average position of those institutions. The aim is to give an overall indication of each country’s standing in the global ranking tables,” the website stated.

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Varsities under this category are ranked according to the number of places available at internationally ranked universities.

Flagship instituition

The ‘flagship’ category assesses the performance of the country’s leading institution within global rankings.

“This is a normalised score, based on the place each nation’s top university occupies in the QS World University Rankings.”

Economic context

The economic context takes into account the impact of “national investment in higher education, by comparing each nation’s financial situation to its performance in the international rankings.”

Taking all four categories into consideration, Pakistan has been ranked at the bottom of the table as compared to Canada 5, France 6, China 8, Saudi Arabia 36 and Turkey 39 among several other countries.


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Reader Comments (61)

  • Dajjal
    May 20, 2016 - 12:38PM

    Well, At least that explains some of the blogs on Tribune…Recommend

  • Aap ki raay
    May 20, 2016 - 12:44PM

    Were are all the patriots?????Recommend

  • May 20, 2016 - 12:50PM

    Here UK is 98.5. 90 % UK universities are just for making money.Recommend

  • Seeker
    May 20, 2016 - 1:19PM

    so i am having a Phd at the top institute of Pakistan (QS ranked) …. i applied for a scholarship and the per monthly scholarship that they were gonna give me was 2000Rs. How should i do research in the most tough subject when i have to worry about all the time how to support myself? Secondly, there is no research culture as it never was the priority,,, if individuals can do research all by themselves then its fine…. otherwise there is no one to properly guide youRecommend

  • Hameed
    May 20, 2016 - 1:24PM

    @Shahid Akram:

    Here UK is 98.5. 90 % UK universities are just for making money.

    This shows how bad other countries are. Making money is standard all over the world.Recommend

  • Rajesh
    May 20, 2016 - 1:32PM

    Wow where are the advisers who advise india to spend on education rather than missiles. The above statistics is enough to shut their mouths.Recommend

  • Parvez
    May 20, 2016 - 1:33PM

    When money allocated for education finds its way into expensive real estate in Dubai and London etc…….I am not surprised that Pakistan is at the bottom of the list.Recommend

  • Feroz
    May 20, 2016 - 1:33PM

    Why compare with India which is ranked 24, goal should be getting to No 1.Recommend

  • ASah
    May 20, 2016 - 1:55PM

    Well at least Pakistan have nukes!Recommend

  • Adnan Siddiqui
    May 20, 2016 - 2:01PM

    What about Islamic Education???Recommend

  • Quaid e azams grave
    May 20, 2016 - 2:24PM

    Nukes and Osama are achievementsRecommend

  • Adnan
    May 20, 2016 - 2:34PM

    It is unfair to compare Pakistan with the rest of the world.
    Pakistan provides the BEST Islamic Education in the world. Where is the list for that?Recommend

  • Revenge
    May 20, 2016 - 2:55PM

    No surprises, the money meant to be spend on education and healthcare is used to buy F-16s that too on subsidy. Thats why they keep begging to US, WB, IMF, ADB and China.Recommend

  • May 20, 2016 - 2:59PM

    What a crappy piece of sensationalist journalism. You start with the tag line of Pakistan having weakest higher education in the world when only 50 countries (almost 90% from developed world) are part of the ranking. Of course we are behind Austria, Sweden, USA and UK, but that doesn’t mean we have the “weakest” higher education in world!!Recommend

  • Basit
    May 20, 2016 - 3:08PM

    So Pakistan is in the top 50! They’ve only ranked the top 50! Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are nowhere to be found. Recommend

  • Saljooq Altaf
    May 20, 2016 - 3:27PM

    @Fahad Javed:
    Are you not satisfied that we’ve been listed at the bottom, despite there being India, Kazakhastan, Lebanon, Estonia and even freaking Ukrain in the list?
    Do you want a separate article with Pakistan being compared to Uganda, Nairobi, Syria and Afghanistan?
    I think its you who is lowering his expectationsRecommend

  • Ch. Allah Daad
    May 20, 2016 - 4:29PM

    UK is one of the best. Are you kidding? There are so many UK graduates messing up things here in Pakistan. Our great Khan is one of them. Recommend

  • Down with Corruption
    May 20, 2016 - 4:31PM

    When secondary things take the place of primary things and when PM’s 1st priority is to build transport system rather than a comprehensive education system with High Standards then this type of reflection will always be there, no doubt!Recommend

  • Farhan Farrukh
    May 20, 2016 - 4:42PM

    Dont agree with it as I think we have good universities in Pakistan how did QS came up with the rankings ??? Why are we not asking questions about it as how they came up with this rank and how they evaluated us? Don’t agree with it.Recommend

  • USK
    May 20, 2016 - 4:50PM

    When a Ph.D from a U.S University, in Electrical and computer engineering gets a pay of around 1.5 lac per month whereas a tv anchor (who don’t do anything except daily chat) earns in around 20 to 30 lac per month, how do you expect he would like to stay in Pakistan unless he is himself useless. If only useless people will stay in Pakistan higher education, why do you expect a good output from Higher Education system? If you want good result, please give Ph.D. ten times more than the TV anchors. Recommend

  • Umar
    May 20, 2016 - 4:56PM

    @Shahid Akram:
    You are mixing UK colleges with their Universities. Its the colleges that are scam and are purpose built money machines .Recommend

  • Shoeb
    May 20, 2016 - 4:57PM

    Higher education is not important. Our focus should only be on making more and more Nuclear bombs and F-16. We don’t want anything else like rest of selfish world, stupidly spending on education, health, transportation, polio, poverty eradication, manufacturing and jobs. Who needs these?Recommend

  • Rahul
    May 20, 2016 - 5:08PM

    Pakistan has got Allah in its corner, why does it need anything else?Recommend

  • Amir
    May 20, 2016 - 5:34PM

    If the report is accurate I am not surprised at all. With ‘looteras’ ruling over Pakistan for most of it’s existence what else can one expect?

    The priority of our current leaders is mega ‘construction’ projects where massive amounts of steel and cement are consumed and we all know who produces these !

    It would be interesting if someone takes time to find out the prices at which these items are supplied to the mega projects compared to their prevailing market prices. I am sure this information will be an eye opener for our harried citizens.

    Offshore companies Zindabad !!Recommend

  • Beast
    May 20, 2016 - 5:46PM

    Disagreed with the biased list.Students from all over Asia comes to study in the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS),the Harvard of the East.Recommend

  • zainab ihsan
    May 20, 2016 - 6:12PM

    @Farhan Farrukh:
    if you dont agree with it what do you want us to do about it? they have gievn the link and the link explains how the ranking was done. why don’t you read that yourself instead of expecting the newspaper to spoon feed you. people like you are exactly why education system is in it’s current state. Recommend

  • SaneVoice
    May 20, 2016 - 7:07PM

    No surprises here. The article didn’t even mention the worst aspects. When institutions will consider themselves important over education than this is exactly what will happen. There is no fair evaluation system, everything is subordinate to personal biases and nepotism….Such practices are more prevalent at University level, complain to HEC and they don’t even have time to reply. Recommend

  • kunta
    May 20, 2016 - 9:01PM

    @USK: “When a Ph.D from a U.S University, in Electrical and computer engineering gets a pay of around 1.5 lac per month whereas a tv anchor (who don’t do anything except daily chat) earns in around 20 to 30 lac per month, how do you expect he would like to stay in Pakistan unless he is himself useless.”
    The issue isn’t whether a Pakistan PhD makes less money than Pakistan TV anchor … PhD’s in America make a tiny fraction of what a TV anchor makes. The issue is how Pakistan’s higher education is viewed by the World. Lots of Pakistani PhD’s driving taxis in NYC. Recommend

  • Mehran
    May 20, 2016 - 11:59PM

    Oh boy, this is brutal… :-( we are barely there in the list… Recommend

  • Sorry
    May 21, 2016 - 1:43AM

    With all due respect, Islamic education has no practical or worldly value.Recommend

  • Seriously Sarcastic Scrubbing, Australia
    May 21, 2016 - 2:40AM

    But Pakistan has applied for NSG membership as China wants Pakistan to give shoulder to hold their guns. And where is the list of ranking for Madrasah education where Pakistan will be the first in ranking?
    For now this ranking is a conspiracy of the world and Indians to shame Pakistan.Recommend

  • Mussa
    May 21, 2016 - 4:01AM

    I am a Pakistani and congratulates India on its 24th ranking. Well done. We must admit our weaknesses. This clearly shows how serious or committed our government is. In fact, it’s just not their forte. Whereas most of the money goes to defense and corruption, education is at the bottom. Our leaders are good at asking money from all over the world without any shame. But they have no clue what should be the priority. And our public selects them again and again. You deserve this.Recommend

  • Tahir Mehmood Khan
    May 21, 2016 - 4:04AM

    Nonsense, I am the product of same education system and taught in top 100 universities of world. Recommend

  • ask
    May 21, 2016 - 8:25AM

    One can start by aiming initially at #49 Recommend

  • IndianDude
    May 21, 2016 - 8:43AM

    Why is this a headline worthy news? It is obvious to anyone who has interacted with the educated Pakistanis.Recommend

  • IndianDude
    May 21, 2016 - 8:55AM

    I think this statistics are wrong! Was AXAT, the best Pakistani phD graduate producing university, included in this calculations?Recommend

  • Amin
    May 21, 2016 - 9:25AM

    Inshallah Now that we have one of the best defence systems in place

    Time has come to commence building our institutions.
    The processes should begin with the following:

    Increase exports revenue.
    Eliminate corruption.
    Pakistan should spend the money on its people.
    Create Jobs, provide free Health and free Education and provide justice.
    World will be at our Mercy.

    When State provides free health, education and good income, every mother, daughter and son will stand in front of our enemy like a Iron Clad. (Inshallah) Recommend

  • Abdul Awwal
    May 21, 2016 - 9:45AM

    Atleast our erstwhile brothers can take refuge in the fact that Osama Bin Laden preferred to teach in Pakistan. Mullah Omar preferred to teach in Pakistan. Since they are the best teachers and universities by themselvRecommend

  • a common man
    May 21, 2016 - 10:06AM

    I am not surprised at all by these statistics. It is clear that the money is spent elsewhere because if our government begins investing the education sector then the masses will get mobilized and will become more aware of their rights hence requiring the government to be more accountable to the people who elected it. Spending on education is contrary to government’s interest. Recommend

  • wajid ali
    May 21, 2016 - 10:44AM

    i am surprise about china, how it could be possible and more surprising is that japan lies below china in the listRecommend

  • jaes
    May 21, 2016 - 11:37AM

    @Shahid Akram:
    question is not of economy but the quality of educationRecommend

  • brar
    May 21, 2016 - 12:10PM

    @Fahad Javed: So you want to compete with Somalia, Ethopia.Sudan and if that is done even then you will not be No.1 you did not call it a conspiracy against the only Muslim Nuclear state perhaps you forget.Recommend

  • brar
    May 21, 2016 - 12:19PM

    @Farhan Farrukh: You have every right to dis agree , AXACT CEO was also claiming to be the larget exporter of shoft ware where as he was exporting fake degrees.Recommend

  • Amin
    May 21, 2016 - 1:07PM

    @Shahid Akram:

    My friend,

    We should grab the bull by its Horns, strong economy could solve lots of Pakistani people issues, for instance education, health, employment and social security.

    Economy is the answer.

    did you notice China has got a better education system then Japan.

    Baghdad was a super power in its glory days due to the trading route which connected China, South Asia to Europe.Recommend

  • Tyggar
    May 21, 2016 - 4:47PM

    This is unfair. At least in History Pakistan should top. After all Pakistan makes up its own history while others merely copy from renowned historiansRecommend

  • Tigerstone
    May 22, 2016 - 2:12AM

    Who are British to determine our education status? Are we still living in a British colony?Recommend

  • Naim
    May 22, 2016 - 10:44AM

    @Ch. Allah
    Sir you are related to PMLN group, ( Panama leaks group ) the great Khan has done a lot for Pakistan. As a cricketer. Recommend

  • truthbetold
    May 22, 2016 - 11:15AM

    “Who are British to determine our education status? Are we still living in a British colony?”

    No, you are not living in a British colony, but your whole nation is beating down the door to migrate to Britain legally or illegally.Recommend

  • tazia
    May 22, 2016 - 2:05PM

    They conducted this survey of all 200+ countries in the world ? if not then you cannot claim Pakistan as weakest in the world. Maybe in the selected group of countries, it might be true but it cannot be the weaker than a lot of other African or Asian countries.

    No one knows what are the other assumptions, criteria used for this study.


    May 22, 2016 - 3:48PM

    In our Pakistani Universities,Firstly, Our higher faculty members’s priorities are to save only their seats, they do not give appropriate/ Adequate respect to new PhD Doctors and researchers instead some of them only promote ladies. How can our higher education system be improved when there is no respect for the teachers who build the nation…
    Secondly, Our Universities and their infrastructures are very poor mostly and research environment has not been provided both by the Institutions and Authorities.this is just a little shadow i provided you..Situation is a lot more poor in Pakistan :(Recommend

  • Tigerstone
    May 22, 2016 - 6:28PM

    Disagree,there are lot more opportunities in Asia than in United Kingdom.Recommend

  • Iqbal
    May 22, 2016 - 7:17PM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    “There are so many UK graduates messing up things here in Pakistan. “
    You are absolutely correct. That includes Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Hope you are educated enough to know who he was.Recommend

  • Mastishhk
    May 22, 2016 - 10:49PM

    CPEC will change everything :)Recommend

  • Mastishhk
    May 22, 2016 - 11:07PM

    Don’t worry guys..CPEC will propel us to the top !!Recommend

  • Muhammad Amer Bajwa
    May 23, 2016 - 12:36PM

    This is because our leadership doesn’t know the importance of education. They are not aware of this that education builds the nations. It makes respectable societies. The societies which rule and lead the world. At the moment, USA, UK, Germany, Australia, Canada, Netherlands, China, South Korea, Japan are among those countries which are controlling the major resources of the world because they have better management to do so. The better management is result of better education. Is our leadership in a position to recognize that? I don’t think so. It is time to make the realize that. We should convey them that we dont need other things but the education. We should demand to keep the education at top most priority.Recommend

  • Sajida
    May 29, 2016 - 8:25PM

    Since most US public school students are poor getting poor quality education, they will not enjoy these US universities. Meanwhile UK may have top universities;but country is sinking (despite being led by grads of top UK universities)!Recommend

  • Fida
    May 30, 2016 - 8:41AM

    Why don’t we self-assess our system of education and compare the results with the report from the QS. Those who do not agree with the QS report should undertake such a study and convince the nation that Pakistan is doing better.

    Fida Recommend

  • parwaz khan
    Jun 3, 2016 - 10:59AM

    Good to see that my country India is on 24 but its not enough we have to do lot of work on education Recommend

    Aug 18, 2016 - 12:55PM

    @Seeker: Please do not waste your time by doing PhD in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Behroz Essani
    Aug 18, 2016 - 11:35PM

    Well that’s how it is. People appreciating Pakistan on providing Islamic education?? Seriously! Where do you think this might help us. We need good educators rather than intolerant jerksRecommend

  • usuf
    Sep 10, 2016 - 5:44PM

    Pakistan can never improve in education because education is about change,its about questioning,its about reasoning and in a country where religion is the basis of everything an educated mind will never develop.Recommend

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