There are questions on whether the University of the South Pacific has in fact been ranked among the top ten percent of universities in the world.
The Times Higher Education ranking 2022 has placed Fiji in a band of 1,000 to 1,200 among the institutions surveyed.
The USP says this translates to a top 10% ranking out of about 2,000 surveyed.
However, there are more than 20,000 universities across the world, but the Times Higher Education rankings include fewer than 1,700 of them.
Phil Baty, Times Higher Education’s Chief Knowledge Officer has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat that the USP has an over-generous statistical interpretation.
Baty says while USP has been ranked in the top 1,200, they are not looking at all 20,000 institutions globally but narrowing it down to a group of around three or four thousand research universities.
As an international authority on university performance and strategy, Baty is urging USP to be cautious with future marketing strategies.
He adds they also run a reputation survey of 22,000 academics across the world and USP hasn’t done very well possibly because of a falling out between the university and the Fijian government.
Former USP Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research, Innovation and International, Professor Derrick Armstrong has also weighed in, saying the claims of the top ten percent in the world is a slightly controversial issue given the number of institutions surveyed.
“That is not the total universities in the world but USP is ranked in the top 1,200 of the 2,000 in the rankings so it is a little bit of a stretch. It’s certainly not in the ranking, and even in the world.”
Professor Armstrong says being included in the ranking and being recognized by the Times Higher Education is an achievement, but it should not be exaggerated.
Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Education, Professor Jito Vanualailai in response says the ABC report discredits a regional university and caused reputational risk to our researchers, staff and students.
He adds that based on 20,000 universities globally, the USP position is that the ranking would have the university in the top 10%.