Israel is the only Middle Eastern country whose universities made the grade for this year’s Times Higher Education global school rankings, annually released in conjunction with the start of the new school year.
Although Middle Eastern universities fared well in the recent QS world university ranking, only two schools made the top 200 of the THE list. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem came in 121st place, while Tel Aviv University took the 166th slot.
As expected, United States schools dominated the 2011-2012 rankings, claiming seven of the top 10 and 75 of the first 200 spots on the list. However, Harvard was knocked from its top slot for the first time since the rankings were first published eight years ago. California Institute of Technology nabbed the number one ranking for its "consistent results across the indicators and a steep rise in research funding." Harvard and Stanford are tied for second.
Only two universities outside American and England made the top 20. Switzerland's Federal Institute of Technology received the 15th spot and Canada's University of Toronto sits at number 19.
"Higher education is essential to world economies," said Ann Mroz, editor of the THE magazine. "When it comes to universities, the status quo cannot continue and we must not just rest on our laurels."
"New powers are emerging, traditional hierarchies are facing challenges, the global competition for talent is heating up and these league tables help us understand this rapidly changing situation."
THE evaluates universities based on 13 performance indicators within the fields of research, teaching, knowledge transfer and international activity.