He also noted that the university had not submitted a list of its published research to the rankings’ evaluation department and had failed to fill university leadership positions in the past two years.
It is not clear how those omissions affected the university’s score in the rankings. Kuwait University recently installed a new director, who has put improving the university’s place in international rankings among his priorities.
QS Rankings Methodologies
The QS World University Rankings are based on six metrics, including a “citations per faculty” measure, which QS calculates as a measure of institutional research quality. This factor accounts for 20 percent of a university’s total score.
The metric given the most weight (40 percent) is an academic reputation score, which QS calculates based on a survey of academic opinion regarding teaching and research quality at universities.
Other factors QS considers are an employer reputation metric (10 percent of the total score), based on a survey of employers’ opinions of which institutions are producing the best graduates; an institution’s faculty/student ratio (20 percent); and ratios of international faculty and international students (5 percent each).
In a separate QS ranking of universities in the Arab world, Kuwait University has fared better. It ranked 27th out of 181 Arab institutions ranked in 2022. The year before, it ranked 22nd out of 160 universities, and in 2020 it was 21st out of 130 universities. In other words, it ranked within or near the top 15 percent of all Arab institutions ranked in each of those years.
The Arab regional rankings use a different methodology than the global rankings. The regional rankings are based on 10 metrics and put less weight on citations, among other differences.
Kuwait University’s Particularity
Abdullah Alhajeri, acting dean of Kuwait University’s College of Arts, agrees that the global ranking “does not take into account Kuwait University’s specific situation.”
He tweeted that “the problem of the global rankings of Kuwait University lies in the fact that the rankings have various criteria not acceptable even for the university’s critics themselves.”
For example, admitting more international students would be difficult at a time when the university has had to reduce enrollments and is turning away qualified Kuwaiti students.
He also mentioned concerns over “requirements to raise the budget allocated for research, and ease the quorum for faculty members to devote themselves to research rather than being overburdened with teaching.”