King Abdulaziz University (KAU) has been ranked the top university among all Saudi and Arab institutions of higher learning in the Times Higher Education magazine’s Asia University Rankings 2013. KAU was followed by King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), which was ranked second, and King Saud University (KSU), which came in third. Among all universities in Asia, KAU came in at number 49, KFUPM at number 62 and KSU at number 77.
The Times University Rankings evaluate academic institutions based on their core missions and visions of teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. The rankings are based on 13 performance indicators intended to provide comprehensive and balanced comparisons.
“The list shows that Saudi institutions are firmly established among the best in the Asian continent and are very close to the world’s highest standards,” said Phil Baty, editor of THE magazine.
Professor Osama Sadik Tayyeb, President of KAU, said that the university is not just concerned about a high international ranking but aims at improving the academic performance of students and faculty as well as boosting community services and academic output in line with the highest international standards.
In response to the newly announced rankings, Professor Tayyeb gave thanks to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah for his support of Saudi universities and acknowledged the continuous efforts of Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Khalid Ibn Muhammad Al-Anqary, in developing KAU into the leading university in the Arab world. KAU has been cited as such by the Shanghai Ranking, QS World University Rankings and now The Times.
Additionally, Professor Tayyeb said that KAU is following strategic plans to serve the nation by transferring knowledge to the people and participating in the development of the Saudi economy. Many programs at the university are actively pursuing accreditation by international accreditation agencies from the US, Canada and Europe. The KAU Hospital already has been accredited by Accreditation Canada and is currently seeking comprehensive accreditation of all of its scientific programs by the National Commission for Academic Accreditation and Assessment.
To further the university’s development into the most respected of educational institutions, the KAU International Advisory Board was established. Its 20 members have previously distinguished themselves as university presidents and executive managers and are leaders in higher education, industry and public service. KAU professors and researchers are also actively participating in national and international conferences, and international research and academic centers have been established to encourage scientific research and publication in distinguished periodicals and magazines.
KAU was founded in 1967 and currently has more than 4,500 Ph.D.s on staff and hosts some 46,000 students from 60 countries. The university has 16 centers of research excellence, 24 scientific chairs and a research endowment. Its annual research funding has reached $70 million.
Saudi Arabia allocated $54.4 billion to education and training for 2013, a 21 percent increase over 2012.
According to The Times University Rankings, the top five universities in Asia are the University of Tokyo, National University of Singapore, the University of Hong Kong, Peking University and Pohang University of Science and Technology in the Republic of Korea. As for Arab and other Asian universities, The United Arab Emirates University is ranked number 86, followed by the American University of Beirut at number 87.