This is Asia's most prestigious university

University Town, National University of Singapore.
National University of Singapore
University Town, National University of Singapore.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) has once again scored the highest marks in a ranking of Asia's top universities, underscoring the city-state's position as a leading educational hub.

Quacquarelli Symonds' (QS) annual ranking of Asian universities, published on Wednesday, grades the region's top 300 tertiary education institutions based on nine areas of performance including student/faculty ratio, employer reputation and papers per faculty.

NUS has made rapid progress up the ranking since it was launched by higher education research provider QS in 2009, ascending from an original 10th place to first in 2014.

"The leading Singaporean universities have, despite their differences, something in common: an insatiable quest for excellence and an unwavering ambition, supported by a favorable environment, which places education and innovation among the top priorities of the city-state's agenda," said Ben Sowter, head of research at QS.

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"The historical analysis of the rankings shows that universities to maintain their position year on year need to constantly improve. Hence, when they rise or if they stay firmly at the top of the table, it means that they are effectively progressing perceptibly faster than their peers," he noted.

While Singapore held on to its gold medal, rival regional education hub Hong Kong claimed second place.

The University of Hong Kong placed second, followed by Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Singapore's Nanyang Technological University and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in the third, fourth and fifth spots.

China vs India

But region's economic powers, China and India, had little representation in the top 10. China claimed just one spot, with Peking University in sixth place, while India did not feature at all.

Among the top 100 there were a total of 25 Chinese institutions and 9 Indian institutions.

"The majority of the ranked Chinese institutions are increasing their research output, spurred by the impressive and sustained level of public and private investment, second only to the U.S.," said Sowter.

"However, the country's leading universities are still lagging behind in terms of research citation numbers, which reveal the impact of the research they produce," he added.

Explaining India's mediocre showing in the rankings, Sowter said the country's universities ha d not received funding on the scale enjoyed by their Chinese counterparts.

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) account for seven of the country's top ten institutions in the latest ranking.