Top Philippine schools slid further down a world university ranking this year, a poor performance linked by an official of the highest-ranked Filipino school to weak state support.
The country's universities failed to make it to the top 300 in the 2012-2013 list released Tuesday by London-based education research firm Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).
The University of the Philippines remained the top Filipino school in the list, although slipping to being ranked 348th this year from 332nd in the previous list.
Ateneo de Manila University dropped to the 451-500 bracket from being ranked 360th last year.
Also sliding down the list was De La Salle University, which now falls under the 601+ bracket from being in the 551-600 bracket a year ago.
It joins the University of Santo Tomas which stayed in the same bracket as its 2011-2012 ranking.
This year's list is based on an index calculated from the results of separate surveys of over 46,000 academics and 25,000 employers, which QS said are "two of the largest of their kind ever compiled."
The index takes into account academic reputation (40%), employer reputation (10%), faculty-to-student ratio (20%), citations per faculty (20%), international faculty (5%) and international students (5%).
"The 2012 findings reflect the rapidly-evolving global higher education landscape and point towards the early effects of changes in government funding policies seen around the world," Ben Sowter, QS head of research, said in a statement.
Leading universities in Asia, including those in Hong Kong, Singapore, Kora, Japan and China made it to the top 50 in the list, along with European and American schools.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology topped the list for the first time this year, taking the spot from UK-based Cambridge University, which ranked second this year.
Rounding out the list of the top 10 schools were the Harvard University, University College of London, University of Oxford, Imperial College London, Yale University, University of Chicago, Princeton University and the California Institure of Technology.
Philippine universities fared poorly in terms of state support compared to other schools in the world and even in the region, Prospero de Vera, UP vice-president for public affairs, said in a phone interview.
"Governments are pumping money into their universities, especially in Asia, so in effect we are competing with schools which get subsidies that the Philippine government cannot afford to provide," de Vera said.
He noted, however, that the increase in budget for state universities and colleges (SUCs) in 2013 is expected to improve the performance of the country's schools in global rankings,
The proposed budget next year includes P37.1 billion for SUCs, up 43.6 percent from P25.8 billion this year, President Benigno Aquino III said in his budget message to Congress.
UP is the only state-funded university out of the four schools in the QS list.
The national university is also at a disadvantage in terms of some of the criteria in the QS survey, de Vera said, pointing to the number of international students and faculty.
"We cannot aggressively recruit foreign students because as a state university, we must prioritize Filipino students. We also cannot aggressively recruit international faculty because the law does not allow us to give tenure to foreigners," de Vera told Yahoo! Southeast Asia.
Other factors that affected the performance of the country's schools are the inclusion of more schools in the survey and undervalued data, he added.