What makes a university great? It is the quality of education and research, and not brick and mortar! What counts is the total number and percentage of faculty with a PhD degree, total number of journal research publications and publication per faculty, international eminence of the faculty, which includes winning of recognized global awards, quality of education, including the number of globally accredited programs, number of applicants and the acceptance ratio, supporting infrastructure including scientific equipment, library resources and computer connectivity, and the profile of the board among others. The Times Higher Education (THE), and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) are among the two most popular university ranking organizations that surveys and publishes every year a list of the top ranked universities of the world. Many of the well-recognized universities from the developed world make it to the top 100 universities of the world. On the other hand, most universities from the developing world, in particular from the region west of India do not make it to the top 500. However, in the last decade, with a significant improvement in quality of education and research, some of the universities from this region have started to be included in the list. In the most recent THE 2021 Rankings, which follow a more stringent criteria, 12 universities from West Asia are included in the top 500 universities of the world. The top three universities among this ranking are the King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia ranked between 201-250, followed by UAE University ranked between 301-350. The country-wide breakdown is as follows: UAE, Iran, and Egypt each have two universities ranked, while Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar, Pakistan and Turkey each have one university ranked. On the other hand, in the QS 2021 Rankings, 15 universities from West Asia are included in the top 500 universities of the world. The top three universities among this ranking are King Abdulaziz University (143) and King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (186), both from the UAE and Saudi Arabia Khalifa University (221). The country-wide breakdown is as follows: Saudi Arabia and UAE each have three universities ranked, Pakistan, and Iran each have two universities ranked, and Qatar, Lebanon, Oman, Turkey and Egypt each have one university ranked. Pakistan has 220 public and private universities. Of all these universities, only 3 universities are included in the rankings above, which includes Pakistan Institute of Engineering and Applied Sciences (PIEAS) at QS 375, National University of Science and Technology (NUST) at QS 400, and Quaid-e-Azam University (QAU) at THE 401-500. This does not mean any of the other universities are worse off, as the ranking to be included in the top 500 universities of the world is extremely competitive, as there are more than 25,000 universities around the world. Many of the good universities in Pakistan either do not participate in the rankings, or provide incomplete data, or miss the deadline. Some of the best-known universities in Pakistan include LUMS (Lahore), Aga Khan University (Karachi) and the Ghulam Ishaq Khan (GIK) Institute of Engineering Sciences & Technology (Topi) with a few others following closely behind. The Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan also ranks Pakistani universities every year using its own criteria. The HEC ranking is available at https://hec.gov.pk/english/services/universities/Ranking/2010/Pages/Category-Wise-Rankings.aspx . With new emerging programs and technologies, including Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Cyber Security, etc. and major advances taking place in traditional disciplines like Biotechnology, Material Sciences, Space Sciences, Energy, etc. it is becoming extremely competitive to be among the best, unless state-of-the-art scientific equipment and trained faculty are available. Universities in the developed world, and those with a higher GDP, tend to attract the best faculty leading to a continuous and significant brain drain from the developing countries, putting their universities at a disadvantage. Universities in the developing world will only be able to compete if adequate financial resources and incentives are made available to the higher education sector, and the brain drain reversed, failing which they will lose the gains they have made in the last decade. This is a challenge that the leadership in developing countries need to understand and tackle. Brain drain also occurs when talented students move abroad for higher studies when enough research opportunities are not available in their own countries. This is yet another reason that developing countries need to invest more in the R & D sector (research and development) of their universities so that the best students acquiring top positions should be encouraged to say back, acquire higher education and do research within the country, which also add to the economy, as foreign exchange is saved. The students should be provided with an adequate platform to display their talents and ideas. Only when universities from other countries are able to provide better scholarships and learning opportunities will they easily get attracted to those universities. Therefore, there is no other way that a country can prosper and progress without first improving the quality of its education and providing the students with good opportunities for research. “The main hope of a nation lies in the proper education of its youth”. (Erasmus) But then it is not only about higher education. There are a lot of other factors as well in education, which starts from home grooming and primary education, as the first few years of a child’s life play a vital role in making the education canon of an individual. Education departments in developing countries should inculcate the positive points of the country into their own curriculum and learning. Developing countries are facing a lot of other problems, including religious conflicts, terrorism etc. which affects their education, however, proper and sound training and strategies can bring universities in developing countries to the level of the top-ranking universities of the world. One should therefore be positive and strive to offer a better and secure future for our youth with improvements in the education sectors in Muslim countries. Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all. (Emily Dickinson) The writers are Dr. Sidra Tariq Jamil who is a Communications Expert at ICESCO, Morocco and Dr. Javaid Laghari, the former Chairperson HEC, Pakistan.