Public ratings of all 10 of Hong Kong's universities and colleges have fallen sharply this year, the latest survey shows.
Baptist University had the biggest drop in scores, falling behind City University for the first time to rank sixth, according to a survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme.
"We believe sociopolitical factors are the reasons for the overall drop in public perception towards universities," programme director Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu said yesterday in releasing results of the study.
"Occupy Central last year has torn Hong Kong society apart and things are becoming increasingly politicised. Many universities cannot avoid being caught in the political storm and that affects public perception."
HKU continued to lead as Hong Kong's top university despite its score falling from 7.81 last year to 7.58 out of 10. It was followed by Chinese University and then the University of Science and Technology.
Polytechnic University ranked fourth, followed by CityU, Baptist University, the Institute of Education, Shue Yan University, Lingnan University and lastly Open University.
This marked the first time since the annual survey began in 2001 that CityU had overtaken BU. Baptist U's score decreased from 6.42 last year to 6.10 this time, whereas CityU slid from 6.28 to 6.15.
Respondents were asked to consider each institution's local and international reputations, facilities, campus environment, qualification of teaching staff, academic research, conduct and quality of students, learning atmosphere, as well as the diversification and degree of recognition of its courses.