Higher education ranking: UK ‘10th best’

Higher education ranking: UK ‘10th best’

BBC |May 10, 2012

By Judith Burns Education reporter, BBC News
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The author of a report on international higher education has questioned whether UK universities can remain world leaders without more funding.

The report for Universitas 21 rated the UK 10th best at providing higher education in a ranking of 48 countries.

The study put the UK second for university research and teaching but 27th for spending on higher education.

Universities UK said other more established global rankings regularly put the UK system second to top.

Ross Williams, lead author of the Universitas 21 study, said the evidence showed the UK system was very efficient.

Professor Ross, of University of Melbourne, told BBC News: “The model is that if you want to maintain high output you must maintain high resource levels.

“Think of all the extra resources that are going to higher education in East Asian countries. You are going to have to put in more resources even to maintain your rankings.”

Universitas 21, an international group of universities, claimed the new ranking was the first to compare the effectiveness of national higher education systems.

‘US tops ranks’

Their analysis put the United States top, followed by Sweden, Canada, Finland and Denmark.

The UK was ranked 10th overall despite coming second only to the United States on the strength of the universities themselves.

It came 27th for the resourcing of universities and 41st out of 48 for government spending on higher education.

The report claims: “The difference in ranking between output and resources is the greatest for all 48 countries and reflects very high productivity.”

Universities UK, which represents all UK universities, said it was difficult to compare international education systems – but other more established compilers of world rankings such as Times Higher, QS and Shanghai Jiaotong consistently rated the UK as second behind the United States.

Chief executive Nicola Dandridge said: “League tables cannot tell the whole story… and positions will vary from one table to the next, depending on the selection of criteria and methodology used.

“Based on measures of output and efficiency, the UK remains the second strongest university system in the world after the US.

“It attracts more overseas students per capita than the majority of major higher education systems, and it remains one of the world’s leading research powers measured by total publications and citations.

“However, we continue to spend less as a percentage of GDP than the average of OECD countries.

“We should remain acutely aware that other countries are investing more than the UK and that our reputation as a world-class provider of higher education is not a foregone conclusion.”

Asian Universities Challenge US-UK Domination Of Rankings

 

Asian universities challenge US-UK domination of rankings

The Guardian World News |by Jessica Shepherd

Peking University

The Peking University, one of the Asian institutions which rose in the Times Higher Education survey. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features

The UK has better universities than any other country apart from the US, but Asian nations are catching up fast, a major survey of the world’s top thinkers shows.

Campuses across the world were rated by 17,554 leading academics from 149 countries according to how good they thought their research and teaching were.

Harvard takes the top spot, with the University of Cambridge in third place and the University of Oxford in sixth place –the same as last year.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology comes second, while Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley, are in fourth and fifth place.

The results, published as a league table by Times Higher Educationmagazine, places 44 US universities in the top 100 – one fewer than last year – while the UK has 10, two fewer than last year. Japan and the Netherlands have five each in the top 100.

Just four countries are represented in the top 20: the US, the UK, Japan and Canada.

Some of the UK’s leading universities have dropped several places since last year, while China’s universities have improved their performance. China is expanding its higher education system faster than most other countries in the world.

Imperial College London has dropped from 11th to 13th place and University College London from 19th to 21st. The University of Edinburgh has fallen from 45th to 49th place, while the University of Sheffield and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine are no longer in the top 100.

However, the London School of Economics and Political Science has risen from 37th place last year to 29th.

All the leading Asian universities, particularly those in China, have a higher ranking than they did last year. Tsinghua University in Beijing rose from 35th to 30th; Peking University has gone from 43rd to 38th; and the University of Hong Kong is now ranked 39th, up three places from last year.

The National University of Singapore has climbed from 27th to 23rd place. The University of Tokyo has maintained its place as the eighth best in the world.

Phil Baty, rankings editor at Times Higher Education magazine, said there was a clear risk that UK universities, other than Oxford and Cambridge, would be “relegated from the premier league …in the eyes of the world, with tangible and sustained damage”.

“Perception is reality and it seems that we are perceived as a fading power,” he said. “Our data provides clear evidence that, in terms of prestige among academics around the world, there is the start of a power shift from the west to the east.”

Academics taking part in the survey have worked in universities for an average of more than 16 years and published several papers.

There are several other league tables of the world’s universities, but this one only ranks institutions on their reputation. Universities are likely to use the rankings to judge how much they should charge in tuition fees.

Shabana Mahmood, the shadow minister for higher education, said:“While it is a sign of our strength that the UK is one of only four countries represented in the top 20 universities in the world, the government should sit up and take note of the relative decline of UK institutions compared to those in Europe, the far east and Australia.

“This is symptomatic of the chaos and confusion being created by the government as a result of their rapid changes to higher education. Trebling tuition fees and cutting funding to universities has damaged the promise of Britain and this has been reflected around the world.”

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