New Zealand “winning the educational rankings war”

New Zealand claims to be top of the world in higher education

Some new year cheer from what is undoubtedly the most entertaining interpretation of league table data for some time from Education New Zealand:

In the global battle to attract international students, academic rankings have become an important tool and one of the main factors used to help students decide where they want to study. New Zealand’s consistently high quality of education has given this country the edge when it comes to staying ahead of the pack.
“University rankings have always been a bit controversial as they tend to favour older, larger universities,” says Education New Zealand’s Chief Executive Robert Stevens. “Given New Zealand’s small size, we are thrilled that our universities continue to put us on top of the academic world.”

Stevens is referring to the latest Academic Ranking of World Universities released by Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. It is one of the most used rankings in the world, and this year has featured five of New Zealand’s eight universities in its “Top 500” list.

Universities in the rest of the world clearly don’t measure up:

“No other country has 63% of its universities included on that list. We are absolutely leading the pack,” says Robert Stevens. The only country that came close to matching New Zealand’s performance was the Netherlands, with 61% of their universities on the list. Australia had 43% of their universities make the list, and the UK had 35%. The US, despite dominating the Top 100, had only 8% of their total number of universities feature on the rankings. The New Zealand universities which featured on the rankings were: University of Auckland, University of Otago, Massey University, University of Canterbury and Victoria University of Wellington.

Everyone else should probably just give up now.


3 thoughts on “New Zealand “winning the educational rankings war”

  1. Well, well, well…

    Switzerland has 12 HEIs (see ), of which 8 are in the Shanghai’s top 500 ( ), which makes a good 66.7%, isn’t it?
    I would even say that 50% of its universities are in the top 200, to be compared with… 0% for NZ!

    Universities are probably very good in NZ but a bit of math training before communication classes wouldn’t harm…

  2. Same remark for NL. Out of 13 government supported universities, 12 are in the top 500: 92%!!
    You can put 15 in the denominator if you include the open university (distance learning) and the University of the Netherlands Antilles, you still have 12/15=80%
    If you count private universities, you add 6 to the denominator. So you either count 12/19=63% or 12/21=57%.
    Goddam, even 12/20 makes a nice 60%, so how did they come with the figure of 61% for NL??

    “the only statistics you can trust are those you falsified yourself” (Winston Churchill)

  3. I did laugh at this. And I’ll give up now. It’s interesting how even higher education falls into “spin doctoring.” Oh how we clamor to be the best at something. I enjoy your blog because you have a good sense of humour in all this.


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