A higher level of ranking?

A new higher education ranking – this time of countries

U21 has published some new work on national education systems that gives the first ranking of countries which are the ‘best’ at providing higher education:

The Universitas 21 ranking of national higher education systems has been developed to highlight the importance of creating a strong environment for higher education institutions to contribute to economic and cultural development, provide a high-quality experience for students and help institutions compete for overseas applicants.

Research authors at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne, looked at the most recent data from 48 countries and territories across 20 different measures. The measures are grouped under four headings: resources (investment by government and private sector), output (research and its impact, as well as the production of an educated workforce which meets labour market needs), connectivity (international networks and collaboration which protects a system against insularity) and environment (government policy and regulation, diversity and participation opportunities). It also takes population size into account and produces some interesting results.

The top 20 nations according to this ranking are as follows. No surprises about which country is in first place but some of the other nations at the top of the table are perhaps a little surprising.

1 United States
2 Sweden
3 Canada
4 Finland
5 Denmark
6 Switzerland
7 Norway
8 Australia
9 Netherlands
10 United Kingdom
11 Singapore
12 Austria
13 Belgium
14 New Zealand
15 France
16 Ireland
17 Germany
18 Hong Kong
19 Israel
20 Japan

Looking a little more closely at the detail of the measures used:

The measures are grouped under four main headings: Resources, Environment, Connectivity and Output.

The resource measures we use relate to government expenditure, total expenditure, and R&D expenditure in tertiary institutions. The environment variable comprises the gender balance in students and academic staff, a data quality variable and a quantitative index of the policy and regulatory environment based on survey results. We surveyed the following attributes of national systems of higher education: degree of monitoring (and its transparency), freedom of employment conditions and in the choice of the CEO, and diversity of funding. Our survey results are combined with those from the World Economic Forum. Data limitations restrict the connectivity variables to numbers of international students and articles written jointly with international collaborators.

Nine output measures are included and cover research output and its impact, the presence of world- class universities, participation rates and the qualifications of the workforce. The appropriateness of training is measured by relative unemployment rates. The measures are constructed for 48 countries at various stages of development.

And the US is not top in every category. It’s an interesting and different approach deliverng a ranking which presumably will not change very much over time. I wonder though if national governments will react to it.

The full report, U21 Rankings of National Higher Education Systems 2012, is available here.

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2 thoughts on “A higher level of ranking?

  1. Pingback: Ninth Level Ireland » Blog Archive » A higher level of ranking?

  2. Pingback: The Value of International University Networks | Registrarism

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