More on Latin American rankings

More details on Latin America from the QS rankings

A post from some time ago noted the new found enthusiasm in Latin America for rankings. This has been borne out by the publication in 2011 and now 2012 of a specific Latin american league table by QS.

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The introduction to the table notes that

QS University Rankings: Latin America was published for the first time in 2011, this generated a huge amount of interest, both within the region and further afield.

This is perhaps unsurprising: Latin America is a hugely dynamic, fast-growing continent, that has recently identified higher education as key to its development, yet in global rankings it has mostly been conspicuous by its absence.

As in 2011, the rankings adopt the principles of the QS World University Rankings, augmented with measures of particular regional application.

Academic and employer reputation surveys remain the backbone of our approach, in combination with data on research productivity and citations, student/faculty ratio, the proportion of staff with a PhD, and web presence.

It is an exciting period for Latin American universities, with the growth in scientific research, increased for higher education, increased student mobility and the rise of private universities all accelerating the pace of change.

This year’s rankings help further our understanding of the comparative performance of universities throughout the region.

They also shine a light on pockets of development that have previously been beyond the scope of international rankings.

So the top 20 from QS is as set out below (full details can be found here). And whilst the top institution here, the Universidade de São Paulo, is ranked at 139 in the world in the latest QS table the general trend seems to be an upward one.

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1 Universidade de São Paulo – Brazil

2 Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile – Chile

3 Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) – Brazil

4 Universidad de Chile – Chile

5 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) – Mexico

6 Universidad de los Andes – Colombia

7 Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) – Mexico

8 Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

9 Universidad de Concepción – Chile

10 Universidad de Santiago de Chile (USACH) – Chile

11 Universidad de Buenos Aires – Argentina

12 Universidad Nacional de Colombia – Colombia

13 Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais – Brazil

14 Universidade Federal do Rio Grande Do Sul (UFRGS) – Brazil

15 Universidade Federal de São Paulo – Brazil

16 Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) – Mexico

17 Universidade Estadual Paulista “Júlio de Mesquita Filho” (UNESP) – Brazil

18 Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro – Brazil

19 Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) – Mexico

20 Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina Santa María de los Buenos Aires – UCA – Argentina

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Latin American universities get ranking

League tables breaking new ground

An earlier post noted the emergence of league tables in Latin America.

The Economist recently addressed this issue noting the emergence in particular of Brazil:

The São Paulo state universities that are pulling ahead of the pack are doing so with the help of generous state funding, which allows them to scoop up the region’s best researchers. They are also specialising. Brazil is emerging as what Demos, a British think-tank, describes as a “natural knowledge economy”: one that boosts the value of its plentiful commodities by the application of technology, such as making biofuels from sugar cane. That in turn makes it possible to gather a critical mass of researchers in one place.

The Economist also commented on the first ranking of Latin American universities to be published, by QS, and raised a few questions about its methodology:

QS relies much more heavily than the other ranking organisations on measures of reputation, which allows it to move swiftly into new regions. However, that carries the disadvantage of potentially over-rating large institutions, especially those whose names include countries or capital cities, such as the University of Buenos Aires or the National Autonomous University of Mexico. They have hundreds of thousands of students apiece and sound like you must have heard of them, even if you have not. Still, a start has now been made on opening the region’s universities to greater scrutiny. That can only help them to improve.

The QS rankings can be found here. The Top 10 is as follows:

1 Universidade de São Paulo Brazil
2 Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Chile
3 Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp) Brazil
4 Universidad de Chile Chile
5 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) Mexico
6 Universidad de los Andes Colombia
7 Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) Mexico
8 Universidad de Buenos Aires Argentina
9 Universidad Nacional de Colombia Colombia
10 Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Brazil

So, it’s a start and no doubt there will be much more to follow in due course as higher education in Latin America really takes off. And in this context it’s also worth noting the recent joint mission to Brazil by the Universities of Nottingham and Birmingham, as reported here in the THE.

Ranking in Latin America

New Latin American league tables emerging

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports on a league table developments in a number of Latin American nations:

The growing influence of university rankings has reached Latin America, with governments, news media, and private researchers drawing up domestic versions that they say are important for the institutions and students alike.

Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru each have at least one national ranking. Some were first published in recent months, and all use different approaches to evaluate their higher-education institutions.

A few, such as in Chile, are produced by news-media companies. Others, as in Colombia, were carried out by independent researchers. And some, like Brazil, are not so much rankings as government-sanctioned ratings.

Whatever their origin, they all serve a purpose that goes beyond boasting or one-upmanship, experts say. The rankings put pressure on lagging universities to up their game, and they give government officials, students, and parents a useful yardstick.

“Global rankings are very important. But there are close to 15,000 higher-education institutions in the world, and the global ranking deals with only 400, 500 of them,” says Kazimierz Bilanow, managing director of the Warsaw-based International Observatory on Academic Rankings and Excellence. “There are millions and millions of students who never think of going to Harvard. But they want to go to university and get an education, so they look at their own country. National rankings give them some guidance.”

The Brazil government rankings are intended to result in failing institutions being closed. The Colombian ranking uses a narrow range of indicators focusing on graduate student numbers, journals and recognised research staff numbers. Chile seems to have broader range of published indicators to draw on which are published by government including “courses most likely to lead to jobs, expected salaries on graduation, and space on campus per student”.

Whilst these national rankings seem to be having a local impact in some countries, it does seem that international developments are on the way with QS planning to introduce a new Latin American ranking. In time there will undoubtedly be more Latin American institutions in the global rankings too.