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.