“No one nation is best at everything” – U21 ranks national HE systems

Universitas 21, a global network for research-intensive universities, has released its seventh annual ranking of HE systems. It has revealed that out of 50 countries ranked, the US, Switzerland, the UK, Sweden and Denmark make up the top five. The Pie News reports.

Intended as a benchmark for ‘governments, education institutions, policy-makers and individuals’, the U21 rankings are assessed via a total of 24 indicators covering the areas of expenditure on HE; diversity; government policy, industry links, enrolment rates and research performance.

These are summed up under the four headings of Resources, Environment, Connectivity and Output.

Lead author Ross Williams of the University of Melbourne said that that the overall picture includes outcomes and specific areas of excellence behind the headline findings.

“Switzerland is best in the area of international linkages and engagement with industry; Saudi Arabia (23rd) is first for government expenditure; New Zealand (14th) has the highest proportion of international students and Canada (8th) and Russia (33rd) have the most qualified workforces.”

Sylvia Schwaag Serger, deputy vice-chancellor, Lund University, Sweden said she is happy to see that Sweden has been highly ranked for several years now.

“However, we know that the global competition is getting tougher when it comes to attracting students from around the world, and if we want to provide students with top quality education in the future, it is crucial that Sweden continues to invest, maybe even more than today, in higher education.”

The report recognises that the best performing countries are the ones with the highest incomes and notes that “it is neither realistic nor desirable for lower-income countries to match them, at least in the medium term”.

To mitigate this, U21 created an ‘auxiliary ranking’ taking into account differences in income levels. Within this ranking, China and SA in top 10 for output, Malaysia is in the top 3 for resources.

Read the full article “No one nation is best at everything” – U21 ranks national HE systems

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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