Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Falling ranks of European Universities, a global trend

QS World University Rankings have been released for the 13th year running and the results are stark, to say the least. The most important observation to be made in respect to the top universities in the world is that Europe with its powerhouses like France, Portugal, Germany & Italy have disappointed, to say the least. But the worst hit is those institutions which are based in the U.K.

Of all the top universities in the United Kingdom, the University of Cambridge has slipped from third to fourth along with the King’s College, that used to be in the top 20 and now out of it. Experts and advisors in the Government are showing worrying signs and rightly so, as a visible fall in rankings for 38 of the total 48 institutions of the region.The drop in performance of educational hubs in here is complemented by the rise of a few Asian universities, particularly those based in China. China has had more entries as far the research hubs are concerned than U.K in top 100. 

It would be unfair to shift the blame entirely on the happenings related to Brexit. A lot of the factors that result in the ultimate ranking consider changes over a 5-year period. 

Pundits have taken the opportunity to cite the reasons for the real-term cuts that were introduced after 2010-11 academic year. 2017’s £20 million increase for higher Education Funding Council was the first after the coalition government of 2010 took charge.With inflation taking a toll, top universities are being asked to do more with less.

Denmark &Sweden, on the other hand,have exceeded EU’s research & development spending targets. This resulted in 12 of their 13 institutions improve rankings. This principal manifests in France most noticeably. The government there promise to waive the €256 worth of education cuts, eventually fulfilling just half of it. it stands alongside U.K keeping in mind the fall in rankings of educational institutions.

Top universities in the U.S, that see the face of many private endorsements, have procured the top 3 spots. 

A decrease in funding results in international faculty ratios &academic reputation scores.
Discussing education for foreign students, it is a widely held opinion that U.K is no more an attractive destination. More than half of the UK’s universities are seeing drops in their international faculty ratio score, and it is important to note that the majority of the data used for this year’s rankings was sourced pre-Brexit.

When you have 2/3rds of western European universities experience fall in academic rankings, there is something that is terribly wrong with the region. Reduced budgets, increasing publishing gestures, are only adding to the aversion of foreign students from such regions that once were the fuel keeping these top universities in track.

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