WHILE some headlines declared the beginning of the end of Western dominance of the World University Rankings with Asia’s high-flyers challenging for supremacy, the latest league table from Times Higher Education actually showed the Yanks and the Brits taking all Top Ten spots.
Oxford moved from fourth to share second spot with Stanford, while the California Institute of Technology, pictured above, held on to first place.
Looking more Orange
But slightly lower down the Times Higher’s Rankings, things were starting to look a little more orange – with the Netherlands having 12 institutions in the world top 200 – the most representatives of any country other than the UK and US. And this year every single Dutch university improved its position.
Germany and Belgium also emerged as stronger European performers, but elsewhere a lot of European institutions dropped places as universities in the Asia Pacific region showed that years of investment in staff and better facilities were starting to pay off.
Dutch-based Nuffic admitted that improvements in the data submission from Dutch institutions had contributed to the rises in the country’s performance but argued that should not detract from an outstanding performance for universities in The Netherlands:
Among those celebrating was EUPRIO’s new Dutch President, Denis Ancion, Deputy Director of Marketing and Communications at the University of Maastricht, who said: “I hope colleagues at all our member institutes were not too nervous during the last few weeks and can now start celebrating. Here in Maastricht, we certainly will after a jump of more than 80 positions to 115th place.”
UK under pressure
British higher education commentator David Jobbins, writing in University World News, said: “The United Kingdom still has some of the best universities on the planet, vying for the top slots in the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings with leading US universities.
“But their relative strength lower down the rankings is under pressure and they face a collapse in their global position within a generation, the rankings’ compilers warn.”
Jobbins said that Phil Baty, editor of the rankings, had suggested “Outside the golden triangle of London, Oxford and Cambridge, England’s world-class universities face a collapse into global mediocrity…
“Given the seriousness of the funding cuts facing England and the strength of the competition, the tripled student tuition fees introduced this year (by the UK Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government) look increasingly like a sticking plaster for an amputation.”
Jobbins also pointed out that while the Dutch had reason to celebrate, their leading university, Leiden, only came in at 64th, and the best non-UK-or-US ranked university was Switzerland’s ETH Zürich in 12th place. See his analysis here: http://www.universityworldnews.com/article.php?story=20121002201403888
Strong Asian show
Asia’s number one university is the University of Tokyo (27) with Peking University up from 49 to 46 and Tsinghua University moving up 19 places from 71 to 52.
The National University of Singapore moved from 40 to 29 and the country’s Nanyang Technological University rocketed from joint 169 to 86. All of the Republic of Korea’s representatives climbed the tables.
* See who was placed where in the Times Higher Education’s Top 400 for 2012/13:
And finally, Andrew Marszal, in The Telegraph, asked why different world rankings differ so much? Read his thought-provoking analysis: