12 May 2012

Ranking Higher Education Systems by Nation

Research authors at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne, looked at the most recent data from 48 countries and territories across 20 different measures. The range of measures is grouped under four headings: resources (investment by government and private sector), output (research and its impact, as well as the production of an educated workforce which meets labour market needs), connectivity (international networks and collaboration which protects a system against insularity) and environment (government policy and regulation, diversity and participation opportunities). Population size is accounted for in the calculations. _U21

The United States' strong performance was driven largely by its total output of research journal articles, the measure that comprised 40 percent of the ranking. Examining the categories of resources and connectivity reveals room to grow. Government funding of higher education per GDP is highest in Finland, Norway and Denmark. American universities are forced to rely on private funding more than other nations do, the researchers found. And when it comes to international research collaboration, the United States is at the bottom of the pack, along with China, India and Japan.

The good news is that the majority of countries earn high marks when it comes to learning environment. In all but eight countries, at least half of students are women—the lowest percentages are in India and Korea. But when it comes to gender equity in university staff, few nations fare as well: Just five have gender parity on the faculty, with the lowest numbers in Japan and Iran. _Good
It is interesting how national higher education systems rank, when the ranking is done by an institution of higher education. But how would educational systems and institutions rank, if the ranking were done by other groups -- such as employers, former students, parents, etc.? That would be far more interesting to discover.

Take international research collaboration, for example. The US is ranked at the bottom for this measure, when proportion of international collaboration in research is measured. But in actual raw numbers -- rather than per centage or proportion -- international collaboration for researchers in the US is quite high. The low ranking given to the US for international collaboration by U21 is an artifact of the method used. Similar incongruities and quasi-deceptions can be found throughout such reports, should one bother to look.
The highest participation rates in higher education are in Korea, Finland, Greece, United States, Canada and Slovenia. The countries with the largest proportion of workers with a higher level education are Russia, Canada, Israel, United States, Ukraine, Taiwan and Australia. Finland, Denmark, Singapore, Norway and Japan have the highest ratio of researchers in the economy. International students form the highest proportions of total student numbers in Australia, Singapore, Austria, United Kingdom and Switzerland. International research collaboration is most prominent in Indonesia, Switzerland, Hong Kong SAR, Denmark, Belgium and Austria. _U21
Perhaps international research collaboration is more important somehow, for small countries such as Indonesia, Belgium, Denmark, Hong Kong SAR, etc? In larger nations, where extensive networks of collaboration already exist within the nation itself, reaching across international boundaries just for the sake of doing so, may be seen as somewhat gratuitous in many cases.


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Blogger Eric said...

Depends, do they count scientists from other countries who come to the US to do research? The US still attracts a lot of European scientists who want better pay and don't like the bureaucracy:


Saturday, 12 May, 2012  
Blogger al fin said...


No, they don't consider such issues in their rankings. Their methods are actually quite simplistic, which is fine as long as they are completely open.

Saturday, 12 May, 2012  

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