2014

Ranking Reveals World's Top Countries for Higher Education

LONDON, May 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

The second annual Universitas 21 rankings of countries which are the 'best' at providing higher education were announced today (10 May 2013) at an event at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada.

The Universitas 21 ranking is the only ranking in the world to benchmark national higher education systems, a crucial measure for governments whose nation's economic development depends upon an educated and skilled workforce and technological improvements, based on research, that raise productivity.

Universitas 21 is a global network of leading research universities. Research authors at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne, looked at data from 50 countries across 22 different measures. The range of measures is grouped under four headings: resources (investment by government and private sector), output (research performance as well as the production of an educated workforce which meets labour market needs), connectivity (international networks and collaborations which now include web-based measures) and environment (government policy and regulation, diversity and participation opportunities). Population size is also taken into account.

Overall, the top five countries in the 2013 rankings are: USA (unchanged since 2012), Sweden (unchanged since 2012), Switzerland (6th in 2012), Canada (3rd in 2012) and Denmark (unchanged at number 5). The largest changes in the rankings occurred as a result of improved measures becoming available for a number of non-OECD countries. The largest increase occurs for Malaysia which improves nine places to 27th.

Government funding of higher education as a percentage of GDP is the highest in Saudi Arabia followed by Malaysia and Finland, but when private expenditure is added in, funding is highest in the United States and Korea followed by Canada, Chile, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia.

Worldwide, governments are spending more on higher education as a percentage of GDP. Compared with 2012 rankings the median level of spending has increased from 0.95 to 1.10 per cent of GDP which means that government spending needs to have increased to maintain a nation's ranking. Norway, where government spending fell as a share of GDP, has fallen from equal first ranked in this measure in 2012 to 14th in 2013. The United States has slipped from 19 to 27 and Croatia from 28 to 37. Conversely, Russia's ranking in this measure rose from 26 to 18.

Expenditure on research and development is highest in Denmark and Sweden.  

In most countries females make up at least 50% of students but in only four countries do females comprise at least 50% of academic staff (Finland, New Zealand, Russia and Thailand). The countries with the lowest proportion of female staff are Iran and Japan.

International students form the highest proportions of total student numbers in Singapore, Australia, Austria, the UK and Switzerland. The largest increase from the 2012 rankings occurred in Hong Kong SAR which rose from 21st to 15th place. International research collaboration is most prominent in Switzerland, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Denmark and Belgium and is lowest in Iran, Turkey and China. Higher education institutions in Sweden and the Netherlands have the most extensive open access website material but US institutions dominate the extent to which external agents access information on websites.

Switzerland and Sweden top the rankings for world class universities per head of population, but the United States and United Kingdom are ranked first and second on the quality of 'best three universities'.

The United States dominates the number of articles published with China producing a little over half of the United States number. The next ranked countries, UK and Japan, each produce about one-quarter of the United States' total. Sweden produces the largest number of articles per head of population, followed by Switzerland, Finland and Australia.

Enrolment rates are highest in Korea, followed by Canada, Finland and the United States. The stock of graduates as a percentage of the workforce is highest in Canada and Israel.

Overall the scores for output (research performance and the production of an educated workforce which meets labour market needs) are highest for the United States followed by the United Kingdom and Canada.

Lead author, Professor Ross Williams at the University of Melbourne, said: "The Universitas 21 rankings provide a benchmark that a country can use to evaluate the performance of its higher education system against the world's best and against other countries in their region or at similar levels of economic development.

"The message from the 2013 rankings is that in a competitive global world if a nation does not continually improve its system of higher education its relative performance will decline. In the medium term this is likely to show up in reduced economic competitiveness."  

Jane Usherwood, Universitas 21 Secretary General, said: "The Universitas 21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems underlines the importance of the context in which universities work. This year's report shows that although the effects of the Global Financial Crisis are starting to be reflected in the data, investment in higher education globally appears to be holding up, as the benefits of a vibrant higher education sector on economic and societal development is appreciated. As an established global network of universities, Universitas 21 is pleased to support this important research in international higher education."

Founded in 1997, Universitas 21 is a leading network of currently 24 research-intensive universities which work together to connect students and staff and to provide advocacy for the internationalisation of higher education.

Notes for editors:

For each group of measures the highest scoring country is given a score of 100 and all other countries are expressed as a percentage of the highest score.

Full rankings from 2012 can be found at: http://www.universitas21.com/link/rankings. The 2013 rankings will be added to the site at 00.01 (GMT) on Thursday 9th May.

Universitas 21  rankings 2013

          OVERALL              RESOURCES            ENVIRONMENT
        United
      1 States       100    1 Denmark     100     1 Netherlands  100
      2 Sweden      85.2    2 Canada       97     2 New Zealand   99
                                                    United
      3 Switzerland 81.6    3 Sweden       96     3 States        99
      4 Canada        80    4 Finland      92     4 Poland        97
                              United
      5 Denmark     79.8    5 States       91     5 Belgium       97
                                                    Hong Kong
      6 Finland     79.4    6 Switzerland  89     6 SAR           97
                              Saudi
      7 Netherlands 78.2    7 Arabia       84     7 Finland       96
      8 Australia   77.2    8 Singapore    83     8 Australia     96
      9 Singapore   76.6    9 Netherlands  83     9 Bulgaria      96
        United
     10 Kingdom     74.9   10 Norway       79    10 Sweden        93
                                                    Czech
     11 Austria     71.8   11 Austria      76    11 Republic      93
     11 Norway      71.8   12 Ireland      74    12 Singapore     92
                                                    United
     13 Belgium       71   13 Malaysia     71    13 Kingdom       91
     14 New Zealand 69.7   14 Belgium      70    14 France        90
     15 Germany     68.2   15 France       68    15 Taiwan        90
        Hong Kong
     16 SAR         67.6   16 Germany      65    16 Romania       90
     16 France      67.6   17 Australia    64    17 Norway        90
     18 Ireland     66.8   18 South Korea  63    18 Japan         89
     19 Israel      63.8   19 Israel       61    19 Portugal      89
     20 Spain       60.5   20 Portugal     59    20 Slovakia      89
     21 Japan       59.6   21 New Zealand  59    21 Israel        89
     22 Portugal    59.1   22 Spain        58    22 Slovenia      88
                              Hong Kong
     23 Slovenia    58.4   23 SAR          58    23 Austria       88
                              United
     24 South Korea 57.6   24 Kingdom      57    24 Ireland       88
        Czech
     25 Republic    56.7   25 Japan        57    25 Malaysia      87
     26 Taiwan        56   26 Serbia       57    26 Chile         87
     27 Malaysia    52.4   27 Greece       56    27 Serbia        85
        Saudi
     28 Arabia      52.3   28 Taiwan       53    28 Mexico        85
     29 Italy       52.1   29 Chile        52    29 China         85
     30 Poland      51.9   30 Ukraine      52    30 Canada        84
                              Russian               Russian
     31 Greece      50.5   31 Federation   50    31 Federation    84
     32 Serbia        50   32 Slovenia     49    32 Thailand      84
        Russian
     33 Federation  49.5   33 Poland       49    33 Argentina     84
                              Czech
     34 Hungary     49.2   34 Republic     46    34 Denmark       83
     35 Chile         49   35 Italy        45    35 Spain         83
     35 Ukraine       49   36 Hungary      44    36 South Korea   82
     37 Slovakia    47.9   37 Romania      43    37 Switzerland   82
     38 Bulgaria    47.7   38 Brazil       42    38 Germany       82
     39 Romania     47.5   39 Mexico       42    39 Indonesia     81
     40 Argentina   45.8   40 Argentina    41    40 Brazil        80
     41 Brazil      45.6   41 India        41    41 Hungary       77
     42 China       44.5   42 Croatia      38    42 Ukraine       75
     43 Mexico      42.8   43 Iran         38    43 Italy         74
     44 Croatia     39.2   44 Bulgaria     38    44 Iran          73
     45 Turkey      38.9   45 Turkey       38    45 India         71
        South
     46 Africa      38.1   46 China        33    46 Croatia       70
     47 Thailand    37.9   47 Slovakia     33    47 Turkey        70
                              South
     48 Iran        37.2   48 Africa       26    48 Greece        68
                                                    Saudi
     49 India       36.3   49 Thailand     22    49 Arabia        64
                                                    South
     50 Indonesia   35.3   50 Indonesia    17    50 Africa        63


         CONNECTIVITY               OUTPUT
       1 Switzerland    100   1 United States 100
                                United
       2 Australia       97   2 Kingdom        63
       3 Singapore       94   3 Canada         60
       4 Sweden          93   4 Sweden         57
       5 Austria         90   5 Finland        57
       6 Hong Kong SAR   86   6 Switzerland    57
         United
       7 Kingdom         81   7 Australia      56
       8 Netherland      77   8 Denmark        55
       9 New Zealand     73   9 Germany        53
      10 United States   72  10 Netherlands    52
      11 Denmark         71  11 Norway         49
      12 Belgium         69  12 Israel         49
      13 Germany         66  13 New Zealand    49
      14 Norway          65  14 Japan          48
         Czech
      15 Republic        64  15 France         47
      16 Canada          63  16 Belgium        47
      17 Spain           63  17 South Korea    46
      18 Slovenia        61  18 Singapore      45
      19 France          60  19 Ireland        45
      20 Finland         60  20 Taiwan         44
      21 Portugal        58  21 Austria        42
      22 Ireland         55  22 Hong Kong SAR  41
      23 Slovakia        54  23 Spain          40
      24 South Africa    54  24 Slovenia       38
      25 Indonesia       53  25 Italy          36
      26 Italy           53  26 China          36
      27 Ukraine         51  27 Portugal       35
      28 Saudi Arabia    48  28 Greece         34
                                Czech
      29 Hungary         48  29 Republic       33
      30 Israel          47  30 Hungary        31
      31 Romania         46  31 Poland         31
                                Russian
      32 Serbia          45  32 Federation     27
      33 Bulgaria        43  33 Slovakia       27
      34 Chile           42  34 Brazil         25
         Russian
      35 Federation      41  35 Ukraine        25
      36 Argentina       41  36 Argentina      24
      37 Malaysia        40  37 Bulgaria       24
      38 Greece          40  38 Croatia        23
      39 Thailand        38  39 Chile          23
      40 Brazil          38  40 Turkey         22
      41 Mexico          38  41 Romania        22
      42 Poland          30  42 Serbia         22
      43 Japan           28  43 Iran           21
      44 Turkey          27  44 South Africa   21
      45 Croatia         25  45 Saudi Arabia   20
      46 Taiwan          24  46 Malaysia       19
      47 South Korea     22  47 Thailand       19
      48 India           16  48 India          18
      49 Iran            14  49 Mexico         17
      50 China           12  50 Indonesia      11


SOURCE Universitas 21




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