College rankings: Which countries have the best education systems?

A new higher education ranking focuses on evaluating quality by countries as a whole, as opposed to specific academic institutions. Universitas 21, an organization of 23 research universities across 15 countries, published its first ranking of countries “which are ‘best’ at providing higher education.”  Universitas 21’s report, published by the University of Melbourne in Australia, ranked 48 countries in all. Here are some of their findings:

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How did Universitas 21 measure higher education?

The overall rankings for countries with the “best” higher education systems were calculated using four indicators, each of which held a different weight in the overall score. The weight each indicator is given in the final ranking reflects the authors’ “judgement about importance, modified by the availability and quality of the data.”

Resources: This variable takes into consideration government expenditure, research, and development expenditures, and total expenditures in colleges and universities. [25 percent of overall ranking]

Environment: The researchers took into consideration the transparency of higher education institutions, employment conditions, and level and diversity of funding.  Additionally, they researched the gender ratio for students as well as faculty, the country’s education regulatory environment, and the quality of data the host country collects on their tertiary educational institutions. [25 percent of overall ranking]

Connectivity: This was measured by the proportion of international students in higher education, as well as the proportion of publications co-authored with international collaborations. [10 percent of overall ranking]

Output: When looking at output, the researchers evaluated research disseminated by tertiary institutions, as well as its impact. They also considered the number of “world-class universities,” enrollment and graduation rates, as well as workforce readiness of graduates. [40 percent of overall ranking]

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