World University Rankings…Quality Higher Ed for All

The World University Rankings were published today in London with new methodology and some changes from last year.  One very significant aspect of the rankings is the uneven distribution of quality universities on the list of 200.

No Latin American university was on the list, and only two African universities – the University of Cape Town and Alexandria University in Egypt – were on the list.  No Middle Eastern university was included on the list except for Middle East Technical University in Turkey which straddles Asia and Europe.  In Southeast Asia, only two universities made the list – both from Singapore – and there was no Indian university on the list.

Even in areas of the world like Europe and North America, the distribution of universities was uneven.  It was no surprise to find that the ranked U. S. universities are concentrated in California, the Northeast and the Atlantic states with only two universities – Georgia Tech and Emory in the Deep South.  The usual California schools were on the list, but there was only one university – U. of Washington – on the list from the northwest.  And in Europe, much of the southern and eastern sectors of Europe were not represented but for the presence of two in Spain’s Catalan region – the University of Barcelona and Pompeu Fabra University.

Providing widespread access to excellent university education is still a challenge in much of the world.  We increasingly understand the implications of higher education for regional and national competitiveness – both in terms of the quality of the labor supply and in the impact of technological creativity in the marketplace.  Yet, assuring that there is increased potential opportunity for citizens in many regions is a challenge.  We still need a much greater focus on assuring that there is quality higher education in all parts of the U. S. and the world if we are to raise the standard of living with available jobs, better paying jobs, and increased citizens’ participation in society.

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