World rankings provoke global reaction

The 2008 Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings have provoked a response worldwide, as power-shifts among the top 200 institutions are analysed.

October 9, 2008

In the US, which once again dominates the top of the league table, the Chronicle of Higher Education highlighted that 37 of the top 100 institutions are American, including six of the top ten, while the Ann Arbor News noted that the University of Michigan, placed 18th in the table, was the highest-ranked public university in the country.

Meanwhile, the news agency Bloomberg calculated that US universities occupy 20 of the top 50 slots and British institutions eight.

In Canada, much was made of McGill University’s appearance at 20th spot in the rankings, a fall of eight places for the country’s best-rated institution.

Despite the slip, The Canadian Press said McGill had cemented its place in the top 25 universities in the world, which Heather Monroe-Blum, McGill’s principal, said was “gratifying”.

She said: “It is important to remember that there are nearly 10,000 universities worldwide so even to be included on THE-QS list ... is a remarkable achievement.”

Other Canadian media including the Cape Breton Post, news website, and Metro Canada all reported that two others, the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto, also finished in the top 50.

In the UK, The Times newspaper, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail reported on the universities of Cambridge and Oxford’s slip out of second place into third and fourth respectively.

Meanwhile the Daily Mirror reported on concerns voiced by the Russell Group of large research-intensive universities that funding of the UK sector would have to improve if the strength of the UK sector was to be maintained.

In Australia, news website iTWire said the “prestigious” world rankings revealed that “many more countries” were now competing against the UK and US for places at the top of the table, and in Malaysia, the New Straits Times focused on the performance of Thailand’s top university, Chulalongkorn University, which appeared in the top 200 for the first time at 166th place.

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