Should emerging economies care about nurturing world-class universities? While many countries will have a long list of more urgent priorities, it would be folly to neglect to develop research universities that can hold their own on the world stage and foolhardy to ignore global competition.
Halima Begum, who at the time was the British Council’s regional director for East Asia and a former senior education specialist at the World Bank and the UK’s Department for International Development, wrote in Times Higher Education in 2014 that “in many ways the importance of rankings in the developing world far outweighs their value to universities in more advanced economies”.
She explained: “Policymakers across Asia often place far more store in universities, and the crucial role they can play in driving national growth and competitiveness, than their counterparts in the developed world. Rankings are a yardstick to measure that progress, [they] help focus government attention on education policy.”
This is why the THE BRICS & Emerging Economies University Rankings have become such a force in just three years. Building on THE’s vast and growing database on the world’s best universities, and based on the same performance indicators (with modification) as the World University Rankings, this is the largest BRICS & Emerging Economies University Rankings ever. They show the strength of universities in all countries defined by the FTSE as “advanced emerging”, “secondary emerging” or “frontier economies” – some 50 in all. And while 35 appeared in the top 200 last year, 41 feature in this year’s top 300.
As well as providing a resource for students and their families choosing where to study, this analysis will help university leaders to gauge their performance against global standards and governments to raise national competitiveness.
Speaking about Africa’s development, the academic Phillip L. Clay said in 2016: “When a nation can compete on the production and use of knowledge, there is a better chance for shaping its own fate.”
Editor, Times Higher Education Rankings