Latin America University Rankings 2022: new shoots emerge in a challenging region

Emerging from the pandemic, in a region beset by authoritarian leaders and poverty, universities remain resilient. Rosa Ellis writes

July 14, 2022
Source: Getty

Browse the Latin America University Rankings 2022 results


Since we launched our Latin America University Rankings six years ago, the region has been subjected to anti-science governments, authoritarian leaders and, like the rest of the world of course, the pandemic.

And yet the number of universities in the ranking keeps rising, and the average score per country is increasing, too. Proof, perhaps, of the resilience of the sector and of academics themselves.

Despite an anti-science government, Brazil increased the number of its universities in the ranking by five to reach 72, up from 67 last year. Of the Brazilian universities, 28 are among the top 50, and seven are in the top 10.

The second and third spots are taken by Brazilian institutions: the University of São Paulo and the University of Campinas. Both scored the highest possible marks for research while also putting in a strong performance on teaching.

The number one spot goes to the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, for the fourth year in a row, largely thanks to high scores in research and industry collaboration.

For a region with a reputation for pedagogical conservatism, there are some pockets of innovation, leading not just Latin America but the world, as we discover when we talk to a professor of education at Mexico’s Monterrey Institute of Technology about its cutting-edge teaching model.

In our analysis, we also learn that interdisciplinary projects are being used across Latin America to tackle local problems, something that Denise Pires de Carvalho, president of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, tells us is the future of higher education.

We hear a view from Venezuela, where the actions of authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro are causing mass migration and catastrophically high levels of poverty. The wounds are deep, and the impact on higher education cannot be denied, but the sector is not at death’s door yet, says Juan Carlos Navarro, an international expert in higher education and former professor at several Venezuelan universities.

This year, there are three Venezuelan universities in the rankings, up from one last year. The newly ranked Simón Bolívar University came straight into the top 100, at position 85.

We also hear about a potential new solution to some of the region’s woes in the form of shorter university courses. The World Bank’s María Marta Ferreyra explains how they could be the bridge between higher education and economies that are desperately in need of skilled workers.

There may be many challenges facing higher education in Latin America, but there is cause for optimism.

Country/region

Number of institutions

Top institution

Rank

Brazil

72

University of São Paulo

2

Chile

30

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

1

Colombia

29

University of the Andes, Colombia

13

Mexico

26

Monterrey Institute of Technology

5

Ecuador

13

Universidad San Francisco de Quito

58

Peru

10

Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia

35

Argentina

7

Austral University

44

Costa Rica

3

University of Costa Rica

31

Venezuela

3

Simón Bolívar University

85

Cuba

1

University of Havana

42

Jamaica

1

The University of the West Indies

21

Puerto Rico

1

University of Puerto Rico

56

Uruguay

1

ORT Uruguay University

126–150

POSTSCRIPT:

Print headline: Amid challenges, reason to hope

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