Posted by Phil Baty 15 January 2013
The role of university rankings in informing the development of universities in the Middle East and North Africa will be up for debate at the British Council's Going Global conference in Dubai in March.
Times Higher Education's rankings editor Phil Baty will join Allan Goodman, president of the Institute of International Education and Tayeb Kamali, the Vice-Chancellor at the Higher Colleges of Technology in the United Arab Emirates, for a panel debate chaired by Colin Riordan, chair of the International Unit and International Policy Forum and Vice-Chancellor of Cardiff University.
The session, "Rankings, classifications and the information needs of MENA higher education" will take place on 5 March at 14.30.
"Higher education in the Middle East and North Africa is undergoing rapid change and growth, with fresh plans for expansion and a growing recognition of the need for internationalisation of higher education systems," says the conference website. "But a recent study by the Institute of International Education (IIE) found that a lack of reliable and consistent institutional data, and a lack of any system of classification or performance monitoring of local institutions, was seriously hampering globalisation efforts - hindering student and staff mobility and collaboration both within the region and the wider world."
In the session, THE rankings editor Phil Baty will discuss the role that global university rankings can play in helping institutions to benchmark themselves against global standards.
"THE's World University Rankings were established in consultation with the global academic community and provide robust data that can play a crucial role in helping individual institutions and national governments to benchmark performance and track progress over time," said Mr Baty. "And with the multi-indicator approach that we take, institutions can also dig beneath the composite headline scores to understand performance against a wide range of metrics. So the THE rankings are increasingly given a central role by governments in developing higher education systems.
"But as well as discussing where rankings can help, we also want to have a robust debate about where the line should be drawn between helping and hindering. We are delighted to see our rankings informing policy - that's what they are there for -- but I don't think rankings should be driving policy and that's what we want to talk about."
For more information on the session click here