The Best Higher Education Systems of 2017: Universitas 21 Ranking

Universitas 21's member list.

Universitas 21's member list.

Universitas 21, a global network of research-intensive universities, has released its sixth edition of the Universitas 21 Ranking, which focuses on measuring the quality of higher education systems rather than individual universities. 

In this year’s ranking, Universitas 21 (U21) ranks the higher education systems from fifty countries based on four areas: Resources (investment, public and private, on teaching and research), Environment (government policy and regulation, financial autonomy and diversity), Connectivity (international networks and collaboration with industry) and Output (research and its impact, quality and the production of an educated workforce which meets labour market needs). 

The top five countries in the overall ranking are: the United States, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden. 

Source: Universitas 21

Source: Universitas 21

Unlike university rankings, systems evolve slowly over time and are “likely to be modest,” according to the report. Compared with the 2016 rankings, this year the largest changes have been Ukraine, up seven places to 35th, and Turkey, up five places to 40th.  The largest fall in rank is Brazil: down four places to 42nd.

Because of its unique methodology, this report shows a correlation between the performance of higher education systems in the rankings and the strength of their government policy, allowing countries to benchmark strengths and challenges. 

 “It is noticeable that in the countries where the higher education sector has shown the largest improvements in output over the six years of our ranking, government policy has been well thought out, congruent with national aims, and implemented on a consistent basis over an extended period of time,” said Professor Ross Williams, lead author of the report, at the launch of this year’s rankings.  

“The 2017 U21 Rankings show further enhancement in their approach to data collection and analysis, which allow countries to benchmark performance over a range of attributes, comparing strengths and challenges in different areas of their higher educational activities,” said Professor Bairbre Redmond, provost of U21.

To see the full report, visit Universitas 21 site.