The 2011 QS World University Rankings ® have been compiled following the most wide-ranging surveys of their kind ever conducted. Universities are complex, and numbers alone do not tell the whole story. While other rankings focus primarily on measures of research productivity such as citations, the QS exercise counterbalances this information with the views of global academic and graduate employers.
In order to harness these views effectively, they must be drawn from a truly representative global sample. To this end, QS has dramatically increased the scope of its surveys in 2011. This year's rankings draw on the views of over 33,000 academics and 16,000 graduate employers from around the globe.
Despite the expanded sample size, this year's rankings are notable above all for their stability. The QS methodology has remained unchanged since 2005 (the year the employer review was introduced), allowing for valid year-on-year comparisons. The line-up of the top 50 differs by just two institutions from that of 2010, while there was a turnover of just five in the top 100. Changes to the international balance of power can be traced over the last few years, but as the QS rankings have matured they have largely balanced receptiveness to genuine change with resistance to artificial volatility. Universities all over the world are competing to attract the estimated 270,000 Indians who study overseas each year, and many will be visiting Delhi on 13th September as part of the QS World University Tour. And with universities from a remarkable 73 nations featuring in the 2011 QS World University Rankings®, the range of options has never been wider. Investment pays off The 2011 QS World University Rankings® give a clear illustration of the link between investment and results in higher education. In particular, those countries that have injected funds into their leading universities are beginning to see an impact. China is the classic example, with Peking and Tsinghua universities leading an overall rise in the positions of those institutions that have benefited from a series of huge funding programmes.
Japan, South Korea and Germany are among the other countries to have channelled extra support into a limited number of universities judged capable of international excellence. All have seen significant rises in the rankings by at least some of the beneficiaries, while countries that have cut funding for higher education have seen a gradual decline in the international standing of their universities.
In the United States, which remains the dominant force in global higher education, the leading universities are sufficiently wealthy to ride out a drop to their endowments. But state universities have suffered big budget cuts and several have been overtaken in the latest rankings. The United Kingdom, which again provides the leading university - Cambridge - is yet to feel the full force of higher education budget cuts.
Rise of Asian institutions: One of the talking points in 2011 is undoubtedly the performance of Asian universities. Of the leading 25 Asian universities, 21 improve on their 2010 position, with just three moving in the opposite direction. There are 47 Asian universities in the top 300 (two more than last year), and 88 institutions make the top 500. Hong Kong University repeats its 2010 performance by taking the top spot in Asia, moving up one place to 22nd and increasing the gap with University of Tokyo to three places. HKU is joined by fellow Hong Kong institutions CUHK and HKUST in the top 50, while HKU, University of Tokyo and National University of Singapore cement their places in the global top 30. However, the news for India is less positive, with all of the nation's universities ranking lower than in 2010. IIT Bombay dropped from 187 to 225, meaning there is now no Indian university in the global top 200. No Indian university ranks in the top 200 for citations per faculty, indicating a lack of research impact. Large class sizes are also reflected in the fact that no Indian university makes the top 300 for student faculty ratio.
However, there is better news among global employers. Four Indian universities were rated as among the top 100 by employers for producing highly skilled graduates, indicating that though they may lack research strength, the best Indian universities are nonetheless doing a better job at equipping students with skills that help them thrive in the workplace. Methodology While no single ranking can ever cover every aspect of university performance definitively, most existing rankings methodologies will provide useful information to the right audience. The QS methodology is devised for a primary audience of prospective students and their parents, and focuses on four key areas of academic life: research, employability, teaching and international outlook.
To measure these areas the rankings use six indicators: Academic Reputation (40%), Employer Reputation (10%), Citations per Faculty (20%), Student/Faculty Ratio (20%), International Students (5%), International Faculty (5%). A full explanation of the QS World University Rankings methodology can be found at www.topuniversities.com. For the full rankings candidates can go to www.topuniversities.com.
Courtesy: Times of India