The US has held on to the top spot in the Universitas 21 rankings, which measure the quality of the higher education systems in countries around the world. Switzerland sits second on the table with 86.9 points, behind the US’s 100.
The UK climbed from fourth place to third this year, swapping positions with Denmark which dropped down one spot. Sweden remained in fifth place in the table, and Singapore climbed two places to sixth. Both countries have in recent years devoted considerable additional resources to higher education.
Universitas 21 ranks the higher education systems based on 25 metrics, under four categories: resources, environment, connectivity and output. The rankings has added three new measures this year, which incorporate recognising research, teaching and connectivity, referred to as the ‘triple helix’ of activity undertaken at tertiary education institutions.
Fifty countries’ higher education systems are included in the rankings, which are now in their sixth year.
The report argues that changes in the rankings from year to year are “modest” but looking at changes in the output metric – which includes research, tertiary enrolments and employability – over five years, Saudi Arabia has shown the biggest improvement, up 12 places. Malaysia follows, rising seven spots. Both countries have in recent years devoted considerable additional resources to higher education.