China rising fastest in ranking of national systems

(24 May 2016) The top five performing national higher education systems are the United States, Switzerland, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Sweden, according to the Universitas 21 annual ranking for 2016. But the country with the most improved performance is China, up four places to 30th due to continual rise in output rankings.

University World News notes that the two largest falls are from Canada, down three places to ninth, and Bulgaria, down five places to 48th, due mainly to a fall in ranking on connectivity.

Inside the top 10, the largest rise has been achieved by the United Kingdom, which moved from eighth to fourth – but this was largely due to revised OECD data for government spending on higher education.

Finland, the Netherlands, Singapore, Canada and Australia filled the bottom half of the top 10.

Turkey rises five places to 44th, but this was as a result of improved data on resources. India moves up just one place from bottom of the top 50 to 49th, a poor performance compared to its rival Asian giant, China.

Comparing the change in rankings over the four-year period 2013 to 2016, China shows the greatest improvement, rising 12 places. South Africa has risen nine places and the United Kingdom six places. The largest falls have occurred for Bulgaria (down 10 places) and Serbia (down seven places).

For a lot more analysis and numbers, read the article by Brendan O’Malley.