Thursday, November 8

4 England univs in the world's top 10

I know i moan about British Universities, but this is good news (but still, remember, there are tons of universities which are not good and we need to raise the broad overall standards!)

Four of England's universities are now in the world's top 10, suggesting the country punches well above its weight in the higher education market.

Oxford and Cambridge shared joint second place in the rankings from the Times Higher Education Supplement and QS, a consultancy specialising in information on graduate recruitment.

Imperial College London climbed four places from last year, to fifth. University College London leapt 16 places, to ninth.

An official at Oxford University said: "Oxford has achieved this success despite the fact that its resources are considerably more limited than its international counterparts, particularly in the US."

The news could make it harder for Gordon Brown, the prime minister, to tinker with England's research funding regime, which heavily favours the country's top universities, for fear of stymying that success.

But it also pours cold water on the argument of many English academics that the country's elite universities cannot compete with their international rivals because they are not given enough money to teach. Some top universities want either more money per undergraduate student from the government than other universities, or the right to charge undergraduates what the market will bear.

England's best universities scored particularly highly in two categories out of the six used to reach a mark for the rankings: opinion among national and international employers and the number of citations per academic.

But Harvard, the US university, won first place. It scored top marks in categories concerning academic opinion, which accounted for 40 per cent of the marks, employer opinion, and student-to-staff ratio.

The rankings will be a severe disappointment to Germany in particular. Despite efforts by the German government to create a cadre of elite research universities, the country's highest-ranked institution, Heidelberg, came 60th.

Most of the rest of continental Europe fared little better.

Wendy Piatt, the director-general of the Russell Group of leading British universities, said: "This success is good news for the UK as research-intensive universities are vital to promoting economic prosperity and improving quality of life."

With the exception of England's strong performance, US universities dominated the rankings, accounting for the other six of the top 10.

Richard Levin, the president of Yale, told the Financial Times in a recent interview that the US government's "flexible and meritocratic" funding system gave US universities "a lead". Most of the money is given to individuals or small groups who have a good idea.

Top US colleges are also extremely well funded through large endowments from generous alumni and what is often cutting-edge financial management.

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