Universitas 21 “is the leading global network of research-intensive universities, working together to foster global citizenship and institutional innovation through research-inspired teaching and learning, student mobility, connecting our students and staff, and wider advocacy for internationalisation.” Universitas 21 developed this ranking “as a benchmark for governments, education institutions and individuals.” The purpose of the U21 ranking is “to highlight the importance of creating a strong environment for higher education institutions to contribute to economic and cultural development, provide a high-quality experience for students and help institutions compete for overseas applicants.”
“The 2013 Universitas 21 ranking of national systems retains the methodology [from] the 2012 rankings. [They used] 22 desirable attributes [which were] grouped under four broad headings: Resources, Environment, Connectivity and Output.” Based on this methodology, the top 10 countries for higher education systems in the world are:
United States, score: 100 – The US score remained the same from the 2012 study and its best score was first place in output.
Sweden, score: 85.2 – Though Sweden remained in second place, its score improved by 1.6 points from 2012 and its best ranking was a third place finish in resources.
Switzerland, score: 81.6 – Switzerland moved up three spots from 2012 and its score improved by 1.3 points. Best ranking was sixth place in resources.
Canada, score: 80.0 – Canada didn’t only move down one spot on the list but its overall score dropped by 2.8 points. Best score was second place overall in resources.
Denmark, score: 79.8 – Denmark’s score dropped 1.2 points from 2013 but it was still able maintain its fifth place finish. Best score was first in resources with a perfect 100.
Finland, score: 79.4 – Finland dropped four spots from 2012 and its score went down by 2.6 points. Best score was fourth in resources.
Netherlands, score: 78.2 – The Netherlands moved up two spaces from 2012 and its score improved by 0.8 points. Best score was first when it came to environment.
Australia, score: 77.2 – Even though its score dropped by 0.6 points, Australia was able to maintain its eighth place spot from 2012. Best score was second place when it came to connectivity.
Singapore, score: 76.6 – Singapore finished 11th in 2012 but were able to move up two spots as its score increased by 1.2 points. Best score was third place in connectivity.
United Kingdom, score: 74.9 – Despite its score dropping 1.9 points, the UK was able to hold onto tenth place for the second year in a row. Best score was second in output.
Choosing an institution of higher learning is a very important decision and knowing where the best schools are is helpful in making an informed choice. In fact, it is “a crucial measure for governments whose nation’s economic development depends upon an educated and skilled workforce and technological improvements, based on research, that raise productivity.” Deciding on higher education is also the first step in building a student’s future making this study all the more relevant at this time of year when students are making final university and college decisions.