China’s world ranking of universities: the Europeans are not happy

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Indy Lifestyle Online

China's annual ranking of the world's top universities - massively influential given the number of Chinese students now looking to further their education overseas - has this year been dominated by United States institutions, which account for eight of the top 10 and 54 of the top 100.

Compiled by the Shanghai Jiaotong University's Centre for World-Class Universities (CWCU), the report is used as a guide for the almost 350,000 Chinese students who are currently living overseas on student visas.

And the 2010 Academic Ranking of World Universities (, says the best places to study are Harvard University (for the eighth year running), Berkeley, Stanford and MIT. The highest-ranked European university was Cambridge in the United Kingdom (fifth), followed by the 10th-ranked University of Oxford.

As this news has trickled in to Europe, though, it has created quite a stir, with one particular London-based magazine claiming the focus was on a university's achievements in scientific research.

Times Higher Education also has an annual ranking of the world's top 200 universities and claims it takes into account a much wider picture which includes achievements and facilities.

The CWCU report was first released in 2003 and uses such factors as the number of Nobel prize winners have come out of the university, and the number of articles from staff and students that are published in Nature or Science.

For their part, CWCU has agreed there are "short comings'' to the reports including a lack of focus on the "humanities.''

More and more Chinese are applying for visa to travel to the US. In 2009 the figure was 596,231, a year-on-year increase of 50,000, with student visa applications making up 98,500 of those numbers.

In what has become a worrying trend for mainland employees, only an estimated 25 per cent of those students return to mainland China to enter the workforce after they finish their studies.