US and UK have the world’s strongest higher education systems, say QS rankings

European countries emerge as the most-featured than any other continent

Aftab Ali
Student Editor
Wednesday 18 May 2016 15:10 BST

America and the UK have the world’s strongest higher education systems as Continenal Europe catches up in this year’s Higher Education System Strength (HESS) rankings.

Three of the world’s top ten are Asian - China, South Korea, and Japan - as European countries emerge as the most-featured than any other continent, with 22 of its nations providing a top-50 university.

The list, compiled by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, represents a new attempt to use university rankings performance alongside other metrics to assess the strengths and weaknesses of a country’s higher education environment.

Countries with the best higher education systems:
(score out of 100)

  1. United States - 100
  2. United Kingdom - 98.5
  3. Germany - 94
  4. Australia - 92.6
  5. Canada - 90.2
  6. France - 89
  7. Netherlands - 84.8
  8. China - 83.5
  9. South Korea - 80.1
  10. Japan - 78.5

By doing so, QS said it aims to assist governmental bodies charged with improving their nation’s higher education system to benchmark against competitor countries.

With 50 countries ranked this year across six continents, John O’Leary, editor of The Times Good University Guide and member of QS’s executive board, described how assessing whole systems is not just about the top universities.

He said: “If it were, Singapore would be much higher than it is and some European countries would be lower. The advantage of this ranking is that it looks at the quality and accessibility of higher education as a whole.”

HESS is based on four criteria - each weighted equally - including system strength, access, the global performance of a nation’s top institution, and economy.

HESS has come around two weeks after Times Higher Education’s World Reputation Rankings highlighted how the UK’s image on the world stage for having some of the best universities is “diminishing” as Asian institutions gather pace.

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Editor of the rankings, Phil Baty, said the UK’s continued cuts in higher education funding, and series of immigration measures affecting overseas students and scholars, were starting to have an impact on its global reputation.

He added: “The UK will have to ensure it can still draw in talent and investment from across the world and it does not lose its position at the heart of higher education’s global elite.”

Click here to see the complete HESS rankings

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