Global University Rankings and national sovereignty

From HEPRU’s Prof. Ellen Hazelkorn on rankings and how they cannot capture the full complexity of higher education:

There are about 18,000 university-level institutions, according to the International Association of Universities. For Ireland, being in the top 500-600 represents the top 3 per cent of all universities worldwide. If we believed in rankings this is something of which we should be immensely proud.

It has been estimated that the annual budget of a top-100 university is about €1.7 billion. This is would consume almost all the annual budget for Irish higher education, which is about €2 billion. To pursue a national strategy based on rankings would require diverting the entire budget to a single university on an ongoing basis – because one injection of funding would not be sufficient.

But money isn’t the only issue at stake. It’s not evident that the indicators used by rankings measure what is meaningful. Thus, to shape our national higher education policy and priorities according to indicators chosen by (commercial) ranking organisations would constitute the abandonment of national sovereignty. Why should we do this?

Full article on the Irish Times website: “Devil is in the detail of global university rankings.”


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