Is it worth relying on all rankings?

Today rankings perhaps become the brightest "beacon" for those choosing a university. Where should we study to find a decent job and earn a good salary? What universities offer the best internships? Many people find answers in university rankings. Waldemar Siwiński, Vice-President of IREG Observatory on Academic Ranking and Excellence, told Rossiyskaya Gazeta about what modern rankings lack.

There are many rankings: their criteria are nearly the same, but the results are different. Which rankings can we rely on?

Waldemar Siwiński: As a matter of fact, not a single ranking provides a truthful overview of a university today. "The number of scientific papers", "the number of students per teacher", "citation level"… All criteria are good and important, but they do not show the most important thing - the level of graduates' competence. Universities train not only scientists, but also ordinary highly qualified specialists - engineers, doctors, teachers. Academic rankings will not show how we teach them. There must be other university lists - by certain disciplines.

What about subject rankings, for example, QS, which is the most popular one? Four Russian universities at once have just entered the world's Top 100 of QS!

Waldemar Siwiński: There is a secret: subject rankings are a kind of "extract" from global rankings. It's a mini-format with practically the same criteria. They should be changed, for example, we should get medical universities evaluated by the level of internship and the volume of clinical facilities, and not by the number of students and professors. The "portfolio" of our association comprises about 50 various rankings, and no good subject rankings at all, but we can create them.

But how? Should we recruit professionals?

Waldemar Siwiński: Yes, we can do it as well. We have just started to develop the European Ranking of Engineering Education Programs. Employers' opinion and students' participation in particular engineering projects is what really counts. What's the trouble? We have no databases that would take into account such student activity. I can't imagine the ranking of engineering majors without such an indicator as patents for developments obtained by the universities. Product is number one concern for engineers. Not to publish, but to introduce - that's the main principle. 

Russian universities "move up" in global rankings, but many are still far from Top 100. As an expert, what would you advise them to improve their positions?

Waldemar Siwiński: It's not an easy task. Universities which have resources, traditions, international ties hold top spots in all global rankings. As a rule, these are large universities: they teach medicine, economics, engineering "rolled into one". Russia follows another tradition: HEIs are classified by fields of study. Russian HEIs are traditionally strong in physics, mathematics, biomedicine, nanotechnologies. But it's high time they paid more attention to sociology, history, and other humanity subjects. They are coming to the fore. There's something to work at.

Table of Contents

HED Webinar under the aegis of APQN took place on October 10, 2019

Joint Master's programs to be launched by RANEPA and University of London

III Ufa International Education Fair

II Baikal International Education Fair

Adalat Muradov talks about digitalization of education in Azerbaijan

India has a too high number of arts students

Dmitry Peskov names key trends for Russian universities for 5-10 years

Webinars aimed at establishing cooperation between Quality Assurance Agencies and Russian universities

Russia and Iraq have signed a Memorandum of understanding

US will provide a $50 mln. grant to support the education reform in Uzbekistan

Presentation of the Global Survey on Internationalization of Higher Education by the International Association of Universityies (IAU)

The Jean Monnet 30th Anniversary Conference

World Teachers' Day ELT Web Conference

Is it worth relying on all rankings?

The IAEA Annual Conference is taking place in Baku

World universities meet at Al-Farabi Kazakh National University

QS Graduate Employability Ranking 2019 features 13 Russian universities in Top 500

UWC announces that the applications for Russian candidates are open till November 15, 2019

The 7th Forum of Rectors of Russian and Chinese Universities was held in Saint Petersburg

Russia and China are planning to raise the number of exchange students to 100,000 in 2020

The Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Uzbekistan and RANEPA signed an agreement on cooperation

KBSU and Uludag University will exchange medical students under the Erasmus + program

The prospects for Russian education export were discussed in Vladivostok

Uzbekistan took part in the International Summit on Development of Global Education in Zurich

Iraq and Belarus discussed cooperation in education and science

The international center of Uzbek culture opens at Kazan Cooperative Institute

Techno-optimists vs techno-skeptics: the International Open Innovations Forum will take place in Skolkovo

LSTU and University of Science and Technology Liaoning have signed a new cooperation agreement

X International Russian Higher Education Conference will take place at Higher School of Economics

Moscow State University holds top spot in Round University Ranking (Russian version)

Finland wants to abandon school subjects by 2020

Russia and Turkey have signed an agreement on cooperation in quality assurance of higher education

BRICS countries are stepping up technology transfer and transformation

India and Russia are reaching new heights of cooperation

The 'Study UK: Discover You' Exhibition will take place in Moscow and Saint Petersburg in October, 2019

Belarusian universities offer English-taught programs

The first foreign branch of MEPhI opened in Uzbekistan

Novosibirsk expands geography of international cooperation

Uzbekistan and the United States intend to develop cooperation in the field of higher education

Russia and the United Arab Emirates develop cooperation in higher education and science

Georgian universities offer free tuition to international students

A list of 3,500 free online courses starting in August

Next WorldSkills Competition will be held in China

Russia and China will continue cooperation in the field of education and mutual learning of languages

Universities of Excellence selected in Germany

Russian-German animal movement monitoring system ICARUS launched

45 WorldSkills Championship started in Kazan

Asian states want to join SCO

About half a million foreign students studied in China in 2018

President of Kazakhstan will stop assigning rectors of national universities