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

Webinar schedule: Internationalization of higher education

Study shows which universities lead the way in promotion of summer schools

The National Aggregate Ranking of Russian Universities

The Accreditation in Education Journal and the Public Fund Edinstvo have become partners

Belarus and Nigeria are cooperating in the field of education

Russian and Chinese universities have agreed to establish the International Transport Academy

Summer schools attract international applicants to Russian universities

Russian and German experts discussed the issues of university and academic science

The 15th FICCI Higher Education Summit in India

Russia to create 50 Pre-University Training Centers abroad by 2024

More than 30 Russian Universities in the THE ranking

Russia will simplify work rights for international students

The First Russia-UK University Rectors Forum

Webinar 'How understanding neuroscience can help you transform your team and your organization'

“MEDIAactivity of Russian universities” and “TOP-50 MEDIAactive Rectors of Russia” announced at Interfax

RUDN and Rosatom will train staff for African projects

Is Africa the future for recruiting international students?

Danish Government Scholarships under the Cultural Agreements

Over 7,000 foreign students will study IT at Russian universities

European Universities Initiative – Chances and challenges

Belgian students demand free higher education

Uganda and Russia signed a Memorandum of cooperation in higher education

Angola and Russia signed an Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Education, Qualifications and Academic Degrees

The 10th ENQA General Assembly took place in Yerevan

Students supported by the Global Education Program choose Australia and Great Britain as study abroad destinations

Call for participation – Webinars under the aegis of APQN devoted to Quality Assurance

Regional universities move up in QS University Rankings: Emerging Europe & Central Asia

New Model of State Control (Supervision) in Education

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