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New Zealand universities still in top 3% globally

author:Universities New Zealand - Te Pokai Tara

New Zealand universities still rank in the top 3% world-wide despite slippage in the latest tables says the Acting Chair of Universities New Zealand Professor Harlene Hayne.

Under the Times Higher Education (THE) rankings released today, New Zealand has 5 universities in the top 400 internationally, with the University of Auckland ranking in the top 200 (1%) across the world.

The ranking are based on indicators taken across 5 sectors including: research income; quality of research; teaching and learning environment; volume and influence of research; and ratio of international staff and students.
This year the University of Auckland ranked 175 (down from 164 last year); the University of Otago ranked 251-275th (down from 226-250), both Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Canterbury held their ranks (at 276-300thand 301-350 respectively), while the University of Waikato dropped from 301-350 to 351-400.

“These rankings demonstrate the very competitive global marketplace we operate in,” says Professor Harlene Hayne, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Otago. “Many governments are aspiring to have a number of their universities designated ‘world class’ and are investing heavily in them.”

Professor Hayne says rankings have become increasingly important over the last decade. They are used by international academic staff and students when choosing where to invest in their careers or study. Many universities will only partner with or recognise other similarly ranked universities. Some governments will only offer scholarships to highly-ranked international universities.

“We know that our universities offer quality education and research opportunities for both domestic and international students. We also know that our universities are amongst the most efficient in the world. Despite these efforts we are very concerned about New Zealand’s slow, but steady drop in these and other rankings.

“The unfortunate reality,” says Professor Hayne, “is that New Zealand universities have realised all the easy gains and the long term trend is downward.

"Without more support from government, this country's universities run the risk of hitting a tipping point where the best academics choose to work elsewhere and the best students choose to study elsewhere. Once you hit that tipping point, international experience shows there's no easy or quick way back.

“Government funding per student has been declining in real terms over the past two decades. Universities have had to cut the number of staff per student and this has contributed significantly to our drop in rankings. Similarly, we are not doing enough to support new academic staff as they develop their teaching skills and research profile. This also has a significant impact on rankings.

“Through international education, our universities contribute over $900 million a year to New Zealand’s economy and generate jobs, research and innovation,” says Professor Hayne. “This isn’t an academic issue, it’s an issue for this country.

Thursday, 2 October 2014,
Universities New Zealand - Te Pokai Tara 2012