University Ranking Technology Compares Higher Education Systems Across 40 Countries

QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a provider of career and education intelligence, has created a preliminary university ranking technology, known as SAFE (System, Access, Flagship, Economics). SAFE utilizes research emerging from the Times Higher Education – QS World University Rankings 2008 to draw comparisons across 40 countries.

The methodology provides a direct comparison between the world’s higher education-providing nations. It contains new criteria which avoid the pitfalls of ranking nations simply according to the number of universities those nations have in the top 200.

Developed over the last 12 months by QS, SAFE allows direct comparison between two nations using four key criteria:

  • System: The capacity of each country to produce world-class universities.
  • Access: How good a country’s system is at getting students into internationally reputable universities.
  • Flagship: A score based on the position of the top institution in each country, according to the THE-QS World University Rankings.
  • Economic: Acknowledging countries that have a viable university system despite their relative wealth, and awarding points for high-performing schools compared with the country’s GDP per capita.

“Each country faces different economic and demographic realities,” said Ben Sowter, head of the QS intelligence unit behind the SAFE methodology. “This preliminary analysis attempts to take these into account whilst evaluating the success of each national system in terms of its global competitiveness. It represents a first step in benchmarking the strength of different countries’ systems in today’s rapidly changing international higher education landscape.”  


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