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100% of NZ universities ranked within world’s top 3%

100% of NZ universities ranked within world’s top 3%

All New Zealand’s universities remain among the top 3% in the world according to the 2015 QS international QS rankings released today.

Executive Director of Universities New Zealand Chris Whelan says, “This is a good result for New Zealand with a lift in rankings for the first time in six years.”

The QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Rankings were launched in 2004 and rank universities worldwide based on their academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty to student ratio, citations per faculty, proportion of international staff, and international students.

This year, QS altered the methodology used to calculate rankings and it resulted in the rankings of seven of New Zealand’s eight universities increasing by between 10 and 61 places. The change was a technical one that reduced the weighting given to citations in medicine and the life sciences.

“The big ranking increases this year are mostly the result of this change,” Whelan says.

The change to how citations are measured is not the full story, however. New Zealand’s universities have also lifted their collective performance across other areas measured by QS including academic reputation (the esteem in which they are held by the international academic community).

“The academic reputation gain is important at a time when we are competing for staff and students in a hugely competitive international marketplace,” Whelan says.

This year’s overall improvement is the first positive QS rankings shift for New Zealand universities as a whole in recent years; over the previous five years, the country’s eight universities dropped by an average of 25 places in the QS rankings.

“This is mainly due to the funding per student being far below that received by other international universities,” Whelan says. “For example, New Zealand universities receive only 70% as much funding per student as Australian universities.”

“This Government wants to attract world class academics to teach and research in New Zealand. It also wants to double earnings from international students – an area where universities generate $1 billion a year for New Zealand. Neither of these will be possible in the longer term unless we can maintain our rankings and we can’t maintain our rankings without a sustained drive to lift funding in real terms.”

“The Government allocated additional funding to the tertiary sector over the next four years in this year’s Budget, which was the first real increase in the past decade. This was welcomed by the sector as recognition that universities make a major economic contribution to this country and are key players in many initiatives to lift economic and social outcomes. If this can be repeated in future years, universities will be able to invest more in the high quality teaching and research that will deliver further ranking increases and benefit New Zealand.”

ENDS

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