No Irish universities make top 100 list

The Irish Times - Thursday, March 15, 2012

 SEÁN FLYNN, Education Editor

IN A SERIOUS blow to the State’s international reputation in
education, Ireland is not represented among the top 100 universities
in the prestigious Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings
published this morning.

No Irish university is ranked among the world elite in a list
reflecting the views of over 17,000 academics around the world.

The failure of any Irish college to make what it known as “the global
index of academic prestige” underlines the challenge facing the State
as it seeks to gain an increased share of the international education
market. Increasingly, the Government and universities are looking to
foreign students to help boost revenues.

Last night, Phil Batty of the Times Higher Education publication said
Ireland would be disappointed with its failure to make the list, given
its fine tradition in higher education. He said: “Many nations see
having a top 100 institution not just as a source of national pride
but also a symbol – encouraging inward investment for attracting the
best brains in the world.’’

While today’s top 100 list is dominated by US colleges (44 places)
there are also five colleges represented from the Netherlands. Belgium
and Turkey are also represented. In all, 19 countries are represented
among the elite top 100.

The world rankings of Ireland’s two largest universities have slumped
dramatically in recent years after a 6 per cent cut in staff numbers
and increased pressure on resources.

Five years ago, Trinity College Dublin was ranked among the top 50
universities in the world, while University College Dublin was
comfortably inside the top 100. Both are now outside the top 100.

Today’s list will raise renewed questions about a long-term funding
base for higher education. Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has
signalled that the student contribution fee, currently €2,250, will
rise to €3,000 within three years.

But university presidents say even this will not be enough as their
budgets are only about 60 per cent of those available to comparable
colleges in the UK and the rest of the EU.

Overall, the West loses out to the East in the rankings, with clear
evidence of the growing prestige of Asian institutions, especially in
China.

The elite university list is headed by Harvard. Others in the top 10
include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (second), the
University of Cambridge (third), Stanford University (fourth), the
University of California, Berkeley (fifth) and the University of
Oxford (sixth).