No Irish universities make top 100 list


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 Educationpublication 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).