At times the pursuit of rankings success is portrayed as dressing table — everybody wants to be recognised as achieving — but this is a superficial explanation. Rather, the enthusiastic ranks chase comes about because a high position in the league tables is seen to draw international students.
In the recent peak — likely somewhere between 2015 and 2019 — Australia had nearly 7 percent of the planet’s overseas students. By some quotes Australia was in line to be second after the US. Not bad for a country of 25 million people.
created a”virtuous circle”. High rankings brought in pupils, who were eager to cover fees, which in turn financed faculty operations and particularly study , which brought higher positions. Therefore the bicycle went.
Australia has been an attractive destination for a significant proportion of all students who abandon their home states annually to study higher education overseas.
Australian colleges, for better or worse, have adopted global rankings, particularly those published annually like the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020 (the Shanghai Ranking) along with the QS World University Rankings released this month. However there are now indications the influence of positions on Australian higher education is on the wane.
Australian universities may be at a turning point in the rankings chase
Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge recently indicated he believes universities should shift their attention from chasing rankings. That’s a change from just a few years back when the then national treasurer, Joe Hockey, favoured that as a goal while delivering the funding.
If international students go everywhere, the beauty of pursuing a top ranking diminishes.
This cycle has fallen prey to the worldwide pandemic. Closed boundaries mean foreign students have very little prospect in the near future of setting foot in Australia. They’ve been requested to take online classes as a temporary substitute, but it’s unclear if demand can stay strong with boundaries shut.
Critics have claimed rankings are a distraction for universities and distort the decisions that they make. It’s not hard to comprehend where this comes from. There is certainly evidence that Australian universities have invested and altered everything they do in reaction to rankings. Getting a better rank was reflected in certain universities’ strategic plans.