U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems 2019 Released

U21 has published its eighth annual ranking of national systems of higher education, a unique report produced under the leadership of Professor Ross Williams at the University of Melbourne.  

The national ranking of systems is different because it evaluates systems of higher education and not simply H.E. institutions. It examines the education and training of a country's people, the development of relationships between Higher Education institutions and external stakeholders and the production of innovative research.

24 measures of performance grouped into four modules are used in the survey: Resources, Environment, Connectivity and Output examining a number of institutions within a nation.  The Rankings also present a separate report on estimates of a country’s performance relative to its level of GDP per capita.    

U21 Ranking 2019

The 2019 report also goes beyond presenting annual changes in performance, this year examining, longer term changes by looking at key attributes over the seven-year period covered by the U21 Rankings.  

The report names the overall top three countries as the United States, Switzerland and the United Kingdom followed by Sweden, Denmark, Canada, Singapore, Australia, Finland and the Netherlands. Singapore have moved up two places and Finland down three places reversing the changes in last year’s ranking. But competition is tough at the top: the Netherlands has fallen four places even though its score has improved by 0.5. 

The report information is available online where there is a facility to search and compare current and previous year’s data.  The 2019 Ranking page can be found here for more information.

Lead author, Professor Ross Williams at the University of Melbourne said; 'It is important that we look at the combined contribution to national development, that is what matters and this is why we evaluate Higher Education Systems as a whole.  Diversity of engagement is also important. Research is cited much more if it involves joint work with industry and with international collaborators.'

Professor Sir David Eastwood, Chair of Universitas 21, commented: 'Now in its eighth year, this unique higher education ranking provides a data-rich analysis of the characteristics, impact, connectivity, and efficiency of national higher education systems.   These indicators go beyond the traditional comparison of institutions and reflect the overall aims of higher education, including the training of a nation’s people, contributing to innovation through research, and facilitating interconnections between tertiary institutions and external stakeholders.'

‘The tool is invaluable for policy makers, journalists, and university leaders. I would again like to thank the report's author, Professor Ross Williams and his colleagues for their authoritative and widely-admired work’.

Full ReportData Comparison Tool Link to 2019 Ranking Page


Rachel Edwards