3 out of 4 UK universities have slipped in global rankings

(63 Posts)
HannahStern Wed 10-Jun-20 22:51:24

Almost three quarters of British universities have slipped in a global ranking published today.

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/uk-universities-including-oxford-marked-down-in-global-rankings-jrctm8qjq

UK universities are heavily dependent on the recruitment of international students for survival and there has been an almost complete collapse in numbers. We face some extremely tough years ahead.

OP’s posts: |
My0My Thu 11-Jun-20 08:36:59

So will this lead to overseas students staying at home or are they going elsewhere? What countries are taking foreign students? If there is excess capacity then universities will have to reduce in size and/or number. Just like every other business I’m afraid.

MedSchoolRat Fri 12-Jun-20 07:06:17

DD has offer at a London Uni. They are saying only en suite accommodation will be offered. I puzzled how that would work given so much accommodation isn't en suite, but then realised they will barely have any overseas students arriving.

My Uni has a recruitment freeze so I've been working without a contract since April. DD & I were looking at bank care staff jobs last night, since the only industry with a future seems to be health related. I guess mass Uni redundancies will be forthcoming. Things like building maintenance will suffer, too. Most Unis are already operating on edge of bankruptcy, but by sheer fluke not the Uni DD hopes to attend. What a mess.

cremuel Fri 12-Jun-20 07:46:38

My0My

So will this lead to overseas students staying at home or are they going elsewhere? What countries are taking foreign students? If there is excess capacity then universities will have to reduce in size and/or number. Just like every other business I’m afraid.

Well, obviously some will have to close if the business case collapses. But this is a very bad thing. Knowledge exportation is not only a significant part of the UK economy - international students bring huge amounts of money into the country, and a lot of the most skilled stay in the country and contribute a lot - but also a key reason why the UK is able to fight above its weight on the world stage. A huge amount of world-leading research is done in the UK, which has a significant effect on the respect with which UK views are held worldwide and the UK’s ability to influence international events and contribute to international challenges. If this is allowed to decline due to stupid political choices, that is a serious loss for the country.

Universities are not business they are national assets and if they are squandered it will have serious implications.

NoHardSell Fri 12-Jun-20 07:50:05

The UK has been on the way down for a long time with smoke and mirrors keeping up appearances. Brexit and covid have exposed a lot. Universities have been grade inflating and under investing for twenty years, people were going to notice sooner or later

I'm sad my country chose this path but we did.

Mominatrix Fri 12-Jun-20 07:57:33

...due to the rise of universities based in China and East Asia in general. Is this surprising and is it undesirable? This is not due necessarily to Brexit and is not desirable that the regions students want to stay in their home countries?

NoHardSell Fri 12-Jun-20 08:06:27

Mominatrix

...due to the rise of universities based in China and East Asia in general. Is this surprising and is it undesirable? This is not due necessarily to Brexit and is not desirable that the regions students want to stay in their home countries?

I think that depends on whether you are happy for the UK to lose another massive industry. I'm sad to see us turning into an economic backwater and it means less money for my country, for its healthcare, for public funding, for pensions etc. It is indeed good for other countries. I just liked our first world lifestyle.

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DemolitionBarbie Fri 12-Jun-20 08:10:44

Well, duh. Brexit makes us look like a load of ignorant racist fools, why would young people want to come here? Not to mention the added paperwork and uncertainty.

Brexit is absolutely wrecking this country for no benefit whatsoever.

My0My Fri 12-Jun-20 08:44:41

I think some of our “universities” are not world leading at anything. My local one was a college of Higher Education and should revert to that. It has spent millions and millions on accommodation and teaching facilities but it scrapes along on the bottom of most quality tables.

Whether people like it or not, university finance is like a business and you should not expect money to continue without students. The sector has grown like topsy but that doesn’t make all of it good. There should be a period of mergers and rationalisation.

CatandtheFiddle Fri 12-Jun-20 08:49:35

international students bring huge amounts of money into the country

International students subsidise each and every one of the UK students in UK universities.

A fact that many MN parents don't like to admit, given some of the borderline racist comments I see in here about "foreign" students and staff being difficult to understand or stand-offish or cliquey ...

CatandtheFiddle Fri 12-Jun-20 08:55:13

Universities are not business they are national assets and if they are squandered it will have serious implications

Absoutely @cremuel - in a world-wide knowledge economy, we need trained critical thinkers, able to read and analyse texts/data and think.

And it's no coincidence that various UK university labs are leading in the research over COVID-19. We punch waaay above our weight in science research - it's why all the science organisations in the EU are desperate for a withdrawal agreement which keeps UK research in the EU research funding schemes such as the European Research Council and Horizon2020.

My0My Fri 12-Jun-20 09:05:35

But not all universities are research led. It’s ridiculous to say they are all the same and world leading. That plainly isn’t the case. It’s misleading to students and certainly employers are aware of it.

cremuel Fri 12-Jun-20 09:18:36

My0My

But not all universities are research led. It’s ridiculous to say they are all the same and world leading. That plainly isn’t the case. It’s misleading to students and certainly employers are aware of it.

True, but the decline is across the board, including the world-leading ones.

My0My Fri 12-Jun-20 09:27:36

Yes but as posters have said, it’s highly likely talented students have chosen to stay closer to home. I’m not sure how world rankings are determined either. Sometimes our universities are ranked in a different order from our home rankings. So how reliable is it? If the rankings for other older universities has dropped due to the emergence of new universities in Asia, surely that’s inevitable?

cremuel Fri 12-Jun-20 09:31:12

And, as pointed out above, teaching home students is loss-leading in most subjects, as is a lot of research, and it's only possible to do this because it's subsidised by international students. If the number of international students falls, then either home students will have to be properly funded or the student experience will decline rapidly, and we'll see a situation similar to a lot of schools where there are just not enough resources to support students properly. And a lot of world-leading research will disappear or go overseas.

cremuel Fri 12-Jun-20 09:32:15

My0My

Yes but as posters have said, it’s highly likely talented students have chosen to stay closer to home. I’m not sure how world rankings are determined either. Sometimes our universities are ranked in a different order from our home rankings. So how reliable is it? If the rankings for other older universities has dropped due to the emergence of new universities in Asia, surely that’s inevitable?

In this case, the decline is mostly due to dropping world-leading research outputs and worse measures for teaching, such as dropping student/staff ratios.

lemmathelemmin Fri 12-Jun-20 09:35:05

Universities have been grade inflating

That's BS.

My0My Fri 12-Jun-20 09:45:03

Yes but if you ceased funding at university levels and colleges reverted to HE, you would save. Mostly the courses have been inflated to degree courses. Lots don’t need to be. Divert money from these.

I fully understand about foreign students subsidising home students. I think this is the most difficult to work out a solution for. It’s likely this situation might be short lived but some universities will weather the storm better than others. Just like any other world leading business in this country.

My0My Fri 12-Jun-20 09:50:07

I really don’t see many high calibre critical thinkers coming out of the lower end universities where entry grades can be CCC or lower. It’s simply not the case. Many students are training for jobs. They are not the critical thinkers of this world. These young people could probably do an apprenticeship type training with a part time degree. We need to be more inventive with HE.

lljkk Fri 12-Jun-20 15:16:06

See how long the list of culled Unis would be, and try to count the many tens of thousands of students whose courses would simply be abandoned. Those students part-way thru courses would be left with nothing for all their debts. Should their debts be cancelled?

My0My Fri 12-Jun-20 15:25:01

The degrees could be taken over by other universities to allow the students to complete. This always happened years ago. Colleges of HE offered a few degrees under the umbrella of a university. They did not award their own. You do not do this immediately. You phase out and downgrade certain degree courses to HND etc. This is closer to the A level results of quite a few students anyway. It is a better way to encourage higher paying foreign students. They probably do want the better universities and of course we want them to come. The widespread upgrading of colleges (HE and Teacher Training) to universities went to far. We are now likely to be forced to revisit it and, as in most restructuring, there are disappointments. This would enable us to keep our scientific research (not thinking about the effects of brexit right now on that) and funding could be directed to the highest quality coursesand those most likely to produce critical thinkers and the leaders of tomorrow.

CatandtheFiddle Fri 12-Jun-20 16:12:04

Universities have been grade inflating and under investing for twenty years

What's your evidence for that?

And "under investing" - in what? Students? Staff? Buildings for teaching & research?

Otherwise what you say is pretty meaningless ..

CatandtheFiddle Fri 12-Jun-20 16:16:43

and funding could be directed to the highest quality coursesand those most likely to produce critical thinkers and the leaders of tomorrow

Hmmmm, a move to elites again? Let's just focus on replicating Oxbridge 10 times, and let's just chuck all the working class kids, and a lot of the young women, back into "vocational" training rather than offer them the opportunity of a critical education?

Because socio-economic advantage maps onto educational advantage from the early pre-primary year.

NoHardSell Fri 12-Jun-20 18:43:54

CatandtheFiddle

*Universities have been grade inflating and under investing for twenty years*

What's your evidence for that?

And "under investing" - in what? Students? Staff? Buildings for teaching & research?

Otherwise what you say is pretty meaningless ..

Literally just type it into google and you will get a wealth of up to date articles on this very issue

I copied one below but I could have chosen any of a dozen or more

Lecturers are literally and openly told they need to award certain percentages of the cohort with firsts, and that percentage is always increasing

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/education/2019/08/great-university-con-how-british-degree-lost-its-value

The Government knows this undermines the reputation of the sector

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/universities-told-to-end-grade-inflation

Meanwhile, underinvestment in universities ... yes I should have been more specific
There is no underinvestment in vice chancellor salaries, that's for sure, and lits of investment in shiny buildings, less in research
https://russellgroup.ac.uk/news/international-standing-of-uk-universities-under-threat/

NoHardSell Fri 12-Jun-20 18:45:29

russellgroup.ac.uk/news/international-standing-of-uk-universities-under-threat/

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