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French Universities versus English Universities
On 15th August, the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities was published. The verdict? Oxford and Cambridge still rank well before French universities! Each year this ranking compares more than 1200 universities all over the world. This year, Harvard University is first, closely followed by Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Universityof Cambridge is fifth and University of Oxford is (bad luck Oxford)…tenth.
So what about French universities?
As usual, French Universities are badly placed in this ranking. University of Paris Sud (Paris 11) is fortieth, just before Pierre and Marie Curie University (Paris 6). And Ecole Normale Superieure of Paris is only sixty ninth! This does make one wonder how pertinent the ranking system is...
A polemical ranking
The ranking is, understandably, highly polemical; criticised, amongst other things, for its limited and overly precise criteria. For example the main indicators are the numbers of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, the number of articles published in journals of Nature and Science or the number of articles indexed in Science Citation Index. These are clearly objective criteria and not exactly representative of a university’s performance, nor its standard of teaching.
Nevertheless, the minister of Higher Education, Laurent Wauquier stated that French Universities achieved a “tangible progress” in comparison with 2006. Nowadays, 8 French University are in the top-200; in 2006 they were 6. The minister added that with the new poles of researches and higher Education (PRES), we would increase the ranking. We have to persist and continue.
By the way, European University are, by a majority, disadvantaged. It would seem that the solution would be to have a seperate ranking of European Universities…
To see the full ranking, click here: http://www.shanghairanking.com/ARWU2011.html
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