Times Higher Education has released its ranking of the world’s most international institutions, which measures a school’s “international outlook” by evaluating an institution’s proportion of international staff, students and research papers with at least one co-author from a different country — and the results show progress worldwide.
This year, Qatar University topped Times Higher Education’s list, surpassing what are traditionally the highest ranked schools: the University of Luxembourg, University of Geneva and École Polytechnique Féd´rale de Lausanne in Switzerland.
The president of Qatar University, Hassan Rashid Al-Derham, said that his university’s high representation of international students can be attributed to the “demographics of the Gulf region rather than an aggressive internationalization strategy” on behalf of the institution.
By contrast, however, the university’s high proportion of international research projects is a result of deliberate policy. “The generous funds provided to Qatari and international researchers encourage international collaboration and, as a result, Qatar tops the charts in international collaboration.”
Collectively, London has the highest concentration of internationalized schools than any other city in the world. The city features a total of 15 of the top 200 most international schools. Of the London schools, Imperial College London sits at the highest ranking in 10th place.
London’s Mayor Boris Johnson had much praise to offer higher education in his city. “At the cutting edge of innovation and creativity, and with unique cultural richness, London continues to have unrivaled international appeal, attracting the brightest academic and student brains on the planet.”
East Asia’s institutions of higher education are on the rise regarding their international indicators. Ranking third among the world’s most international schools is the University of Hong Kong. Close behind, the University of Macau, located in China, is ranked sixth while the National University of Singapore ranks ninth. The internationalization of these Asian schools is the result of breakneck economic development, which is attracting young foreigners looking for employment and training.
Notably, however, not a single Indian college or university ranks among the top 200 most international schools.
But readers should not assume that the list measures measure the caliber of international universities. The list that measures ranks the quality of international colleges and universities is dominated by institutions in North America, like Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard University and Stanford University.
Conspicuously, well-known elite North American institutions are either absent from the list or notable for their relatively low scores on it. For example, MIT, which is the most international university in the United States of America, ranks only at 90th place.
Given the high enrollment of their native population, North American institutions feature less of an international presence than schools in Europe or Asia. Overall, only twenty-two North American institutions are listed among the most international top 200 compared with 128 in Europe and 31 in Oceania.
The level of a school’s internationalization does not necessarily imply a higher quality of education. There is, however, a relationship between the two attributes.
“An institution’s global outlook is one of the key markers of a prestigious university. The top institutions hire faculty from all over the world, attract students from a global market of top talent and collaborate with leading departments wherever they happen to be based.”
In an increasingly globalized society, a school’s international indicators are becoming as important as traditional metrics such as graduation rates and average class sizes used to determine the value of a school.