The 2015 Times Higher Education Survey has confirmed that Australia’s newest universities are among the best in the world. The results released this week are proof-positive of the quality of our young universities, with 16 of our institutions ranked in the top 100 universities worldwide that are less than 50 years old.
Australia now has more highly ranked universities in the 50 year or under category than any other nation. The newer universities rankings are an indication of those that are challenging the dominance of prestigious institutions such as the Ivy League campuses in the US, Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, and the Group of 8 Australian universities.
The rankings also suggest the Australian Government should tread lightly in making any radical changes to our present system. The indications are that fee deregulation could destabilise the growth of newer universities and relegate them to permanent status as second tier institutions. There is concern that fee deregulation will see higher fee paying students opting to study at our older and more famous universities, leaving newer institutions to fight over the scraps.
According to The Australian, Phil Baty, the Times Higher Education’s rankings editor, suggested the current Australian university system provides consistency that is reflected in the rankings.
“That is different to the UK and the US, which have the very best universities in the world, but they also have a very long tail of very poor ones. That’s not the case in Australia. Deregulated fees would put a bigger gap between the very best and the rest,” Mr Baty said.
Linda Kristjanson, the vice-chancellor of Swinburne University agrees. Swinburne came in at number 65 amongst the newer universities – the first time it has been ranked in the top 100.
“[The rankings] should cause us to continue to critically evaluate proposed changes which would radically alter the policy and funding settings on which this success has been built,” Kristjanson said.