Academic Rankings and Advancement of Higher Education
Lessons from Asia and other Regions
Background and context
IREG-6 Conference will be an important venue for representatives of the ranking organizations, experts on quality assurance and academic excellence as well as stakeholders and interested parties to meet and discuss various topics concerning the academic rankings and other type of assessment of performance of higher education institutions.
On previous occasions, IREG conferences met in Warsaw, Washington, Berlin, Shanghai, Astana, and again in Berlin, demonstrating a growing interest and relevance of a relatively new phenomenon which is academic rankings. As already indicated by title of the meeting, without neglecting relevant developments in other regions, the IREG-6 conference will concentrate on higher education in Asia Region. This region made tremendous progress in expanding access to higher education and as observes, Richard C. Levin, President of Yale University:
“The leading countries of Asia are focused on an even more challenging goal: building universities that can compete with the finest in the world. The governments of China, India, Singapore and South Korea are explicitly seeking to elevate some of their universities to this exalted status because they recognise the important role that university-based scientific research has played in driving economic growth in the United States, Europe and Japan.”
It is also a region in which university rankings found acceptance and became important for governments, universities, students and other stake holders. The reason seems to be that rankings, with all due limitations, are perceived as “mirror” of their performance. Like in other parts of the world, Asian countries hope that a funding concentration policy will lead to creation of several top ranked institutions. In fact, there has been continuous debate over the direct and indirect effects of these policies. Reflection of these discussions will surely resonate during this meeting.
Like the previous meetings, IREG-6 will discuss new developments in university rankings with a special attention to their reliability and quality enhancement. In April 2011, IREG Observatory on Ranking and Excellence has adopted the rules and procedures that will be used in assessing the quality of rankings. The purpose of an audit, conducted by independent academic teams, will be to verify if a ranking under review was done professionally, and observes good practices, providing students, their parents and employers with information allowing them to compare and assess programs offered by higher education institutions (more information can be accessed at www.ireg-observatory.org). At present, the audit process is ongoing, but it starts to have an impact on the development of existing ranking systems, and successfully drive rankers to make a self-examination according to these principles.
This two-day conference, will provide the participants not only a good insight into recent developments in academic rankings but will give an opportunity to interact directly with rankers of leading international and national rankings, researchers, university leaders, policy makers and other stake-holders from various regions to discuss major developments related directly and indirectly to higher education. Those who are interested are invited to take part in the event and are advised to register early due to the limited availability.
Last but not least, IREG-6 Conference and post conference (optional) programs will provide a great opportunity to experience the beauty, dynamism, history, exquisite cuisine and hospitality of Taiwan and its people.