According to the most recent global table, the UK now has six universities in a top world ranking.
In the World University rankings it has emerged that, unsurprisingly, Oxbridge continues to remain in the top 10 (with graduates from there deemed to be “the world’s most employable”), along with Imperial and UCL, with Edinburgh and King’s College London holding a place in the top 20. In the context of the global ranking, Cambridge holds third place, beaten only by Harvard in second place and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in first place.
The type of subject also has a bearing on an institution’s position in the table; Oxford and Cambridge are the best subjects for seven key subjects, and according to the BBC website, “Oxford came top for English language and literature, philosophy, modern languages and geography in the QS World University Rankings by subject… Cambridge was first for maths, linguistics and history.” So while the UK is evidently the best place in the world for subjects such as English literature and geography, American universities such as MIT are clearly the places to go when it comes to the best education in technology.
However, many academics and educational spokespeople maintain that – with the detrimental effects on UK educational spending brought on by the recession, rising student fees and fewer applicants to university – the UK must increase funding in its education in order to remain at the top of the table.
Given the relative small size of the country, the UK has consistently proven that it can produce graduates whose education is highly valued in the global marketplace; the great influx of foreign students to the UK to seek a British degree is sufficient evidence of its great value.
A spokesperson for the Russell Group – an organisation of prestigious UK universities – has emphasised the importance of keeping the doors to UK higher education open, saying “If our universities are to compete in the future they need the government to provide light-touch regulation and continued investment, and to be welcoming to genuine international students.”. With international fees being several times higher for foreign students than for UK students, this is likely to be a challenge.
A university minister has remained cautiously optimistic about the future of the UK’s position in the world’s university ranking; “Our reforms to undergraduate finance have put universities on a sustainable financial footing and sharpened incentives to deliver a world-class student experience.”