» UNESCO Global Forum: Uses and misuses of university rankings
11.05.2011 - UNESCOPRESS

UNESCO Global Forum: Uses and misuses of university rankings

Are university rankings a good measure for comparing institutions of higher education? Are the criteria used in ranking systems relevant to students everywhere? Do they wield too much influence on policies of universities? These questions will be at the heart of an international forum, organised by UNESCO, the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to be held at UNESCO, 16-17 May (Room 2).

The Forum – “Rankings and Accountability in Higher Education: Uses and Misuses” – will be opened by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. Participants include Qian Tang, Assistant UNESCO Director-General for Education, Jamil Salmi, the World Bank’s Tertiary Education Coordinator, and Barbara Ischinger, the OECD’s Director for Education, along with representatives of the world’s leading rankings systems, policy-makers, experts, researchers, students, representatives of international organizations, the media and higher education establishments from around the world.

First used as an information tool aimed at satisfying public demand for transparency, international university rankings have come to be regarded as measure of quality, and spurred intense competition between establishments. In a globalized world, where higher education has become a major export industry and where student mobility is increasing exponentially, they have been transformed into policy-instruments that influence the decisions of institutions, academic staff, researchers, students and policy-makers.

The Forum will serve as an opportunity to clarify the methodology underpinning the many rankings available today, to question why they have such influence, and examine their impact on institutions’ policies. Participants will also look beyond rankings at existing and developing accountability tools for higher education.


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