University Rankings: the awful secret is now out!

My friend and colleague Dr. Senthil Nathan has been a long time educator in the United Arab Emirates. During his twenty plus years at Higher Education of Technology he has held posts ranging from an Engineering instructor to department chair to campus director to Deputy Vice Chancellor before he left in late 2014 to co-found our company Edu Alliance.

Senthil is first and foremost an educator who believes in very much in teaching and learning. I felt my readers would be interested in his thoughts on an article by The Telegraph concerning a recent report by Times Higher Education on university ranking on teaching excellence in UK. We would like to learn your thoughts.

University Rankings: the awful secret is now out!

Most of us who have worked for and/or studied at top ranked “research” universities have always known this secret: many research professors and research focused universities do not give high priority to teaching and student learning.

Recent Times Higher Education university ranking on teaching excellence in UK universities is a strong evidence of what many of us have known all along.

World’s top ranked Oxford University – is ranked 28 in teaching excellence in UK. Not a single Russell group university in the top 10 of this ranking.  Parents, students, funding agencies and employers – must all pay close attention to this ranking – rather than research focused world ranking – for undergraduate education.

I hope that this ranking system helps top research universities refocus on teaching and learning – and for the top teaching universities not to be distracted by trying to pursue a basic research agenda (rather poorly).

Finally, I do hope that the governments and the universities in the UAE / GCC region pay much more attention to Teaching Excellence rankings – as this should be the top priority at this stage of development of higher education in this region.

Dr. Senthil Nathan

Director & Co-Founder

Edu Alliance Ltd.

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