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Country ranking of higher education systems on effectiveness

Finnish universities are the most effective in the world when taking into account national income levels, according to a ranking of higher education systems.

Top 10 countries, adjusted for economic development, are
  1. Finland
  2. South Africa
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Denmark
  5. Canada
  6. Sweden
  7. Australia
  8. New Zealand
  9. Switzerland
  10. Netherlands
The rankings are judged against metrics related to resources, environment, connectivity and output, based on 24 separate variables, including the number and impact of research articles produced, university enrolment and graduate unemployment, a qualitative assessment of a country’s policy environment, and spending on tertiary education as a proportion of gross domestic product. The development-adjusted ranking is measured by adjusting GDP in purchasing-power parity terms to compensate for different prices across countries.

It shows that there is a strong relationship between levels of research funding and performance but the mix between public and private funding is of little importance. It notes that there is a trade-off between the amount of government control and the level of government funding, and the worst systems combine tight government control with limited government funding.

Countries with small populations benefit from the ease with which strong informal links between universities, business and government can be developed. These nations also tend to perform more strongly on measures of connectivity, such as share of international students or internationally co-authored articles, according to the report. It has also demonstrated that international connectivity increases the impact of research.

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