The Netherlands boasts the 4th highest number of top universities in the world - punching way above its size, according to international experts in education.
This is according to the prestigious British education weekly, The Times Higher Education (THE), which has just released the latest results of its World University Rankings 2015-2016 featuring the Top 200 institutes around the globe. The only countries ranking higher than the Netherlands are the US, UK and Germany.
The Netherlands has 12 institutes in the Top 200, one up from last year. Among those, the highest ranked is Wageningen University (47) with which Wittenborg University is currently jointly supervising PhD studies on Climate Change and Tourism in Africa.
According to THE, as European countries get stronger the US is feeling the heat. Although the traditional Western powerhouse still has 6 universities in the Top 10, it shows signs of decline. The US now has 63 universities in the Top 200, down from 74 last year, and 77 the year before.
By way of explaining the phenomenon, Simon Marginson, professor of international higher education at the UCL Institute of Education, told THE that US research is “not declining in the absolute sense”, but rather “other countries are improving and crowding into the top 200 space”.
One of those countries is the Netherlands, which after its ranking was described by Phil Baty, editor of THE as a country "punching above its weight". He predicts the Netherlands' success will grow in the coming years due to the fact that it abolished the so-called "loan-system'' saving about a million euros which could be invested elsewhere in education.
Overall, Europe has 345 universities in the world Top 800, meaning its institutions comprise more than two-fifths of this specific table. Professor Marginson said that the results reveal that “15 years of consolidation of higher education, in the Nordic countries, the Low Countries and German-speaking world, is now bearing fruit”.
In particular, he cited national programmes to foster research concentrations, the European Research Area grant programmes, the Bologna-instigated reforms, and “carefully managed immigration policies that decouple high-talent recruitment from other forms of migration” as strategies that have improved their university systems.
by Anesca Smith