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Rankings? No thanks!

The vast majority of national student unions in Europe do not want to see a European system of university rankings or classification, nor do such proposals work in the best interests of European students.  This was the strong message in a new statement issued this by ESU on the ‘transparency tools’ currently being touted as a quality-enhancement and choice tool at European level.  With the European Commission having launched a call to tender for a ‘feasibility study’ into how Europe could follow its UK and US counterparts by having a system for the ranking of universities, ESU launched its counter-declaration to clearly demonstrate why such proposals work against the needs and priorities of both students and higher education institutions.

The primary concern is that the effort devoted to developing rankings and classification will divert much-needed attention away from quality assurance which provides a much more balanced, comprehensive and accurate picture of institutional performance and educational standards.  It also creates a well-founded fear that such a system would set HEIs in a competitive reputation race that would distort their focus away from providing a student-centred learning experience to one that would position them higher up a league table.
But with European education leaders preoccupied with trying to emulate the prestige attached to American and British universities, it is going to take a lot of work to reverse the current obsession with so-called ‘transparency tools.’  This is one battle that is only just beginning.You can read ESU’s full rankings statement here.


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