Madam Liu Yan Dong, Vice Premier of China, is one of the most influential female political leader in China and in the world

China Vice Premier Endorsed QS work in Major speech Highlighting 5 Years Plan for Chinese Universities


On 8th January 2016, during an important speech in the State Council of China, highlighting China’s 13th Five-Year Plan on education(2016-2010) for nearly 3000 Chinese universities, Madam Liu Yandong quoted the latest QS World University Ranking results to demonstrated the international competitiveness of top Chinese universities have already been recognised globally. This makes QS the only world university ranking being endorsed by the top Chinese government leader.

A graduate of Tsinghua University, Liu’s career has long been associated with Hu JinTao, China’s President 2003-2013, who she has been working closely with in the Communist Youth League colleague. In 2013, she was appointed Vice Premier, second in rank, with responsibility to oversee the portfolios of health, education, and sports. Liu is the fifth-ever female Politburo member since the foundation of the PRC in 1949. Since the appointment, Madam Liu is not only the most powerful woman in the Chinese government, but also one of the most powerful in the world.

Based on the 13th Five-Year Plan of China on Education: China aims to build a group of top Chinese universities with world-class quality and reputation by 2020.

In order to achieve this ambitious goal, more than 110 “high-level” universities will be established across China in the next 5 years. Some 11 provincial regions have also come up with financial support measures, with the total amount raised close to 40 billion RMB. Shandong province said it would raise up to 5 billion RMB, while Hubei province pledged an annual investment of 1 to 2 billion RMB.

Key tasks requires to achieve those goals include focuses on student quality, innovation, international cooperation, teaching quality and so on.

The 13th Five-Year Plan of China also gives details on the students number they want to reach. For example, in 2015, the number of students receiving higher education, nine-year compulsory education, and preschool education reached 36.5 million, 140 million, and 42.7 million respectively. The Chinese government aim to increase those numbers to 38.5 million, 150 million, and 45 million by 2020. A special focus has been put on the recruitment of top international students outside China.

In the speech of Madam Liu, which is published by the official website of China’s State Council, she said: “The international reputation of China’s education has been growing from strength to strength. Some of the academic disciplines in China have already reached leading positions internationally. This has helped to gain invaluable experience for Chinese universities to developed themselves into top world-class universities with Chinese characteristics. The overall world university ranking of Chinese universities have been rising in recent years, with remarkable progress in academic papers published and international reputations. In 2015, there are 25 Chinese university in mainland China that has been included in the UK’s QS World University Ranking Top 500. ”

This major speech took place at a critical and important time for the Chinese education sector. Firstly, all the Chinese universities just finished its 12th Five Year Plan(2010-2015) and is about to start implement its next 5 year plan. Secondly, the Chinese government have not revealed details on how to allocate the next round of government funding to support all Chinese universities to implement their next 13th Five-Years Plan. Thirdly, the State Council of China aim to build more and more universities and majors which are rated as “world-class” by 2020. However, the Chinese government in the past has not made it clear which university rating systems they would adopt to evaluate the performance of Chinese Universities’ global standing. The Vice Premier’s speech quoting QS ranking to applaud the improvements of Chinese universities are strong recommendation for QS rankings to become one of the major benchmarks to guide China’s next around of education reform.

Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, said “I am completely overwhelmed by this fantastic news. China is one of the most difficult and complicated markets in the world. It is a tremendous privilege and surprise to get endorsement from China Vice Premier for our work 2 years after I joined QS. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in my amazing dream team in QSIU and QS, without your amazing support, unswerving trust, and invaluable advice since day one I joined, this would never have been possible. Next step, let us continue working closely together to help 3000 Chinese universities of 37 million students to reach their true potentially in the next 5 years!”

(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, speaking at a University Presidents’ Forum in China recently on the future directions for universities presidents to collaborate efficiently across borders, with top universities presidents from the UK, USA, Mexico, Thailand, Belgium, Russia and Cambodia)


In with the new and out with old? Or lessons learnt from the past? Remembering and Re-imagining Education

In light of the upcoming Re-imagine Education Awards, the innovative global competition launched last year by QS and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to find the world’s top higher education pedagogical innovation. I started reminiscing about my own university experience, and one particular course came to mind when I looked closely at Hybrid Learning. At QSIU, we are proud to have a team with a diverse skill set, a range of over 12 languages, and have come from various different universities from around the world. Below is an account of a few QSIU team members who share their own memorable experience of past pedagogical methods that have been particularly effective.

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QS publishes the first QS Graduate Employability Rankings!

The pilot edition of the Rankings applies QS’s new innovative approach, intending to take the discussions on employability rankings to the next level. Stanford leads this first edition; more than 20 new institutions place in the top 50.

Employability has been a hot topic for the Higher Education industry for years. With far easier access to a far broader selection of universities, it became an even more relevant aspect of students’ decision making. QS has been measuring employability in all of its rankings, with our Employer Reputation Survey running for over 20 years. But given the public’s special interest in this topic, it was time to expand the analysis, step out of the comfort zone, and create a new, specific ranking.

The primary aim of the QS Graduate Employability Rankings is to help students make informed choices for their educational futures based specifically on the ability of their chosen university to help them succeed in the employment market. Thorough research conducted over the course of 13 months saw consultation with, and input from, academics, university representatives, companies, students and alumni. This year’s experimental methodology was extensively refined throughout the year, and we are delighted to have introduced – for the first time ever in our rankings – unique metrics such as graduate employment rate and university partnerships with employers.

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Join Apple, Google, edX, Noodle, Wharton and Harvard to Reimagine Education

If you intended to enter the Reimagine Education Awards, the innovative global competition launched last year by QS and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to find the world’s top higher education pedagogical innovation, entries for 2015 have closed.

Well over 500 projects from 40 countries have been submitted. The overall winner will receive a US$50,000 cash prize and all shortlisted projects will be featured on the Reimagine Education 2015 e-guide, receiving global visibility.

This means that it’s now time to book for the Reimagine Education Conference and awards event.
It will be held at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania on December 7-9.

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New Rankings: QS Graduate Employability Rankings

The QS Intelligence Unit is proud to announce the future release of a new ranking focusing on employability outcomes for the graduates.

Leonardo Silveira, in charge of the project in London, told Tamara Sredojevic about the QS Graduate Employability Rankings:

What is the QS Graduate Employability Rankings?

The QS Graduate Employability Rankings comes from an extensive research project which has been running since October 2014. This project has aimed to design a new approach and methodology on employability in university rankings.

Following the research project, we are going to launch a first edition this November at the 11th QS-APPLE in Melbourne. As a pilot initiative, this new rankings will not at first alter the other QS University Rankings results.

What initiated the QS Graduate Employability Rankings?

So far, employability has been approached in the most prominent rankings solely by using employer reputation data. But it has also always been one of the main differentiators of the QS University Rankings.

Thereby, after dealing with this subject for many years, we realized there was a huge demand both from students and universities to get in-depth information on employability outcomes after graduation. This is why we decided to create a whole new ranking dedicated to employability. Read more


QS met OECD Secretary General

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On 23th Febuary, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, was invited to an event where Angel Gurría Secretary-General of OECD was giving a City Lecture hosted by Official Monetary and Financial Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum(OMFIF) The Livery Hall of London, UK.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was founded after WWII, in 1948 to run the US-financed Marshall Plan for reconstruction of Europe. Since 1961 when the new OECD Convention was implemented, OECD has grown to become an influential international economic organisation of 34 countries, supporting economic progress and world trade. Through close working partnership with Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and South Africa, OECD actively engage 40 countries that account for 80% of world trade and investment.

Angel spent about half an hour talking about his view on efficient measures to attract global investments to bring about stronger, fairer and greener economic growth around the world. He had quoted a lot of figures in his speech to highlight the importance of productivity in boosting long term economic growth around the world.

Productivity Freeway Exit Sign

He stressed many times in his speech the reasons that many countries in the world now start to experience slow growth economy- It is mainly because of productivity issue in the labour force-not since the financial crisis in 2008 , but long before that.

To order to enhance productivity, education is positioned at the centre, to support innovation, entrepreneurship, skills of labour markets, research, knowledge transfer. He used the example of Greece to highlight the issue of how low productivity has impacted on its economy.

The OECD Secretary General believed that now it would be the right time to encourage countries to develop a knowledge-driven economy, with more investments to strengthened infrastructure and better finance to support SMEs are all important to enhance productivity of countries, and hence boost long term economic growth.

On infrastructure, he said that measures should be developed to encourage more private sector to actively participate in infrastructure investment through the Public Private Partnerships (PPP).


Questions to the OECD Secretary General
As always, I was the first to raise the hand to ask the VIP speaker a question. I did think about asking him a question on education related question. But since he had spent so much time talking about the importance of productivity and the role of education in supporting. It might sound a bit repetitive in doing that. Therefore, I said: “Mr. Secretary General, you know it is now Chinese New Year now. While people around the world are celebrating Chinese New Year, many policies makers around the world are also discussing the Chinese Economy, which has grown into a ‘New Normal’stage, with slightly slower but healthy economic growth as proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping. What is your view on the Chinese Economy with the ‘New Normal’growth, and how would that impact on our discussion today-global investments to support a stronger, fairer and greener growth”.

Clearly, the OECD Secretary General is very optimistic about the Chinese economy. He said that “The Chinese Economy with an annual growth rate of 7% is sustainable”. He thought the Chinese government is obviously very modest about their own economic forecast-“When President Xi Jinping said that the Chinese Economy would maintain about 7%, that is probably means the Chinese economy would remained at about 7.5% growth a year”. “They always tend to low-down the economic growth. That is very smart.If you end up 7.2%a year, you could say you over-shot the proper target”. China’s GDP grew at 7.4% last year”. “At such a growth rate, It does not let you lose any credibility. This is especially useful if you moderate the speed of growth. I think 7% growth is sustained and is good, which is normal, which is proper.I think anyone who thought they would be able to sustain 11% growth every year is not sustainble”. In conclusion, he said, “The current Chinese economy is stronger, fairer and greener growth”.

QS Discussion
After the lecture, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang had enjoyed a interesting discussion with Angel Gurría Secretary-General of OECD on potential opportunities for OECD to work with QS on education related projects. Mr Secretary-General of OECD was very interested in what QS have been doing on the World University Ranking. He was very happy to be given the QS World University Ranking 10 Years Anniversary Book and a supplement of the QS World University Honoured. The Secretary General said he would like to ask Andreas Schleicher – Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills at OECD to get in touch and explore opportunities working together.

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(Angel Gurría Secretary-General of OECD took a photo with Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, holding both QS World University Ranking 2014 Supplement and QS World University Ranking 10 Years Anniversary Book, as a special recognition of the great work QS has been doing in the world of higher education)


QS World University Rankings 2014 launch event

10 years, we’ve come a long way… have you?

The world has changed a lot in the past decade and globalization is now a reality brought about by profound technological and socio-economic transformation.

Can you think of a world without Facebook, Twitter or smart phones? And can you think of global higher education without rankings?

QS pioneered a ranking for the internationally mobile students and published the first edition of the QS World University Rankings in 2004. The methodology of this ranking can he found here.

We would like to invite you to join the celebration.

The launch of this year’s edition of the QS World University Rankings will take place on September 16th in Prague during the annual EAIE Conference, at the Hotel Ambassador- Zlata Husa. This event will feature a rankings review in the last 10 years, a panel discussion with high profiled speakers, and this year results, followed by a reception including a QS Stars ceremony. The full agenda of the event is available here.

The launch is a free entry event and it will include welcome coffee and reception drinks. Places are limited.

To secure your FREE place at this year’s live launch register now!

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IREG Conference 2014: The Corporate Perspective on the employability of Graduates:

Moderator: Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive, Association of Graduate Recruiters, UK

The meeting presentation started off by citing the McKinsey report of Education which can be accessed via the link below:

The recent AGR graduate vacancy data identified graduate vacancy growth areas in the UK are:

  • IT/Telecoms 40%
  • Public sector 22%
  • Energy 18%
  • Banking/ Financial services 16%
  • Accounting/ Professional Services 12%
  • Engineering 9%
  • Investment Banking & Law still flat

However, there are various factors that feed into the shortfall of quality graduates. These include poor perceptions of the market, weak applications (lack of research and candidates using a sloppy approach), skills shortage e.g. electrical engineers and a lack of “work ready skills” . In addition,candidates exhibit lack flexibility and resilience.

The AGR evidenced that 75% of UK recruiters don’t care about what degree you studied but more interested in your skills. So what are the employer needs and what competencies do they seek?

  • An ability to work collaboratively with teams of people from a range of backgrounds and countries
  • Excellent communication skills: both speaking and listening
  • A high degree of drive and resilience
  • An ability to embrace multiple perspectives and challenge thinking
  • A capacity to develop new skills and behaviours according to the role requirements
  • A high degree of self-awareness
  • An ability to negotiate and influence clients across the globe from different cultures
  • An ability to form professional global networks
  • An openness to and respect a range of perspectives from around from the world
  • Multi-cultural learning agility (e.g. able to learn in any culture or environment)
  • Multilingual
  • Knowledge of foreign economies and own industry area overseas
  • An understanding of one’s position and role within a global context or economy
  • A willingness to play an active role in society at a local, national and international level.


The Link Between Employability and Academic Rankings

By Martin Ince

Senior representatives of the three main global university rankings and the newest arrival on the scene came together for the first time at a conference in London jointly organised by the IREG Observatory on University Ranking and the QS Intelligence Unit.

The discussion of future developments in rankings formed part of the IREG-7 meeting, the seventh major conference held by the global accreditation group. QS’s are the only international rankings to have been accredited so far. The session featured the new U-Multirank publication, as well as QS, the Shanghai Ranking Consultancy and Times Higher Education.

Gero Federkeil, representing U-Multirank, explained that U-Multirank is not a ranking: instead it is a way of comparing universities at large, or in specific subjects, on criteria ranging from research to civic engagement. At present it covers just four subjects (mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, physics and business), but more are promised. Psychology, medicine and computer science will be added next.

More than 170 people from 42 nations took part in the two days of debate at University College London. The 35 platform speakers ranged over the full range of issues raised by the national and international ranking of universities. But most touched on the specific theme of the conference, the link between employability and academic rankings.

With this emphasis in mind, the first major session began with presentations not from rankers but from employers. Three – Shell, Siemens and Airbus – recruit from universities around the world, and spoke fascinatingly about their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the student body they choose from. The fourth body represented, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, is proud to approach the topic of graduate employability from a different angle. As a self-confessed less glamorous destination for the ambitious graduate, the company recruits from a full range of UK universities and in all subjects.

Despite these big differences, all four employers agreed that they are after business-savvy graduates who are literate, numerate, and know how to operate in a work setting. One speaker, Beth Jenkins from Shell, even brushed off a question about the technical abilities of graduates, saying that the subject knowledge of university leavers has never been an issue. Instead, she is more inclined to be impressed by quantifiable evidence of success in a non-academic project. The audience was left in little doubt that while these recruiters read rankings, their hiring practices make use of a far wider range of information than rankings currently capture. In particular, there is no simple metric that captures the ability of a university to produce future leaders.

Despite these issues, delegates were left in no doubt that rankings drive university managers in creative ways. Euiho Suh of POSTECH and Han Soo Kim of Sejong University, both in Korea, described their approach to this task. They use a “Curability-Weakness Diagram” to map how far their universities are from an acceptable performance on specific rankings criteria (weakness), and how feasible it is to improve on that measure (curability). This approach drives university managers to concentrate their fire on the biggest and most tractable issues.

However, perhaps the conference’s biggest tribute to the success of university rankings was paid by Chiara Mio and Achille Giacometti, both based at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice in Italy.

They made the case that environmental sustainability is a neglected aspect of university performance, despite the existence of measures such as GreenMetric  which aim to capture environmental achievement at campus level. And they suggested that sustainability be added to existing rankings, in the hope of getting university managers to take it more seriously.

As Ben Sowter, director of the QS Intelligence Unit, put it, it is one thing for us to rank universities on important aspects of their behaviour, but quite another to measure them on things that we wish they were more serious about. That way lies the prospect of rankings as social engineering. Do we want a mediocre university to decide it can up its ranking by spending money on solar panels, or on better professors?

The highlights of IREG-7 will soon be online at The conference concluded with Jan Sadlak, president of IREG, announcing that IREG’s next event, on university subject rankings, will be at Aalborg University in Denmark in June 2015.