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No better time to look at BRICS universities

Since Jim O’Neill, former chief economist at Goldman Sachs, coined the acronym “BRIC” in 2001 to describe four of the world’s fastest growing economies (namely Brazil, Russia, India and China), the BRIC countries have been under scrutiny, and has even been the subject of a forum organised by Columbia University, which they labelled BRICLAB. BRIC added an S in 2010 when South Africa joined the group. These five countries, making up more than 40% of the world’s total population, have reached a point where their further economic development is strongly correlated with the way they build quality higher education systems.

In fact, earlier this year, a comparative study of the BRICS higher education systems by Stanford scholars was published. University Expansion in a Changing Global Economy: Triumph of the BRICs? takes a close look at how the massive higher education expansion in Brazil, Russia, India and China is having a significant impact on the world supply of university graduates – particularly engineers and computer scientists. This expansion may also shift, at least partially, the locus of future development in the global knowledge economy towards the BRICS countries.

Perhaps a sign of the important role the BRICS are increasingly playing in matters of education, Ministers of Education from the five BRICS countries agreed to join forces with UNESCO to support education progress globally through coordinated actions and advocacy during a landmark consultation organized on the margins of the 37th Session of UNESCO’s General Conference in Paris this past November. UNESCO’s Director-General said at the opening of the consultation:
“Your countries have enormous potential individually to influence global education trends – this power is multiplied through collective action, through the experience you can share, through your growing roles as development partners, and through the new approaches you are developing for international cooperation.”

This is why there is perhaps no better time to look at the BRICS countries from a university rankings perspective. QS has been publishing a global university ranking – QS World University Rankings since 2004, and two regional rankings – QS Asian University Rankings since 2009 and QS Latin America Rankings since 2011. In December 2013, QS, in conjunction with the Russian news agency Interfax, will launch its first BRICS University Rankings. The BRICS will undoubtedly play a crucial role in tomorrow’s higher education landscape; however, they will also have to tackle massive challenges, such as quality education for all as only a minority of students go to the elite institutions that are considered world-class.

Find out the results of the first BRICS University Rankings on 17th December 2013 on topuniversities.com. In the meantime, please find more information on this post or on iu.qs.com/brics/ to register for the QS BRICS University Forum in Moscow on 17-18th December.

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