These countries could be the world’s new education superstars, outstripping the BRICS nations

BE2C2 Report — Seven countries are surprise risers in the global university rankings as they build a big, strong, respected higher-education system making the economy grow, a study shows. The two emerging economies – India and China which are expected to become one of the three (besides USA) global economic powers by 2015 are amiss from the survey findings.

The London School of Economics analysis of nearly 15,000 universities in 78 countries has found that doubling the number of universities in a region results in a 4.7% increase in GDP per capita in that area within five years.

Working with the Center for Global Higher Education at the UCL Institute of Education, Times Higher Education has looked at a range of academic and economic metrics like research publication rates, higher education participation rates and GDP per head, and identified seven countries that are in prime position to succeed.

From a higher education point of view, Thailand, Argentina, Chile, Turkey, Iran, Colombia and Serbia have the potential to outstrip the BRICS nations of Brazil, Russia India, China and South Africa – the countries traditionally identified as global rising stars, WEF reported.

In all these countries, GDP is below US$15,000 a head, yet at least half the youth population is enrolled in higher education. Participation grew by 5% or more between 2010 and 2014; their research output is growing from a base of at least 30,000 papers a year; and they have at least one university in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The full methodology for the analysis is available here.

An analysis of data shows  that higher levels of corruption correlate with lower quality research (chart above).

Although these countries all boast the fertile conditions needed to bear fruit, they are far from homogeneous: each country has “a different cocktail of strengths and weaknesses”, Times Higher Education (THE) THE editor John Gill explains, pointing to Iran and Turkey – both intellectually rich nations, which perform well on gross higher education enrollment and boast sustained growth in participation. “Yet each faces huge political challenges.”

In their research output, university participation and performance in global rankings, these overlooked “ones to watch” (7 countries) are already frequently out-punching the BRICS nations. And when countries perform well in these areas, they almost always reap the economic rewards too, the analysis found.

(The original article appeared in WEF website)

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