Tel Aviv University - Aviad Bar Nes - May 1, 2012
Tel Aviv University. Photo by Aviad Bar Nes
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A new system to rank higher education around the world has placed Israel in 19th place, out of 48 countries, using a method that looks at countries in their entirety, rather than individual universities.

An organization called Universitas 21 developed the ranking system, devised by researchers from the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economics and Social Research, to identify the countries that provided the best post-high school education.

The scale looks at the 48 countries through a prism of 20 criteria in four categories: resources (investment by the government and private sector in higher education); output (in terms of research and the supply of an educated workforce in keeping with market needs); connectivity (international collaboration); and environment (government policy and regulation, diversity and participation opportunities).

In one of the criteria - percentage of people in the workforce with post-high school education - Israel came in third, following Russia and Canada.

The ten leading countries according to the Universitas 21 scale were the United States, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Switzerland, Norway, Australia, Holland and Britain.

The United States was first in the number of academic articles published, while Sweden had the largest number of such articles per capita, followed by Switzerland, Denmark, Australia, Holland and Canada.

Finland's government spends the largest percentage of its Gross Domestic Product on higher education, followed by Norway and Denmark.

The 48 countries included in the study were taken from the United States' National Science Foundation list of leading countries in the production of academic articles for 2006-2007.