Local University Rankings: Latin America

Local University Rankings: Latin America

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University rankings are considered to be an important tool, if not the most relevant one, in determining the quality of education at higher education institutions, schools, departments and programs according to a specific set of factors. Rankings are often consulted by both applicants in the university admission process deciding on their next place of study or work, as well as directors of the institutions measured in the rankings as a benchmark against other relevant institutions.

Rankings are subject to controversy and debate among universities and students regarding usefulness and accuracy. In our previous series of posts we covered international rankings, with no specific regional focus. Among numerous comments concerning the flaws of the ranking systems presented, several readers of this blog expressed their concerns about many countries being underrepresented in the international rankings. In an attempt to fill the information gap about the quality of education in economics departments worldwide, we decided to have a closer look into regional rankings systems, starting with Latin America.

As we mentioned in an earlier post, Latin America has become a more interesting destination for Spanish-speaking graduates and young professionals; however, the presence of universities of the region in international rankings is limited. To have a better overview of universities and education quality in South America, you can find the list of the popular rankings of institutions developed for the region:

  1. América Economía’s ranking: This magazine publishes rankings about enterprises and institutions in America. Its methodology considers factors like quality of students, quality of teachers, rating of professors by students, research productivity, internationalization, integration with the community, student life quality and the inclusion of students from lower social levels.
  2. Ranking Web of Universities – Webometrics: This service is hosted by the Cybermetrics Lab from the Spanish National Research Council, CSIC. Its main purpose is to provide reliable, multidimensional, updated and useful information about the performance of universities based on their impact as demonstrated by their web presence.  (The methodology uses a compose indicator conformed by visibility comprising impact of the university, and activity including the presence, openness and excellence of the institutions.  *I really don’t understand this sentence… )
  3. QS Latin American Rankings: This ranking uses 7 indicators to measure universities: Academic reputation and employers reputation from global survey, papers written per faculty member and citations per paper from sciverse scopus, faculty to student ratio, proportion of staff with PhD, and the web impact from Webometrics. It gives the possibility to check rankings of specific disciplines like economics and econometrics.

Apart from the rankings mentioned above, each country has its own commission or institution in charge of the evaluation of universities. Examples of these include:

  1. Ranking Universitário Folha (RUF): A ranking for Brazilian universities based on 4 indicators: quality of research, quality of education, market assessment and indicators of innovation.  The indicator of the market assessment and quality of education are developed using interviews with executives and human resources directives from important companies in Brazil.
  2. National Commission of Accreditation of the Universities: The ranking for Chilean universities. It is an institution that manages the evaluation and accreditation of universities in the country. In order to get the accreditation, the commission presents obligatory areas and elective ones, for example bachelor´s education, institutional management, research, postgraduate education and impact in the society.
  3. Colombian Institution for the Evaluation of the Education ICFES: Carries out the ECAES Tests annually to evaluate the degree of development of the skills of students in undergraduate academic programs offered by institutions of higher education. ECAES constitutes a source of information for the construction of evaluation indicators of public education services in order to facilitate the decisions at all levels of education systems. The results can be seen per region or disciplines.

Feel free to share information about other rankings in the comments below!

Photo Credit: V.H. Hammer


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