International ranking ARES-2017 – we are proud of ourselves What is ARES?

May 11, 2017

     ARES is Academic Ranking-European Standards. This is an annual international ranking of higher educational establishments. This ranking is done by European Scientific and Industrial Chamber which is a non-profit non-political association and this association actively interacts with leading educational, scientific and producing centres, European trade and industrial chambers, associations of small and middle enterprises. It evaluates the ability of universities to provide students with necessary knowledge, to participate in research activities, to actively communicate with prospective employers. This year NUBiP is among the best in Ukraine thus has improved its attractiveness internationally.
      ARES ranking is processed automatically, completely eliminating the human factor involvement. Thereby shortcomings present in Shanghai ranking, the main criterion of which is the presence of Nobel laureates in universities or QS (random experts selection). Brussels, where the headquarters of this chamber is indifferent to the geographical location of a university.
     Ranking has four categories of assessment, each of which contains several subcategories, from the smallest set of relevant skills to the maximum. The first category is A (AAA, AA +, AA, A +, A): high quality teaching, research, and demand for graduates at labour market; The second is B (BBB +, BBB, BB +, BB, B +, B): reliable quality of teaching, research, and graduates demand. Although there are still categories C and D, which confirm the complete inadequacy of a university according to European standards.

Results of ARES-2016/2017 academic year

      This year's ARES ranking of universities was carried out in strict accordance with European standards. It attracted a large number of participants, both in Ukraine and abroad. 
      The fact that outcomes of a university academic work do not depend on the human factor and on such parameters as the presence of Nobel laureates (ARWU ranking lowers dramatically if Nobel laureates are absent) makes ARES particularly attractive. Although this year it presented some unexpected results.
      73 Ukrainian higher educational institutions (last year this number was 61) participated in this ranking (73 is the number of Ukraine’s universities, which were allowed to be evaluated in relevance with YENPP criteria). National University of Life and Environmental Sciences took the eighth position (last year we were the 10th ). We are close to V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University and Kharkiv Kharkiv Polytechnic University (respectively the 3rd and the 4th places) and are too close to Odessa I.I. Mechnikov National University and Chernivtsi National University. 
      NUBiP attributes to the BBB + category, which includes the largest number of criteria (six) which means reliable quality of teaching, extensive research activities and graduates demand. The ranking assessed the quality of education, the availability of strategic university management and rules aimed at improving the quality of education, constant evaluation and correction of teaching methods and monitoring pedagogical approaches, achievements of teachers in academic and scientific work in 2016/2017 academic year, the number of conferences and workshops in which university faculty participated in 2016, the list of foreign universities with which University worked fulfilling research and academic programs, the ratio of the number of publications in scientific journals, the number of teaching staff, a program of cooperation with potential employers. 

      We finish our review optimistically. 73 Ukrainian universities managed to avoid "C" category. That is a positive trend. The rest of the universities because of serious problems with quality of education were in category D. 

Who needs university ranking? A European point of view 

     Now EU reconsiders criteria for evaluating universities. Until recently, the world ranking has mainly been determined by the presence of Nobel laureates or Fields Medal Winners (for mathematicians), publications in prestigious journals Science and Nature. And this in a global context led to estimate Ukrainian universities moderately. Now trends are changing. Additional options are introduced such as the role of a university in the region, monitoring of scientific and academic process, the use of modern technologies, informatization of educational process and a number of others. 
     The assessment of Ukrainian universities have dramatically changed. An analysis of data on 2,678 leading universities in the world showed that a number of Ukrainian universities are among top. The best is Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv.
      In 2014, another important criterion was introduced which demands the cooperation of a university with employers. More recently, more than 80% of European employers used university rankings such as Shanghai or QS when hiring graduates. Why? This policy reduces the search time for future employyes. But then the times of crisis came and unpredictable happened. In Europe, according to statistics, less than 20% of employers took the ranking into account, and 80% believed that the well-known criterion is outdated and this traditional evaluation should be reconsidered. Now the main thing for employers is not the number of Nobel laureates who have studied or trained in any university, and how a current graduate adapts to the production process, a dynamic and changing environment but their ability to quickly learn and then teach others. They are less interested in the number of publications by professors and assistant professors than by students participation in specific programs aimed at cooperation with industry. 
      Thus, contemporary employer wants a future graduate to be well-educated, aware what the post-crisis, diversified and dynamic production is and to be actively involved in a developing strategy and quickly get involved in the production process. And if the ranking has the criterion of the opinion of employers (not the number of published papers, although it is also too important), the results might be more than surprising. Having applied this criterion to Ukraine, it was found that a number of universities, including NUBiP, got higher places in the rankings as they train graduates who fully meet modern employers’ requirements.
      The cooperation of employers and scientific activity, including active involvement of students in research is another important criterion of ARES. Maybe for us it sounds paradoxical, but Europe is gradually moving away from the paradigm of "the development of innovative technologies." It is replaced by development of innovative technologies which can change the market. Only they can lead to a rapid economic recovery. 
      Without any doubt, readers will be curious to know how this ranking of NUBiP is compared with other universities in post-Soviet states and advanced European countries and, for example, the United States of America. Eurochamber conducts conducts such an evaluation. Let us consider only those universities which are within the range of BBB + category. In the US, they are 9, Ukraine – 6, Belarus – 2, Kazakhstan – 6, Azerbaijan – 2 Russian Federation – 12. 

Anatolii Shostak,

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