Home » Latin America University Rankings 2023: Results Announced
America Education Global News News South America

Latin America University Rankings 2023: Results Announced

Chilean universities are on track to become the most internationally outward-looking institutions in the Latin American region, Times Higher Education’s latest ranking suggests.

The country’s average score for international outlook has consistently risen since 2019 to reach 70 in the THE Latin America University Rankings 2023. Chile is second in the region on this measure, when only considering countries with at least four ranked universities, but is poised to overtake Ecuador, which despite its score of 71.6 has seen a downward trend compared with four years ago.

Chile’s 32 ranked universities and Ecuador’s 14 beat the regional average by a long shot in this pillar, which is a measure of the proportion of international students, international staff and cross-border research collaborations. The average international outlook score for all countries in the Latin America University Rankings 2023, which is topped by Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile for the fifth consecutive year, is 47.

The two countries also score highly in the citations pillar, with 67.5 for Chile and 51.3 for Ecuador – first and third place in the region, respectively. Argentina is second with 58.3. Previous studies have shown that there is a strong positive correlation between internationally co-authored research and citation impact.

Talking leadership: Jorge Grünberg on creating entrepreneurs

While Chile’s universities are becoming increasingly outward-looking, the nation is less dominant in the table overall, slipping down to third when measured on the number of ranked institutions. It is overtaken by Colombia, which now has 36 ranked institutions, up from 29 last year. Brazil continues its streak of being the most-represented nation, with 65 institutions.

However, with high average scores of 70 and above, it is Chile and Ecuador’s performance in internationalisation that stands out in these rankings. The contrasting trends – one nation rising, the other falling – also point to realities in the continent, where the health of higher education can sway with the powerful forces of political leadership and funding budgets, according to experts.

These trends are mainly driven by the countries’ performances for international research collaboration; when considering universities that have been continuously ranked since 2019, Ecuador’s score in this indicator has dropped from 96.6 four years ago to 83.4 in the latest ranking. Meanwhile Chile has climbed, from 75.7 in 2019 to 82.0 this year.

The share of foreign faculty remains high for both nations, relative to the region as a whole. Looking at the raw data, this percentage grew from 6.5 per cent to 7.6 per cent in Chile, but Ecuador saw only a slight increase (by 0.4 percentage points) over the past four years. Regarding international students, both countries had a share of 2 per cent in the 2019 league table. This has dropped to 1.4 per cent in Ecuador in this year’s ranking and risen only slightly in Chile (to 2.1 per cent).

Alicia Salomone, director of the international relations office at the University of Chile, explains that key to the internationalisation of Chile’s three leading universities is a funding boost from the government that kicked in in 2016. She estimates that the three institutions have received a total of $13 million (£10 million) in three or four cycles, earmarked for projects towards internationalisation.

Salomone speaks to THE from Stockholm, where she is meeting with a steering group on academic partnerships between Chile and Sweden. Referring to the event and other recent strides in internationalisation, she says “none of it would be possible” without the pot of money from the state.

“It’s not a huge amount of money. But it’s a very important amount of money for Latin American universities,” she says, adding that such work cannot be sustained by revenue from student fees. The funding has been used to establish joint PhD programmes with universities outside Latin America, such as the joint PhD in mechanical engineering between the University of Chile and the UK’s University of Manchester.

Public universities in Chile, unlike their counterparts in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Ecuador, do not provide free university education at the undergraduate level – although it is a topic that is being hotly debated. Salomone thinks that this “puts limits” on their ability to attract undergraduate students from other Latin American countries.

Postgraduate and PhD programmes have therefore become the main draw for foreign students. According to data from the University of Chile, as of 2022, the proportion of international PhD students was eight times that at the undergraduate level.

Source : THE News