New Zealand universities continue to do well in international rankings, with the release of the 2020 QS world rankings showing that all eight universities remain in the world’s top 500.

“Every university has seen an improvement in its academic reputation internationally,” says Universities New Zealand Chief Executive Chris Whelan. “This is a survey of academics who are asked to list which universities outside their home country rate as leading in their particular field of study.

“Nearly all universities have seen their employer reputation score improve, where employers are asked to rate the quality of graduates from their nearby universities.

“Most New Zealand universities, however, are suffering the effects of a long-term real drop in funding per student, with all but one university showing a drop in staff:student ratios.”

Resource issues in other areas are leading to a drop in citation rates per staff member at five universities.

“Despite this, the combined scores of all New Zealand universities have risen slightly—showing that New Zealand’s university system remains strong, despite challenges around resourcing,” says Chris Whelan.

Five universities have increased their overall ranking this year and three have decreased, but the changes are mostly minor and due as much to variations in how surveys are answered as to long-run resourcing challenges.

“The international education environment remains extraordinarily competitive, however, with many overseas governments spending billions of dollars to get flagship universities into the list of top 100 universities,” says Chris Whelan. “Without some real growth in funding and resources, New Zealand runs the risk of being squeezed out of having a place on that list.”

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