Czech schools see significant drop in world's best university rankings

Although the country' universities fell in the annual international ranking, a record number of Czech universities was listed this year.


Written by ČTK Published on 09.06.2022 11:50:00 (updated on 09.06.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

Czech universities have generally worsened their positions in one of this year's rankings of the world's best universities. The British company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) published its annual index evaluating 1,500 institutions worldwide based on a range of criteria: from academic reputation to the number of international students enrolled.

At the same time, this year sees a record number of 16 Czech universities featured in the QS ranking.

Out of the assessed universities in the Czech Republic, four have worsened their standings, two have improved them, nine have kept the same position as last year and one appeared in the rankings for the first time.

Same as in the previous years, Charles University in Prague tops the best Czech university rankings, but it dropped from the no. 266 position to the no. 288.

Another two universities in Prague have been ranked among the best 500 in the world: the University of Chemistry and Technology (no. 358) and the Czech Technical University (no. 378).

Despite the decline, Charles University is still among 2 percent of the world's best-assessed universities, its spokesman Vaclav Hajek said, adding that the differences among particular schools in the group of the first 300 are so small that interannual shifts by some 20 places are quite common.

Other Czech universities entering the first 1,000 are Masaryk University in Brno (551–560), Palacky University in Olomouc (651–700), Brno University of Technology, the University of South Bohemia in České Budějovice, which was placed in the rankings for the first time, (701–750), the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Mendel University in Brno, the Technical University of Liberec, and the Hradec Králové University (801–1,000).

Masaryk University rector Martin Bareš told ČTK that he was pleased the university had defended its international position in the strengthening competition.

The QS rankings show that the Czech Republic has major problems in the sphere of research. None of the Czech universities appear among the top 100 of the best universities in research. Masaryk University is the best Czech university in this respect based on the number of citations.

The Czech Republic's decline in rankings is also influenced by a decline in particular QS indicators, the most significant of which were the employer reputation and citation per faculty, in which 14 Czech universities saw a decline.

The Czech Republic has one of the lowest shares of citizens with a university education in Europe which means universities should make it a priority to increase accessibility, said Ben Sowter, QS senior vice president.

The QS rankings have been released since 2004. This year, the survey assessed 1,418 universities from about one hundred countries, including 16 from the Czech Republic. The assessment is based on six key indicators, such as academic reputation, employer reputation, citations, the ratio of international students, the ratio of international academics, and the number of students per teacher.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology won the rankings for the 11th year in a row, followed by Cambridge University, while Stanford University remained the third. These prestigious schools have budgets worth billions of dollars.

China is home to two world's top 15 universities in the world, with Beijing University (no. 12) and Qinghua University (no. 14), reaching the highest rankings since the index was established. The leading university in Asia is Singapore National University. The leading university in Continental Europe is still the Swiss Technical University ETH in Zurich (no. 9), and the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina is the leading university in Latin America again this year.

Charles University is traditionally assessed as the best among Czech universities in various international rankings. Other Czech schools, such as the ČVUT and the University of Economics in Prague, perform well in specialized rankings focused on technical or economic universities.

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