Health and Education صحـــــــــــة وتعــــــــليــم
REPORT TO THE IRAQI PARLIAMENT
“THE STATE OF IRAQ’S HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS”
THE RANK OF IRAQ’S HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS AMONG THE WORLD
Nadeem Al-Abdalla, BA, MA, MCIL
Educational Researcher, London
This brief research paper concentrates on the standard of Iraq’s higher education institutions among the world’s universities, and to address this subject in a clear, concise manner using statistical evidence, with links to the original sources of information I have used.
A number of university world ranking systems (league tables) have been compiled of world universities by various institutions and research centres. Each world ranking system is based on a number of key indicators, and they vary in the weight given to each key indicator. The main key indicators may include:
Below you will find a list of university world ranking systems, which have not mentioned Iraqi universities in their world rankings at all.
COMMONLY USED UNIVERSITY WORLD RANKING SYSTEMS
(a) This is the Shanghai table ranking of world universities (ARWU), containing 500 universities. ARWU are part of the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Iraqi universities have not been mentioned, and they have not even met the ARWU criteria for inclusion.
(b) This is The Times Higher Education Supplement’s ranking of world universities, containing 400 universities. Iraqi universities have not been mentioned and they have not even met the criteria.
(c) This is the “US News” list of 400 best world universities. Iraqi universities have not been mentioned and they have not even met the criteria.
(d) This is 4ICU’s University Web Ranking. 4 International Colleges & Universities is an international higher education search engine and directory reviewing accredited Universities and Colleges in the world. 4icu.org includes 11,160 Colleges and Universities, ranked by web popularity, in 200 countries. Iraqi universities are not mentioned among their top 200 universities.
(e) This is CWUR’s international university ranking. CWUR (Centre for World University Rankings) have compiled a list of the top 100 world universities. Iraqi universities are again not mentioned in this list.
Below you will find details of the world university ranking systems which mention Iraq, QS Rankings and Webometrics Rankings.
QS WORLD UNIVERSITY RANKINGS
The QS World University Rankings are annual university ranking systems published by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) which provides overall rankings as well as ranking for individual subjects.
QS’s ranking system differs from those of other university ranking agencies in many ways. Firstly, they try to be inclusive, to include universities from as many countries as possible. Secondly, they include in their list universities which have a “domestic reputation” and which are well-known locally. The main keys of the QS world ranking classification are:
(a) Size – universities with more than 30,000 students get the highest mark (XL)
(b) Focus – universities with many departments, eg medicine, engineering, humanities, get the highest mark (FC)
(c) Age – universities with a history of 50 or 100 years get the highest marks (4 and 5)
(d) Research – universities are ranked according to their research performance. The highest mark is “VH” (very high) and the lowest is “LO” (limited or none)
The diagram below, taken from the QS website, shows their keys for classifying the world’s universities.
QS Classifications: Key
QS ranking systems has issued a list of 800 universities in the world. Due to the keys they are using to rank these universities, this has led to the inclusion of hundreds of universities from several developing countries in the QS list.
Baghdad University has been included in this list, within the group of 601-650.
According to the QS classification keys, Baghdad University has been awarded the following:
(a) Size – XL – they have over 30,000 students. In fact Baghdad University has over 70,000 students (the highest mark!)
(b) Focus – FC – “fully comprehensive” due to the many colleges and departments within the university (the highest mark!)
(c) Age – 4 – a high mark, “mature” as Baghdad University is over 50 years old having been established in 1957
(d) Research – LO – “limited or none”. Baghdad University has no research contribution and has been awarded the lowest mark???!!! for its research performance
So overall, Baghdad University has fulfilled 3 out of 4 of QS’s keys for inclusion in the university world rankings, in addition to their “domestic reputation”.
THIS IS THE TRUTH BEHIND BAGHDAD UNIVERSITY’S INCLUSION IN THE QS UNIVERSITY WORLD RANKINGS
As mentioned above, and for the above reasons, the QS university world rankings include many universities from developing countries. Many of them are ranked higher than Baghdad University in the QS university world rankings. Below are some examples:
Rank University & Country
250 American University of Beirut, Lebanon
369 L N Gumilyov Eurasian University, Kazakhstan
370 United Arab Emirates (UAE) University, UAE
390 Al-Farabi University, Kazakhstan
392 American University in Cairo, Egypt
401-450 UAE University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE
401-450 National University of Sciences & Technology, Pakistan
401-450 Sultan Qaboos University, Oman
501-550 Cairo University, Egypt
501-550 Universite Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth, Lebanon
501-550 UAE University of Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE
551-600 Qatar University, Qatar
551-600 Al-Azhar University, Egypt
601+ Khazar University, Azerbaijan
601+ Ain Shams University, Egypt
601+ Universidad de Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico
601+ Jordan University, Jordan
601+ Kuwait University, Kuwait
601+ University of Bahrain, Bahrain
601+ Alexandria University, Egypt
601+ University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
601+ University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
601+ University of Karachi, Pakistan
In addition to this list, there are more than 15 universities in the list from Saudi Arabia and Iran and most of them are ranked higher than Baghdad University.
From this analysis, it is clear that the QS ranking system is about the inclusion of prominent local universities and it has not included thousands of prominent Western universities in their list. There are more than 20,000 universities worldwide which have not been included in the QS ranking list.
The statement that Baghdad University is number 601+ among the world’s universities is incorrect and misleading, as it has been measured on the number of students, the number of its colleges and its history. On the contrary, we should ask why Baghdad University has such limited contribution to the research field and why this has not been mentioned by Baghdad University or Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education.
Webometrics Ranking of World Universities
The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, also known as Ranking Web of World Universities, is ranking system for the world's universities based on a composite indicator that takes into account both the volume of the Web contents (number of web pages and files) and the visibility and impact of these web publications according to the number of external inlinks (site citations) they received. The ranking is published by the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) located in Madrid.
The Webometrics ranking includes more than 22,000 universities worldwide. They have provided lists specific to regions of the world, such as Europe, North America, Latin America, Arab World, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Below is a list of Iraq’s universities, showing their rank in the world.
Iraq..(Source: Ranking web of Universities)-
Reading and analysing the above list, we can conclude as follows:
This means that the scientific colleges of Baghdad University have fallen into the lowest 10% of the Webometrics university world ranking system (College of Science, lowest 25%; College of Engineering, lowest 10%)
· The above list shows that 47 out of 57 Iraqi universities/institutions have fallen into the bottom 50% of the Webometrics world ranking list. This represents 83% of Iraq’s higher education institutions in the lowest 50%
· Furthermore the list shows that 27 out of 57 Iraqi universities/institutions mentioned above have fallen into the bottom 25% of the Webometrics world rankings. This includes many well-known universities in Iraq and means that almost half of Iraq’s higher education institutions are among the lowest quarter in the world
From the above world ranking tables, it can be seen that the scientific performance of Iraq’s higher education institutions is not of a high standard and the statements saying that Iraq has entered among the world’s top 1,000 universities is simply not true, and is misleading; it acts to to hide many negative aspects of Iraq’s higher education system.
The Iraqi people have invested a great deal of money in the last 10 years, however, the performance of Baghdad University’s scientific and engineering colleges are among the lowest in the world. Either we should challenge the methodology of the above rankings, or we accept their findings and those responsible for Iraq’s higher education system should be questioned about their low levels of achievement. Iraqi people deserve to know the truth and not to be misled, and the Iraqi parliament should open a public enquiry into this matter which amounts to a large-scale national scandal.
Nadeem Al-Abdalla, BA, MA, MCIL
Educational Researcher, London
19 August 2013