Emerging Europe and Central Asia Ranking – The Significance?

In December 2014, QS published the first edition of the Emerging Europe and Central Asia (otherwise known as EECA) regional ranking. New? Definitely. Interesting? Certainly. Unexpected? Not at all.

I, myself, come from Eastern Europe and so have first-hand experience of education in that region. Whilst I haven’t studied at a university there, I received primary and best part of my secondary education there. I therefore know that there are very few parts of the world as thorough and as methodical in their teaching philosophy as the educators from Emerging Europe and Central Asia. If there’s one thing this says about them is that these nations take education very seriously and have a thing or two to share with the rest of the world.

Is Emerging Europe really still emerging? It seems to me they have taken some bold progressive steps recently to align themselves with the higher education standards of Western Europe. This is exactly why the ranking of this region emerged from the Intelligence Unit of QS.

Parts of Asia are certainly speeding ahead too. Nearly one in five of the world’s top 200 universities, as ranked in the QS World University Rankings for 2014/15, are from Asia. The same is true for one in eight universities in the top 200 of the World University Rankings for 2014/15. The gains that Asian institutions have made on the international tables in recent years provide a curious indication of the growing academic influence of the region. The article in ICEF summarises the findings and highlights the growing importance of regional rankings.

Whilst there’re case studies of progress made in particular countries belonging to the EECA region, such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Czech Republic, I have some general stats to share too:

• In this year’s QS BRICS Rankings edition, 20 Russian universities featured in the top 100, providing a strong representation of the EECA region;
115 EECA universities featured in this year’s edition of the World University Rankings, which currently has over 800 universities in total;
• Number of programmes taught in English increasing across Europe. An article from the ICEF Monitor highlights the progress on this in different parts of Europe;
Number of international students studying in Europe increasing. And there are many creative ways in which European universities are achieving this.

There are challenges of course. For example, the World Bank points out in their April update that, economically, things are not looking up as much as we’d like. This is mainly due to falling oil prices and geopolitical tensions. Whilst the overall growth in the region is expected to be just a little under 1.8%, if we exclude Russia from the equation, the growth is actually up by 1% from last year, at 2.8%.

Although certain changes in the higher education sector require investment, many small-scale high-impact improvements can be done on a small budget or no budget at all!

Let’s see what 2015 results, released on the 21st of October, will reveal about EECA universities this year. If you’re interested in some insider knowledge, do come along to our free EECA rankings launch in Istanbul, otherwise stay tuned to this website and we will point you in the right direction once the results are out.

Last year’s results can be found here.

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