The University of Otago's performance in international
rankings has been mixed in recent years, with pressure from
Asian universities making it harder to compete.
That is the picture painted in a Ministry of Education report
which looks at how New Zealand universities have performed in
the three main ranking systems - Times Higher
Education (THE), Academic Ranking of World Universities
(ARWU) and Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).
The declining performance in these rankings recently prompted
Otago University vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne to call
for more Government funding for New Zealand universities, or
else risk having them fall behind.
''If the New Zealand universities continue to slip in the
rankings they will not attract and retain the best staff and
''New Zealand must invest more in our universities so we can
compete in an increasingly crowded, competitive international
market,'' Prof Hayne said in her role as Universities NZ
The Ministry of Education report showed Otago University's
ranking, along with all its New Zealand counterparts, fell in
the QS rankings - in Otago's case from 114 in 2007 to 155
In contrast, the university was one of only two New Zealand
universities to move up the ARWU rankings between 2003 and
2013 - going from the 351-400 band to the 201-300 band.
Its performance in the THE rankings was steady,
hovering around the 226-250 mark.
The author of the report, Dr Warren Smart, said overall the
performance of New Zealand universities - like their
Australian counterparts - was ''mixed''.
This comes amid increasing investment in Asian universities.
''In particular, the rise in rankings of universities from
Asia appears to be having a displacement effect on the
Australasian universities,'' Dr Smart said.
However, it was not all bad, with all of New Zealand
universities placing in the QS top 500 for the first time
last year, something ''not achieved by the Australian,
Canadian or United Kingdom university systems''.
Dr Smart stressed that despite flaws in the ranking systems,
they were ''important because people think they are
''They are also one of the only ways people can access
information on the relative performance of individual
universities from different countries.
''And because they provide a shorthand view of performance,
they may be an influence on student flows and, possibly,
flows of contestable funding,'' he said in the report.