Canberra: Australian universities have fallen sharply in the latest global rankings, prompting a warning over the sector’s future.
The Times Higher Education (THE) on Thursday published its annual World University Rankings for 2024, revealing that all of Australia’s top 10 universities dropped places from their 2023 ranking, reports Xinhua news agency.
The University of Melbourne remained Australia’s top-rated university, falling from 34th to 37th, followed by Monash University, which fell 10 places to 54th, and the University of Sydney, down from 54th to 60th.
The University of Adelaide recorded the biggest fall of any Australian institution, dropping 23 places out of the top 100 to 111th.
Six Australian universities were ranked in the world’s top 100 by THE and nine were in the top 150, including all members of the Canberra-based Group of Eight, which comprises the country’s leading research-intensive universities.
Responding to the rankings, Go8 chief executive Vicki Thomson said it was a warning for the tertiary education sector that consistent performance in global rankings cannot be taken for granted.
“In particular, despite historically very high levels of research quality, the rankings show a relative under-investment in research. THE also noted that the Covid pandemic has put pressure on the ability of Australian universities to undertake international engagement,” Thomson said in a statement.
“The Australian government must take the opportunity they have created through the Australian Universities Accord to put research funding on a sustainable footing by reforming the current distorted system that sees Australia’s university research underpinned by cross-subsidies from international student fee income.”
Launched by the federal government in 2022, the Australian Universities Accord is a 12-month wide-scale review of the higher education system aimed at improving the accessibility, affordability, sustainability and quality of universities.
It is set to hand down its final report and recommendations in December.