Monday, 21 January 2013

NZ Unis plunge down world rankings

The latest world university rankings by the Times Higher Education Supplement sees New Zealand Universities continue to slide precipitously.

The Times Higher Education rankings for 2012/2013 has put Caltech (California University of Technology) at #1 spot for the second year in a row (Caltech was #1 in 2011/2012 and it came at #3  spot in 2010/2011). 

Auckland University is ranked #161 on that list and that's the highest from any NZ University. They (Auck Uni) have been sliding downhill from a few years ago when they achieved a rank of  #48.  The friend who sent me the link (thanks, Si) reckons that the slide coincides with Auckland Uni’s embracing the philosophy of “degrees for everyone” and its rapid expansion into the delivering utterly useless and banal courses in departments like Maori, Pacific studies, Film, Multimedia & TV studies, etc, taking energy and probably funding away from areas of real learning. I suspect he’s right.

No other New Zealand University even made the top two-hundred. And the likes of AUT and Unitech didn’t even make the full list of four-hundred. And, out in Otara, another alleged tertiary institution continues to commit fraud on the education-buying public by using the initials of a top-five university to give itself a glimmer of prestige it neither deserves nor has earned. I suspect only the total laughability of its claim to the acronym M.I.T. stops a successful law suit from the real thing.

Here are the world’s top ten ranking universities, followed by the local also-rans:

1. California Institute of Technology    United States   
2. University of Oxford    United Kingdom   
3. Stanford University    United States   
4. Harvard University    United States   
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology    United States
6. Princeton University    United States   
7. University of Cambridge    United Kingdom
8. Imperial College London    United Kingdom
9. University of California, Berkeley    United States
10. University of Chicago, United States

161. University of Auckland
242. University of Otago
274. Victoria University of Wellington
302. University of Canterbury
346. University of Waikato
376. Massey University

Sadly, while the proportion of the population with a university degree has never been higher, the quality of those degrees has never been lower—and, conversely, the number of qualified tradesmen here has never been lower.

It’s about time the higher education bubble popped here as well.


  1. My former lecturer for Astro-Physics at Caltech NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2008 was the damn hot Dr. Amy Mainzer. I always pretended that I didn't understand her lectures so I could ask questions afterwards or even go to her office. I think that she suspected that I wasn't genuine at all but infatuated with her because I always asked her questions.

  2. Reminds me of the book, degrees for everyone by Bob Jones, about 2004.

  3. Peter, you are right about the U of A - but you didn't mention that it employs Margaret Mutu!

  4. A University of Auckland Student21 Jan 2013, 20:02:00


  5. Strange co-incidence that the lowest placed NZ uni is the one run by one of Helen Clark's ex-cronies, the odious Steve Maharey.

  6. I am not sure if it really is about the areas of study- most of the unis in the top 10 offer exotic courses. To me perhaps the opposite is true. UoA has chosen to embrace extreme diversity and political correctness at the exepense of any key research areas or directions. It could well be the world's centre for studying the South Pacific with this becoming the research focus across several arts and soc sciences departments, that really wouldnt hurt. Instead,every department seems to pursue a policy of having absolutely no coherence,direction or specialisation. Look at political studies,every single academic there has an entirely different research focus and there is no way they could exchange any idea@ or collaborate on any project in any meaningful way. What is more, the key criterion in hiring seems to be ethnic diversity and perhaps gender equality. While perhaps well meaning,it certaiy doesnt guarantee quality


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