Rankings in the higher education competitiveness management system

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The modern approaches towards higher education systems management often tend to focus on separate universities’ performance, lacking the systemic view of the overall higher education systems’ competitiveness. Thus, the policymakers often fail in tailoring the higher education strategies to the mission of higher education in contemporary society.
The article focuses on providing a systemic insight into the global competitive positioning of the national higher education systems. Based on the suggested ranking methodology, the authors perform the evaluation and ranking of 94 higher education systems, highlighting the limitations of this method, and the cluster analysis, identifying 3 types of their competitive positioning: leaders, followers, and underperformers. Based on Pearson coefficients of skewness and kurtosis calculation, the article shows that globally the inequalities in terms of higher education enrolment rate are decreasing, while those of R&D institutions quality and university-industry collaboration in research remain unchanged. Therefore, upgrading higher education quality assurance systems becomes the main strategic priority for the developing countries in terms of ensuring their higher education systems’ competitiveness. Given the levelling of higher education attainment and its quality worldwide, the authors anticipate further specialization of the universities and broadening of their role within the national innovation system. The article shows that the more comprehensive the approach for evaluating the higher education systems performance – the better the policymakers may benefit in terms of higher education strategic management.

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    • Figure 1. Graphs of means for clusters 1-8
    • Figure 2. Higher education systems’ skewness (152 countries, 4 indicators characterizing the national higher education systems) over the last decade, 2018–2021 – linear trend line estimation
    • Figure 3. Scatterplot: higher education systems’ competitiveness index vs. Global Innovation Index (2017)
    • Table 1. The national higher education systems’ competitiveness index
    • Table 2. Competitive positioning of the national higher education systems
    • Table 3. Higher education systems’ Pearson coefficients of skewness and kurtosis (values) (152 countries, 4 indicators characterizing the national higher education systems), 2007–2017
    • Table A1. Data used for calculations of Higher Education Systems’ Ranking and cluster analysis (standardized)
    • Table B1. Indicators base