As every year, the Shanghai ranking reveals its ranking of the 1,000 best universities in the world. Unsurprisingly, US universities top the list with No. 1 Havard for the 17th year in a row. If France succeeds in obtaining 21 establishments among the first 500, the first university Paris Sud arrives only in the 37th place. So, would France be a bad student?
If the Paris Sud University has gained five places since last year, in general, the French faculties are lagging behind. Some deplore the classification criteria of the Shanghai ranking. It takes into account the number of professors who have obtained a Nobel Prize, a Fields Medal or the number of publications in scientific journals.
On the other hand, there is no measure of educational investment nor of the quality of student support. In short, the ranking is designed to measure the performance of universities focused on the hard sciences and less on the social sciences.
For Gilles Roussel, president of the Conference of University Presidents, the place of France in this ranking is primarily due to a lack of funds while the United States, they invest much more in research.
To try to remain competitive, for several years French universities have come together to form poles of excellence, but without success for now, because the merged faculties are struggling to walk hand in hand. Academics hope, however, that these clusters will bear fruit in the years ahead.
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