• Education Isabel Celaá irritates the rectors by imposing a university entrance test for foreigners

  • Education.Manuel Castells backs down in his plan to "consolidate" the three-year courses and will now force them to all last four years

Spanish universities are not very high in international rankings but they tend to stand out quite a lot in those classifications in which they are asked about specific disciplines of knowledge.

This is the case of the

QS World University Rankings by Subject

, where


Spanish programs are among the


best in the world.

The list, which was published this Thursday, points out, however, that the performance of the campuses in Spain has worsened in the last year:


of the


evaluated programs have dropped points in the ranking, while only


have improved.

The ranking of the British consulting firm

Quacquarelli Symonds

, which analyzes


individual university programs from


universities in


countries, confirms no longer a stagnation of the Spanish university, as other previous works pointed out, but a generalized worsening, small but enough to worry, in most of the campuses.

The best faculty is that of


at the

Complutense University of Madrid

, which ranks 18th in the world, one less than in 2020.


of the

Polytechnic University of Catalonia

is also

in the world's

top 20

, which also loses one position .


University of Barcelona

, which QS defines as "the most successful campus in all of Spain", stands out in 40 disciplines, but 21 of them have worsened and only four have improved.

The same has also happened at the

Autonomous University of Barcelona

(18 programs have dropped compared to three that have improved);

at the

Autonomous University of Madrid

(15 fall and two rise), or at the

University of Zaragoza

(12 lose points and only one improves).

What has happened?

Jack Moran

, spokesman for QS, responds by email that there has been a drop in Spanish universities in the four indicators they use to make the ranking.

"The greatest decrease has been registered in the indicator of academic reputation, which measures the opinions of


professors about university quality," he says.

In the last year, universities have dropped from a score of 58.8 out of 100 to 56.3 out of 100.

A worsening has also been detected in research, counted as the times an article is cited by other academics (where the grade has dropped from 80 to 78), in reputation among employers (from 66.1 to 65.1) and in the so




, which measures the productivity and impact of publications (from 71.6 to 69.7).

Ben Sowter

, Vice President of Professional Services at QS,


IE University

as an example of good practice



the key by stating that "principles that have worked well for business schools, particularly a focus on internationalization, both for teaching and research offer a guide for institutions seeking to excel in other disciplines. "

And he stresses: "Higher education is becoming more international, not less."

His words are a warning to a university that has one of its main burdens in the lack of internationalization.

Spain is at the bottom of the


in terms of its percentage of foreign students studying higher education (5.7%).

The problem is revealed in the

University Strategy 2030

of the

Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (Crue)

, a document agreed between the 80 campuses with the main challenges for the future.

It so happens that the path that the


is following

is not the right one to improve internationalization, according to the rectors.


Isabel Celaá

has imposed in her educational law a university entrance exam for foreigners that, in the words of campus representatives, "will stop the arrival of students from other countries."


Manuel Castells

, on the other hand, wants to eliminate the flexibility of the careers with a model in which all degrees will have to last four years, prohibiting the possibility that there are some that last three years, as up to now, measured to the that the rectors also oppose.

Moran is against the purpose of Castells, which obeys a demand from

United We Can


"We do not believe that there is a single ideal duration for college degrees. It is important that students are incentivized to graduate and bring their skills to the workplace when they are ready. No one benefits from taking longer, except in very specific fields like the


, "he explains.

"What we are seeing is an increase in the levels of flexibility in the offer of degree programs," he emphasizes.

"Universities are increasingly realizing that a degree is not a career, but a method of providing the skills and knowledge to be successful in life."

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

Know more

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  • Isabel Celaá

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