"While there are a number of international rankings of universities, less effort has been put into quantitative rankings of national systems of higher education. The international rankings of universities emphasise the peaks of research excellence. They throw no light, however, on issues such as how well a nation’s higher education system educate all its students, possessing different interests, abilities and backgrounds. Evaluation was done on 48 national higher education systems by providing rankings in four broad areas:"
• Resources (Portugal = 23)
"Governments typically provide core funding for teaching in public institutions. We measure total funding in both relative terms, as a percentage of GDP, and in absolute terms, namely funding per student, taking account of differences in purchasing power of money in different countries. "The availability of financial resources are definitely essential because they condition the degree of autonomy of research universities" (Salmi, 2011)."
• Environment (Portugal = 21)
"The regulatory environment is important for ensuring that resources are used efficiently. Excessive regulation of employment conditions will limit the contributions of academics and the capacity to attract and retain globally-competitive talent. Restraints on competition may hinder innovation in teaching methods."
• Connectivity (Portugal = 24)
"The worth of a national higher education system is enhanced if it is well connected with the rest of the nation’s society and is linked internationally in education and research. High connectivity provides two measures of the worth of a nation’s higher education system: it is an indicator of the
quality of teaching and research and it is an indicator of absorption of new discoveries and ideas."
• Output (Portugal = 28)
"A good higher education system provides the nation with a well-trained and educated workforce that meets the country’s needs, provides a range of educational opportunities for people with different interests and skills, and contributes to national and world knowledge. To capture these desired outcomes we use measures of research output and impact, student throughput, the national stock of researchers, the number of excellent universities, and employability of graduates."
The United States and the United Kingdom have the world’s top universities. But on a weighted per capita basis the depth of world class universities is best in Switzerland and Sweden, with Israel and Denmark next in rank order."
[All the text in this post was taken directly from the Full Report 2012 U21 Ranking of National Higher Education Systems. Universitas 21 is a global network of research-intensive universities: University of Amsterdam • University of Auckland • University of Birmingham • University of British Columbia • Pontifical Catholic University of Chile • University of Delhi University of Connecticut • University College Dublin • University of Edinburgh • Fudan University • University of Glasgow • University of Hong Kong • Korea University • Lund University • McGill University • University of Melbourne • Tecnológico de Monterrey • University of New South Wales • University of Nottingham • University of Queensland • Shanghai Jiao Tong University • National University of Singapore • University of Virginia • Waseda University]