UNIVERSITY RANKINGS AS A TOOL FOR REFORMATION OF UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IN UKRAINE
Institute of Higher Education, National Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine (UKRAINE)
The idea of an international university ranking is relatively new, but for a decade now it has been extremely influential among academics. "Global university rankings have cemented the notion of a world university market arranged in a single 'league table' for comparative purposes and have given a powerful impetus to intranational and international competitive pressure in the sector" (Simon Marginson, Marjik van der Wende, 2007). Moreover, we think the process of ranking is relevant to contemporary reality, in which the factor of adequate representation in the informational sphere is becoming more and more important. The high level of technological and technical development of human civilization presents numerous challenges to the system of higher education and to each University in particular. The globalized world needs new model of the University, and the idea of "World Class Universities" is one response to these challenges. The classical quality criteria of the WCU, which evaluate teaching and research potential with the addition of social, business, and other innovative dimensions of University activities, must also be taken into consideration. The history of Ukrainian University ranking starts in 2000, when the project "Sophia Kyivska" was established by the International Academy of Personal Management, the Institute of Higher Education of Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Institute of Social Researches and other academic institutions. It was based mostly on two types of survey: among experts in academic area and among potential students. Thus, this ranking evaluates mostly the level of attractiveness of University among different audiences.
Two rankings of Ukrainian Universities, based mostly on internationally recognized standards and approaches, are "TOP 200 Ukraine", which was developed by the Department of UNESCO -- "High Technical Education, system analyses and informatics" of National University "KPI" and the Ukrainian weekly "Mirror of the Week"(2007), and "Compass", which is run and financed by the SCM Group and Foundation "Development of Ukraine"(2008). The ranking "TOP 200 Ukraine" was criticized by Ukrainian researchers (Sergiy Kurbatov, 2007) for its purely formal approaches (for example, evaluation of international activities mostly through membership in different associations) and for ignoring some important measurable indicators (for example, number of publications and citations of faculty members).
This work has received considerable public attention and numerous publications in mass media. We argue that this process needs to be continued and improved through active international cooperation and the implementation of internationally recognized principles, like the Berlin Principles (Ying Cheng and Nian Cai Liu, 2008). To be sure, international rankings give us a simplified picture of a World Class University. But without this simple picture it is impossible to identify the main dimensions for reforming the system of higher education, though it is a simple matter to imitate such reforms. The "language" of international ranking is now a kind of academic Esperanto, which gives to each University an opportunity to be a part of the modern globalized University system.