UK University Ranks as Best in the World

November 25, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. relegate / ˈrɛl ɪˌgeɪt / (v.) – to cause someone or something to take a lower or inferior position
Example: The top student was relegated to second place after the exam results were released. 

2. pool / ˈpuːl / (n.) – a group of things or people that serve as a supply of something
Example: The university will hire new teachers from a pool of applicants.

3. reign supreme / reɪn səˈprim /  (idiom) – to do very well
Example: My classmate reigned supreme at the international writing competition. 

4. immense / ɪˈmɛns / (adj.) – describing something that is great in amount or value
Example: The student’s performance showed immense improvement after his tutorial sessions. 

5. boil down to / bɔɪl daʊn tu / (idiom) – to be condensed or summarized into core concepts
Example: The principal’s speech boiled down to three points: responsibility, trust, and courage.


Read the text below.
For the first time, a university from the United Kingdom has topped the list of the world’s best universities.

The University of Oxford ranked first on this year’s Times Higher Education World Rankings list. The list is released annually by education magazine Times Higher Education. The magazine evaluates a university based on a set of criteria that includes teaching, research, knowledge transfer, and international outlook.

Oxford knocked California Institute of Technology off the top spot, relegating the five-time champion to the second place. According to the magazine, Oxford’s success can be attributed to a boost in its research influence, as well as the university’s growing pool of international talents.

Aside from Oxford, the top 10 also featured two other universities from the United Kingdom, along with one school from Switzerland. Meanwhile, American universities reigned supreme in the top 10 with seven entries. Two American universities, the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Chicago, tied for the 10th spot.

While Western universities claimed the top ten slots, Asian universities also showed immense ranking improvement. The number of Asian universities that made it to the elite top 200 list also rose to 19 from last year’s 15. In total, 289 Asian universities were included in the list.

Rajika Bhandari, co-editor of the book Asia: The Next Education Superpower, believes that the improvement in Asian universities boils down to three factors: a rapid increase in population and demand for better higher education, ongoing government investments in universities, and internal improvements done by the universities. Bhandari predicts that cross-border partnerships between Asian and Western universities will improve, and the demand for partnerships within the Asia-Pacific region will increase.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         In your opinion, how will ranking as the best university in the world affect Oxford? Discuss.
·         Do you think that rank is the most important factor to consider when choosing a university? Why or why not?

Discussion B
·         Do you believe that having partnerships with universities abroad is good for a university? Why or why not?
·         What preparation should a university take before engaging in partnerships with foreign universities? 

November 25, 2016