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EDUCATION

Swiss universities still highly ranked but slip in ratings

While ETH Zurich is still the best university in continental Europe, overall Switzerland’s higher-education institutions dropped in international ranking.

Swiss universities still highly ranked but slip in ratings
ETH: Best university in continental Europe. Photo: ETH Twitter

Zurich’s Federal Polytechnic Institute (ETH) has been named the best university in continental Europe by the 2022 QS World University Rankings of 1,422 universities, compiled by global higher education analysts, QS Quacquarelli Symonds.

Although it retained its title, ETH Zurich lost one place compared to the previous year, falling from eighth to ninth position. The eight best universities are all in the UK and the United States.

ETH, a public research university focusing exclusively on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, holds its top position in continental Europe for the 15th time in a row.

Of the 10 Swiss universities listed, three — including ETH’s sister school, the Federal Polytechnic Institute of Lausanne (EPFL) — are in the top 100, and seven in top 250.

However, QS points out that eight Swiss institutions lost their rank. “Only the University of Basel is progressing, while the University of Italian Switzerland remains stable”.

All the universities are judged based on criteria such as academic and employer reputation; faculty citations (measuring research impact); the faculty/student ratio (teaching capacity index); and the international ratio of professors and of students (measure of the internationalisation of a university).

“ETH Zurich enjoys the best international reputation in the country, ranking 18th and 51st globally in academic and employer reputation indicators,” QS said.

Other Swiss universities rated in the survey are University of Zurich (83th place), Bern (120th), Geneva (125th), Basel (136th), Lausanne (203rd), Svizzera Italiana (240th), St. Gallen (501), and Fribourg (571).

You can read more about the winner the ETH, here:

Why ETH Zurich has been ranked the ‘best university in continental Europe’

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EDUCATION

Switzerland won’t rejoin Erasmus before 2021

Swiss students will have to wait several more years before they regain full rights to participate in the European Union’s Erasmus+ student exchange programme.

Switzerland won’t rejoin Erasmus before 2021
Photo: diego_cervo/Depositphotos
Switzerland has been suspended from full membership of the programme since 2014, after the country voted in favour of an anti-immigration initiative that contravened its free movement agreement with the EU. 
 
A few months later, the Swiss government approved an interim solution, ringfencing 23 million francs in grants for Swiss students to allow them to continue with their exchange plans. As a ‘partner country’ of the scheme, rather than a full member, it arranged a series of bilateral agreements with individual European universities under the new name Swiss-European Mobility Programme (SEMP).
 
This temporary solution has been a success in terms of participation, but it offers more limited opportunities for students than full membership of the Erasmus+ scheme would.
 
Late last year Switzerland resolved its immigration issues with the EU, and Swiss scientists – also suspended from EU schemes after the 2014 referendum – have already regained their status in EU projects.
 
Now students and education groups are demanding the government resolve the Erasmus question too. 
 
On Monday a petition signed by 10,000 people was lodged with the federal government, demanding that Switzerland resume its negotiations with the EU on the subject so that Swiss students can be reintegrated in the programme by 2018. 
 
However it seems they will have to wait a little longer, since the government wants to extend its temporary solution until the end of 2020. 
 
One stumbling block is money: Brussels is demanding Switzerland pay a higher contribution to the scheme’s budget than the alpine country has already approved for its interim solution. As a result, the Federal Council feels it is unrealistic for those negotiations to be concluded before 2018, reported news agency ATS
 
However in a statement the government’s own education commission has said it is imperative that those negotiations restart immediately.
 
Though the commission supports the temporary solution, it should not continue long-term as that would risk “disadvantaging training institutions, the scientific community and the students involved,” it said.