x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

British rankings upset university opening in RAK

British university league tables have come in for criticism from an institution that is about to open a campus in Ras al Khaimah.

British university league tables have come in for criticism from an institution that is about to open a campus in Ras al Khaimah. Dr Peter Marsh, deputy vice chancellor of the University of Bolton, said UK rankings were based on outdated information. In the 2009 universities league table published by The Times, the London newspaper, the University of Bolton came 111th out of 113 institutions.

In the table, based on factors such as research quality, entry standards, results and graduate prospects, the University of Oxford came first, followed by its rival, Cambridge. The University of Bolton holds its RAK campus inauguration on Sept 30, making it the latest in a string of foreign institutions to open branches in the UAE. Dr Marsh suggested that students should look beyond league tables when making decisions about where to study.

"The university league tables are composed of various elements. Some of the information is very out-of-date," he said. "Research ratings for example are based on the last research assessment which was five or six years ago." Students at the University of Bolton achieved results "comparable with the best universities", Dr Marsh said, adding that student satisfaction surveys, in which the university performs well, were not given much weight in the rankings.

He added that league tables emphasised research rather than teaching, which did not favour the university because it focused on "teaching and knowledge transfer" rather than "blue skies" or fundamental research. The university has 100 confirmed admissions at RAK in areas such as engineering, business and the built environment, and will continue recruiting until closer to the start of term on Oct 14.

Dr Marsh said the target was about 120 students, a significantly larger number than some other branch campuses have started with. @Email:dbardsley@thenational.ae