Declining Quality In British Universities Blamed On ‘Forced Diversity’

Jacob Bojesson | Foreign Correspondent

British universities are becoming less competitive among the world’s elite, and experts say government regulations to force diversity on campuses are part of the problem.

Britain’s two most prestigious universities, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, both dropped two spots on The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings released Tuesday. Two of the countries other top universities, Bristol University and Durham University, fell out of the top 100 list altogether.

While UK universities are still over-performing relative to the country’s size, experts say the trend should be seen as worrying. Particularly, they say new regulations to force diversity quotas on the institutions appear to have compromised quality.

“[The government’s] current policies are causing universities to take their eye off the ball of recruiting the best to comply with government demands to increase the proportions entering and graduating from state schools, ethnic minorities and post codes from which in the past few students have come,” Alan Smithers, professor of education at the University of Buckingham, told The Daily Mail.

The second part of the problem is tighter visa regulations for international students and scholars, which causes UK universities to lose out on foreign talent.

“There is a perception abroad that our higher education sector has been hit by our migration rules, which is damaging,” Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy, told The Daily Mail.

Other European countries also suffered on the rankings. Four out six German and four out of five Dutch schools fell out of the top 100.

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