The university of Leuven remains the highest-placed Belgian university this year, according to the QS World University Rankings published by analysts Quacquarelli Symonds.
However this year sees KU Leuven drop four places from number 80 in the world to number 84. It remains the only Belgian institution in the top 100.
Lower down the table, Belgian universities all lose ranking. Ghent drops from 130 to 135; the university of Louvain-la-Neuve (UCL) drops from 167 to 189; and the Free University of Brussels (VUB) loses five places from last year’s 195 to narrowly stay inside the top 200.
Of the remaining Belgian universities, only the university of Mons lands outside the top 500, with a ranking in the tranche from 651 to 700, down from last year’s 591-600.
The university of Antwerp plunges from 223 to 238. The Free University of Brussels (ULB) loses only one place from 250 to 251. And the University of Liege falls from 429 to 451.
But there is a morsel of good news: the university of Hasselt, which dates back to only 1971, makes its entry at 456th place.
Ben Sowter, QS Research Director, explained: “Belgian universities have fallen this year, and there are two key reasons for this. The first is the relative drop in teaching capacity in Belgian universities. Out of nine universities, eight saw their score fall.
“The second is the lower score given by employers for the quality of Belgian graduates. Eight out of the nine saw the reputation score with employers decline. In order to make up for this loss, the Belgian educational system should focus on expanding education to increase the number of students, and should ensure that the proposed curriculum offers experience based on project work, in correlation with the world of employment.”
Meanwhile at the top of the table, the rankings offered few surprises. The top three spaces are taken by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford and Harvard, all in the US, which also takes another seven spots in the top 20. The top three remains unchanged from last year, with MIT at the top for the ninth year in a row.
In fact, the top 20 this year were all in the top 20 last year. The only difference is their relative positions.