Times Higher Education has introduced a new ranking of universities called “ THE University Impact Ranking”. It is based on UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). THE regards it the only global performance scoring that assess universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
There are 17 UN SDGs out of which Times Higher Education (THE) evaluates the performance of HEIs on following 11 SDGs in the first edition.
1. SDG 3 – Good health and well-being
2. SDG 4 – Quality education
3. SDG 5 – Gender equality
4. SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
5. SDG 9 – Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
6. SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
7. SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
8. SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
9. SDG 13 – Climate action
10. SDG 16 – Peace, justice and strong institutions
11. SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals
Universities which are interested in participation submit data on as many of these SDGs as they are able. Any university that provides data on SDG 17 and at least three other SDGs is included in the overall ranking.
Since this is relatively new and is certainly a very useful ranking, this article outlines how universities can benefit if they decide to participate.
Almost all the Pakistani universities contribute to SDGs but many do not document their contribution. In some case, they do not even realize the impact they have on community. Lets focus on SDG-4, Quality Education. One of the parameter is:
“Does your university as a body undertake educational outreach activities (e.g. tailored lectures or demonstrations) beyond campus, e.g. in local schools, in the community, including voluntary student-run schemes?”
This is a standard practice medical and allied sciences institutions but it is not given any significance and mostly treated as a part of curriculum delivery (Community Medicine). Similarly, general universities do hold such sessions but that is usually owned by a specific department. Universities do not link them with their social responsibilities.
Most importantly, the following is a missing element in many Pakistani Universities:
Does your university as a body have a policy that ensures that access to these activities is accessible to all, regardless of ethnicity, religion, disability or gender?
Having a policy on such areas indicates the commitment of the universities but many institutions do not work for policy in these areas.
Similarly, all indicators of impact ranking are carefully selected, require evidence and need to be supported by policy guidelines at institutional level.
Participation into impact ranking will be open after a couple of months so universities which are desirous for participation have enough time to review their practices and plan actions which would facilitate institutions achieving SDGs in a more effective way.
February 3, 2020