Brazil is occupying the top spots in the Times Higher Education’s (THE) most recent rankings of Latin America’s universities. There are 18 Brazilian universities in the THE’s top 50 Latin America 2017 rankings, including in first and second place on the list.
Moreover, of the full 81 universities listed, Brazilian institutions claim a total of 32 places. This puts Brazilian institutions at the forefront of Latin American higher education, occupying two fifths of all places.
Chile, Mexico and Colombian universities also ranked highly, taking up many of the top spaces in the latest THE rankings.
University of São Paulo overtaken
Long recognised as Latin America’s best higher education offering, the University of São Paulo fell to 2nd place this year. However, it was ousted from the top spot by its neighbouring competitor, the State University of Campinas.
State University of Campinas rector Marcelo Knobel said that the institution had been working steadily to improve over the last 15 years. It has particularly focused on its research strategy and knowledge transfer, and has hired new staff selectively.
However, he also said that the state-run university is facing its own challenges. With Brazil’s economic crisis, the university is one of many to suffer from a lack of funding.
“Our budget is close to what it was in 2008, but the problem is that the university grew by about 30 per cent in that same period,” Knobel told THE.
And although the University of São Paulo may have fallen from first place, it remains consistently one of Latin America’s best options. As Brazil’s largest and oldest university, it has 11 campuses littered throughout the state. It also maintains its affiliations with five hospitals, and has the largest medical school hospital in Latin America.
Latin American rivals
Other high-ranking universities on the THE’s Latin America list included institutions in Chile, Mexico and Colombia. The Pontifical Catholic University of Chile came in third place, followed by the University of Chile in 4th place.
Colombia’s University of the Andes claimed the final place in the THE’s top five Latin American universities. In fact, Colombian institutes occupied five places in the overall top 50.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s highest-ranking university came in 6th place, thanks to the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education. Additionally, the National Autonomous University of Mexico placed 10th.