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ACU Conference: Do university rankings matter?

For Release Upon Receipt - November 21, 2012

St. Augustine

Do they really matter? This was the question asked of university rankings and benchmarking at the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) Conference of Executive Heads held at The University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus from November 9th to 11th. Leaders and educators from around the world collected to explore the theme, “University Rankings and Benchmarking: Do they really matter?” as well as other drivers such as economic policies, changing political and social agenda, staff recruitment and retention, and student aspirations. The event called on participants to seek to measure and demonstrate their university’s ‘value’ to prospective students, parents, alumni, governments and other stakeholders.

In his address, Chairman of the ACU and Vice-Chancellor of The UWI, Professor E. Nigel Harris revealed regionally, institutions are facing difficulty in defining productivity and value. He hoped the conference would bring new insights in light of the global competition fostered by increased access to post-secondary education.   

The Honourable Portia Simpson-Miller, Prime Minister of Jamaica, in opening the conference, declared that, “Any country that wants to be strong must have a strong university base.” 

She also welcomed the emphasis of the conference on performance indicators in higher education. She recognised that, sensitively handled, such rankings can strengthen the culture of transparency, quality, and inform better decision making from students and other stakeholders. 

The conference also marked the beginning of the ACU Centenary celebrations under the theme “Future Forward; design, develop and deliver” which will consider key issues relating to the future of international higher education: designing academics and universities for the future, developing tools to meet new challenges, and delivering, recognising and measuring growth, impact and success.

At 100 years, this year, the ACU is the oldest conglomeration of universities in the world.  

To keep abreast of the ACU’s Centenary celebrations visit


About UWI

Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its eight Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science & Technology, Food & Agriculture, and Social Sciences. (Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)