In 2010, CHE – Centre for Higher Education Development started developing a ranking system for Albanian higher education institutions, which was later on piloted on a number of institutions. The ranking had been commissioned by the Albanian Ministry of Education and Science, with the aim to increase transparency about the Albanian higher education system and to give information to (prospective) students so that they could to make an informed choice on their studies, as well as to inform policy makers and the broader public of the actual performance of Albanian higher education.
After a series of consultations, workshops, initial survey on stakeholders, CHE developed a list of indicators specifically for the Albanian higher education. The indicators were affiliated with nine dimensions given in the table below. Apart from being multidimensional, the ranking is also field-based and it uses rank groups instead of calculating league tables which means that it groups institutions into three groups – top, middle and bottom.
|Student profile||Study outcomes||International orientation|
|Research||Teaching & Learning||Facilities|
|Labour market, employability||Overall assessment (students, professors)||City, university|
During the course of ranking development, a number of obstacles were noted, such as lack of data or a high number of institutions with refused to participate in rankings, including the University of Tirana, which is the largest public university in the country. It is very interesting to note that the student survey as the data source proved not to be reliable, since, as it is indicated in the report (page 84): ‘the students’ responses were not open and frank assessments of their university but rather stimulated by the wish to present their institution as positive as possible.’
Since this is the first case of developing a multi-dimensional field-based ranking tin the Western Balkans, the Albanian experience with ranking could as well be used by other countries in the region which consider introducing a ranking tool for their own institutions.