Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (photo/Wikipedia)

The Times Higher Education (THE) University ranking of Latin American Universities was released yesterday by the influential London magazine, and Argentina’s Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires (UBA) did not make the cut.

It’s a shock since we have been placing the UBA on a pedestal for years, so it came as a surprise to most when such a respectable institution was nowhere to be seen amongst the selection of Latin America’s best universities. However, we did find other Argentine universities there.

Argentina’s National University of Córdoba made it to the list’s 26-30 ranking followed by Austral University which was positioned 61-70. This year’s THE’s ranking is the first to feature an Argentine university, a great cause for celebration.

Even better news came when Time Higher Education stated their approval for Argentina’s high percentage of investigators and its elevated rates of college participation when compared to other countries in the region.

Ranked amongst THE’s top ten universities were several Brazilian universities, with State University of Campinas tiered number one. Chile and Mexico were the two runner-ups, each with two universities listed amongst the Top Ten, and one Colombian University made an appearance as well.

The ranking defines each position after careful evaluation of thirteen indicators grouped in the following way: Teaching (the educational environment), Investigation (quantity, income and reputation), Academic Publications (research’s influence), International Scope (equipment, students, and research), and Income from the Business Sector (transferring of knowledge).

Brazil is clearly claiming dominance with 32 education institutions appearing on the list, the largest number of universities by a given country. Phil Baty, editor of Times Higher Education Ranking highlighted Brazil’s superior willingness to invest in research and development, more so than other countries in the region. However, the country’s education budget and costs is still low when compared to world-wide standards.

Yet if they don’t want to be overruled, the Latin American country has been advised to step up their game as the competition “each time is getting more and more intense” warns Baty. There is a list of “tactic” countries, seven countries across the world believed to be potential stars in high-levels of education, and Argentina, along with Colombia, is on it.

Increase in competition implies that each institution needs to meliorate their efforts in all areas, assuming they’d rather maintain their slots instead of slithering down to the pits of the list. And though Latin America may be finally taking flight in terms of first-rate high-level education, many risks are still apparent in the region. It’s no secret that salaries in the field continue to be kept at a minimum and high levels of bureaucracy in the region’s institutions have been noted.

Yet let’s not allow stats and comparisons to sway us from the good news: this is Argentina’s first time being featured in a Times Higher Education Ranking. Not to mention, as a “tactic” country, we’re expected to climb the ladder.