A former presidential aspirant of the New Patriotic Party(NPP), Joe Ghartey, has made claims about the world university ranking and how much revenue the United Kingdom earns from international students annually.
Speaking on United Television (UTV) on Thursday, August 24, 2023, the MP for Essikado-Ketan constituency in the Western Region claimed that “KNUST has been adjudged the best University in the world in Sustainable Development.” (0:52 – 1:08)
In the video that has garnered 1,400 views, he also claimed that the “United Kingdom, they earned £28 billion a year from International students.”(1:00 – 1:15)
This fact-check report will verify the accuracy of the following claims:
- Whether KNUST has been adjudged the best University in the world in Sustainable Development.
- Whether the United Kingdom earns £28 billion a year from international students.
“KNUST has been adjudged the best University in the world in Sustainable Development.”
To fact-check the claim, GhanaFact will rely on reports by the Times Higher Education annual reports and rankings of universities around the world.
The Times Higher Education(THE) is a British magazine that reports on news about higher education worldwide and has since 2004 published data on the World University Ranking.
The project focuses on university rankings to assess their performance on the global stage and provide a resource for readers to understand the different missions and successes of the institutions.
In 2019, the Times Higher Education (THE) introduced the Impact rankings as the only global league table that assesses universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This included overall ranking, as well as 17 tables showing universities’ progress towards delivering each of the SDGs.
Another category is the Teaching rankings, developed to offer a different assessment of excellence in higher education and to enable the ranking of institutions that are often not research-focused enough to be eligible for the World University Rankings.
The 2023 Impact Rankings published in June is the fifth(5th) edition of the overall ranking since 2019 and involved 1,591 universities from 112 countries.
According to the published report, the overall ranking (thus including all 17 SDGs) was led by Australia’s Western Sydney University for the second year in a row. The UK’s University of Manchester was ranked 2nd, while Canada-based Queen’s University ranked 3rd.
The top institution from an emerging economy was Universiti Sains Malaysia, ranking 4th. The UK was the most-represented nation in the top 100 with 26 institutions, followed by Australia with 16 and Canada with 15.
The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology((KNUST)) ranked 1st in the Quality Education table, which is just one out of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, followed by Aalborg University in Demark and Lingnan University Hong Kong, sharing the second position.
The table on SDG 4 – quality education, measures universities’ contribution to early years and lifelong learning, their pedagogy research, and their commitment to inclusive education. The list included 1,304 universities from 109 countries/regions.
Though KNUST emerged as the best University under the Quality Education ranking, the University has not been adjudged the best University in the world in Sustainable Development.
The claim is MISLEADING.
“The United Kingdom earns £28 billion a year from International students.”
To fact-check this claim, GhanaFact will rely on “The Costs and Benefits of International Higher Education Students to the UK Economy” – a report by global consulting firm, London Economics.
Commissioned by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and Universities UK International (UUKi), “The Costs and Benefits of International Higher Education Students to the UK Economy” reports have been published for three cohorts including 2015/16, 2018/19, and 2021/22.
The latest report by London Economics reveals that: “in 2015/16, the gross benefits from just one cohort of overseas students amounted to £26.3 billion and the net benefits were £23.6 billion (figures updated to 2021/22 prices). The second version showed that in the 2018/19 cohort, the benefits were £31.3 billion (gross) and £28.2 billion (net). This third report shows that the benefits associated with the 2021/22 cohort are much higher still, at £41.9 billion (gross) and £37.4 billion (net).”
Annual UK revenue from overseas students
|Academic years||Revenue (UK)|
Source: The Costs and Benefits of International Higher Education Students to the UK Economy
So the £28 billion referenced by Joe Ghartey is likely to be revenue generated in 2018/19 academic year, while the most recent report published (2021/22 ) puts the figure at £37.4 billion.
Therefore, the claim that the United Kingdom earns £28 billion a year from International students is an UNDERSTATEMENT and rated PARTIALLY TRUE.
( Update: In an interview with the legislator, Joe Ghartey following GhanaFact’s findings, he acknowledged the outcome of the research and said: “Thank you for the correction but at least they[KNUST] were first in something. You’ve done well.”)
Researched by Julius Satsi