3 Swedish universities make top 100 list

Three Swedish universities, Karolinska Institute (KI) and Uppsala and Stockholm Universities, made the top 100 of the Academic Ranking of World Universities compiled annually by Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

3 Swedish universities make top 100 list
Karolinska Institute

The university deemed Stockholm’s Karolinska the best post-secondary institution in Sweden and rated it 42nd overall in its compilation of 500 universities, rising from 50th spot last year.

“KI’s position is stable,” Björn Forslöw, international analyst at Karolinska said in a statement. “The change in ranking is based on very small changes in the weighted criteria.”

Karolinska also tied for ninth with the University of Pittsburgh among schools in the fields of clinical medicine and pharmacy, the only non-US university in the list.

Both Uppsala and Stockholm Universities also improved from their 2009 rankings to 66th and 79th from 76th and 88th respectively.

Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley topped the list. The University of Cambridge was the best non-American institution at fifth.

Rankings are based criteria including the number of Nobel Prizes won by each institution, citations in scientific journals and publications in journals with high impact factor.

Eight other Swedish schools also made the list:

Lund University: 106th

Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg: 203rd

Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga Tekniska högskolan, KTH), Stockholm: 231st

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet, SLU), Ultuna, Uppsala: 237th

Umeå University: 250th

University of Gothenburg: 265th

Stockholm School of Economics (Handelshögskolan i Stockholm): 346th

Linköping University: 433rd

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Swedish university exam unlikely to go ahead at all this year

It is looking increasingly unlikely that 'högskoleprovet' – an exam used by thousands of students every year as a way to enter Swedish university will go ahead – despite a government U-turn.

Swedish university exam unlikely to go ahead at all this year
In a normal year, 100,000 students sit what is known as the SweSAT or 'högskoleprovet'. Photo: Malin Hoelstad/SvD/SCANPIX

The Swedish Scholastic Aptitude Test (SweSAT, or högskoleprovet) is normally held twice a year, but was cancelled in spring and then later in autumn due to the coronavirus pandemic. But after pressure from opposition parties, the government last week said it would pave the way for the test to take place on its usual date in October in a limited format, open only to people who had not previously sat it.

Usually around 100,000 people sit the exam each year, around 40 percent of them doing so for the first time. The exam is not compulsory, but many people use its results to get into university, and it is seen as a crucial second chance for those who are not able to get accepted based on grades alone.

But any hope lit by the government's announcement last week was quickly extinguished this week, when university principals said it would still not be possible to organise a coronavirus-safe sitting. In the end it is up to the exam organisers to decide whether or not to hold it, so the government holds limited sway.

“They [the university principals] do not want to take responsibility for conducting the exam during the autumn, but would rather spend time and resources on conducting two tests as safely as possible in spring,” Karin Röding, director-general of the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR), told the TT news agency on Tuesday.

“I have no reason to have another opinion,” she added.

“It appears to be the case that you are going to have to wait another few months before an exam can be carried out in an infection-safe way,” confirmed Sweden's Minister of Higher Education, Matilda Ernkrans.

Meanwhile the political pressure eased on the Social Democrat-Green coalition government to ensure the test could be held before the deadline for applying to the spring semester of university, when the Liberal party joined the centre-left in voting no to pushing for an autumn sitting. Last week there was a majority for a yes vote on the Swedish parliament's education committee, consisting of right-wing parties Moderates, Christian Democrats, Sweden Democrats and the Liberals, but after the latter switched sides the committee voted no.

The Mdoerates blamed the government for not acting sooner to help the exam go ahead, by for example allocating more money and investigating the possibility of using more venues.

“There is one person who is to blame. That's Matilda Ernkrans,” said the party's education spokesperson Kristina Axén Olin. “The government has handled it really poorly and now it is thought to be too late and impossible.”

Ernkrans argued that she and the government had done everything they could, including making sure that test results from previous years will be valid for eight years rather than the usual five, as well as allocating extra funding to make it possible to hold more than one exam next spring.

Swedish vocabulary

cancel – ställa in

test/exam – (ett) prov

second chance – (en) andra chans

government – (en) regering

semester – (en) termin (note the false friend – the Swedish word semester means holiday)