Lund ranked as Sweden’s best university

Lund University in southern Sweden is the country's best university, according to a new ranking, which saw nearly all Swedish universities climb in comparison to last year.

Lund ranked as Sweden's best university

Lund came in at 67th place overall in the QS World University Rankings, four places higher than the university’s 2012 ranking and its highest position since 2009.

Uppsala University was the second-highest ranked Swedish university, landing at 79th place, while the Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga tekniskahögskolan, KTH) was ranked 118th, up 24 places from the previous year.

Eight Swedish institutions are featured in the QS rankings and all but one institution ranks higher than in 2012, with the University of Gothenburg dropping 12 places to 205th.

Karolinska Institute, which was ranked Sweden’s number one university in a separate ranking released earlier this year, didn’t make the overall QS rankings due to the school’s specialist focus. However, Karolinska was ranked 10th globally in the QS ranking of life sciences and medicine faculties.

“These rankings underline world-class status of Sweden’s leading universities,” QS head of research Ben Sowter said in a statement. “The nation’s top institutions have a great reputation among graduate employers, which is excellent news for students.”

While Lund was tops in Sweden and placed 10th overall among universities in continental Europe, honours for the highest-ranked university in the Nordic region went to the University of Copenhagen.

The Danish university came in at 45th place in the QS rankings, which compare the world’s top 800 institutions across six criteria covering research, employability, teaching and international outlook. Data for the rankings comes from reputational surveys of academics and graduate employers, drawing on over 90,000 responses worldwide.

The number one university in the world, according to QS, is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, followed by Harvard and Cambridge. All universities in the QS top ten are either based in the United States or Great Britain.

TT/The Local/dl

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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)