Top Chinese universities will rival the Ivy League and Oxbridge within 25 years, University President Richard Levin said Monday during a lecture before the Royal Society in London. But British and American universities should not view the rise of China’s universities as threatening, Levin maintained — rather, they should see the competition as a way to improve higher education worldwide, he said.

According to Levin, China has the resources and funding to send its universities to the top of the list of the highest-ranked academic institutions in the world. He added that the British government, which recently cut 950 million pounds from higher education over the next three years, should not fail to recognize Oxford and Cambridge as global leaders in higher education.

To build world-class research and education, Chinese universities should broaden its curriculum and encourage critical thinking, Levin added.

According to the QS World University Rankings, Harvard is ranked number one in 2009, followed by Cambridge at number two and Yale at number three. Eleven of the top 15 universities are in the United States and four are in the United Kingdom. Tsinghua University, number 49, is China’s highest ranked university on the list.

Click here to read the full text of Levin’s speech, “The Rise of Asia’s Universities.”