17 August 2015
South African universities dominated a pilot list that ranked 30 of Africa’s top institutions. A total of 11 South African universities made the Times Higher Education (THE) Africa University Ranking.
It was unveiled at THE’s African Universities Summit held at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on 30 and 31 July.
In the top 10 alone, six South African establishments are named, with University of Cape Town and Wits University placed first and second respectively.
The results did not come as a surprise as South Africa dominates an initial snapshot list of African universities in THE’s World University Rankings published earlier in the year.
The list also reflected the healthy state of education in Egypt, with six institutions from the North African country making the cut. However, two of its more popular institutions, Cairo University and Al-Azhar University, were not featured.
Some unexpected or lesser-known institutions also made it on to the list, such as the Universite Cadi Ayyad (10), Port Harcourt (6), the Universite de Sfax in Tunisia (28), Universite Hassan II (15) and several other institutions from Egypt, namely; Suez Canal University (14), South Valley University and Minia University (30).
“Long way to go”
Rankings were determined by the methodology used for the current World University Ranking. It takes into consideration 13 factors including learning environment, research and citations.
THE rankings editor Phil Batty told the Mail & Guardian Africa that even though they had spent the last five years modifying and refining a methodology that would be better suited to an African, as opposed to a global, ranking, “there’s still a long way to go”. What THE had created was “a snapshot of research strength”.
This was due to a lack of extensive data, he said. This was “the very start of the story. Because world rankings are driven by research, innovation and tech development, we need to work with African universities on indicators such as their teaching and graduate success. The rankings we’re publishing are actually very much the starting point. We want to use this conference to convince universities to start collecting and sharing data more consistently.”
UJ played a critical role in the creation of the Africa ranking. Professor Ihron Rensburg, UJ’s vice-chancellor and principal, told Mail & Guardian Africa that the university conceptualised the idea and “asked THE to do it jointly – bringing together our driving ambition and creating a forum for African universities to debate and dialogue”.
THE’s ranking follows another list that regarded South African universities highly. The Quacquarelli Symonds University Rankings was released on 8 July. It placed eight of South Africa’s universities in the top 100 universities in Brics, with the highest placed institutions being UCT (14) Wits (28), Stellenbosch (34) and Pretoria (49).
The full THE Africa University Ranking:
- University of Cape Town (South Africa)
- University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa)
- Makerere University (Uganda)
- University of Stellenbosch (South Africa)
- University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa)
- University of Port Harcourt (Nigeria)
- University of the Western Cape (South Africa)
- University of Nairobi (Kenya)
- University of Johannesburg (South Africa)
- Universite Cadi Ayyad (Morocco)
- University of Pretoria (South Africa)
- University of Ghana (Ghana)
- University of South Africa (South Africa)
- Suez Canal University (Egypt)
- Universite Hassan II (Morocco)
- Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia)
- Rhodes University (South Africa)
- University of The Free State (South Africa)
- North West University (South Africa)
- University of Tunis (Tunisia)
- Ecole Nationale d’Ingenieurs de Sfax (Tunisia)
- Universite Mohammed V – Agdal (Morocco)
- American University in Cairo (Egypt)
- Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (South Africa)
- South Valley University (Egypt)
- Alexandria University (Egypt)
- Assiut University (Egypt)
- University of Sfax (Tunisia)
- University of Yaounde (Cameroon)
- Minia University(Egypt)