The University of Cape Town (UCT), the University of Witwatersrand (Wits) and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) have been ranked the three top universities in the continent with Stellenbosch University, University of Pretoria and Rhodes University holding the fifth, seventh and 10th places respectively.
This is according to the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2022 released his month. For the 2022 academic year, the company ranked 1 300 institutions around the world, including nine from South Africa.
The 2022 QS rankings show that UCT dropped six places globally to 226th compared with the previous year’s rankings, while UJ climbed five places from last year’s global ranking position. The QS rankings show that Wits fell 21 places from the previous year rankings.
UJ Vice-Chancellor Professor Tshilidzi Marwala said not only has UJ climbed five places from last year’s global ranking position, but his university is the only university in South Africa that moved up in these rankings.
“UJ is now ranked at third position in South Africa and climbed from fourth to third place in Africa, the university has also retained its position among the Top 500 [ranked 434] universities in the world,” said Marwala.
UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said despite UCT dropping six places compared to last year, the university remains the best university in Africa.
“This position puts UCT among the top 18% of universities worldwide and is tied with Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn in Germany, the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom and the University of Virginia in the United States,” said Phakeng.
Adding that the academic reputation indicator remains UCT’s strongest performer.
“This is the indicator that contributes the most (40%) to an institution’s overall score,” she said.
The QS World University Rankings are based on six performance indicators, ranging from global academic and employer reputation, research output and quality, internationalisation, as well as teaching and learning.
The organisation said academic reputation remains the highest weighting of any metric. It collates the expert opinions of over 130 000 individuals in the higher education space regarding teaching and research quality at the world’s institutions, said the organisation.
Marwala said UJ’s high overall score was achieved by its increased cohort of international staff and students, which is well above the global average and leading nationally.
He added that the university also achieved improvements in the scores for the research and academic reputation indicators, climbing 34 places from 623 to 589 in the world for the “Citations per Faculty” category.
“The latest global rankings reaffirm the fact that our academic programmes remain strong and relevant, especially when one considers that the pool of competing universities in this global ranking system has increased, ranking 1300 universities instead of the usual 1000 universities as in previous editions,” said Marwala.
He added that these latest rankings demonstrate UJ’s resilience as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) thought leader in Africa, and how the university has had to be agile in adapting to the ever-changing landscape.
“This was also because in embracing technological advancements, our students have been at the centre of this innovative learning approach,” said Marwala.