campus-1400x500 South African universities feature amongst the top institutions in Africa, but worryingly many have dropped down the 2016 QS World University Rankings. The University of Cape Town is the best ranked tertiary institution on the African continent, but has dropped as many as 20 places to 191st worldwide, while second place Wits has dropped 28 places to 359th. Third on the list is the American University of Cairo, which has also slipped several places on the overall ranking. Fourth placed Stellenbosch University, however, has climbed back into the top 400 – to 95th place‚ from the 401-410 band in 2015, and is well ahead of fifth ranked Cairo University.

Top Universities in Africa

2016 Country University
191 South Africa University of Cape Town
359 South Africa University of Witwatersrand
365 Egypt American University of Cairo
395 South Africa Stellenbosch University
551-600 Egypt Cairo University
551-600 South Africa University of Pretoria
551-600 South Africa Rhodes University
601-650 South Africa University of Johannesburg
651-700 South Africa University of Kwa-Zulu Natal
701+ Egypt Ain Shams University
701+ Egypt Al Azhar University
701+ Egypt Alexandria University
701+ Uganda Makerere University
701+ South Africa North-West University
701+ Ghana University of Ghana
701+ Kenya University of Nairobi
701+ South Africa University of the Western Cape
Top Universities in South Africa
2016 2015 University
191 171 University of Cape Town
359 331 University of Witwatersrand
395 401-410 Stellenbosch University
551-600 501-550 University of Pretoria
551-600 501-550 Rhodes University
601-650 601-650 University of Johannesburg
651-700 501-550 University of Kwa-Zulu Natal
701+ 701+ North-West University
701+ 701+ University of the Western Cape
Ben Sowter, head of research at QS, said: “This year’s rankings imply that levels of investment are determining who progresses and who regresses. Institutions in countries that provide high levels of targeted funding, whether from endowments or from the public purse, are rising.” “On the other hand, some Western European nations making or proposing cuts to public research spending are losing ground to their US and Asian counterparts.” South Africa’s performance mimicked the global trend which stressed the importance of prolonged investment, said Sowter. He said that South African universities struggled due to funding shortfalls. Seven of the nine SA universities measured by QS dropped in the rankings on academic reputation‚ and employer reputation. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is the world’s top university for the fifth year, and is followed by Stanford and Harvard. Cambridge University and Caltech complete the top five list. The QSWUR is based on a mix of survey responses and hard data across six indicators, compiled and weighted to formulate a final score. 74,651 academics and 37,781 employers contributed to the rankings through the QS global surveys, the largest of their kind. QS said it analyzed 10.3 million research papers and 66.3 million citations, indexed by Elsevier’s Scopus database. Over 3,800 institutions were considered for inclusion and 916 ranked. The ranking’s biggest indicator, accounting for 40% of the total score, is based on academic reputation. Academic reputation is measured using a global survey, in which academics were asked to identify the institutions where they believe the best work is currently taking place within their field of expertise. The indicators and scores are:
  • Academic reputation (40%)
  • Employer reputation (10%)
  • Student-to-faculty ratio (20%)
  • Citations per faculty (20%)
  • International faculty ratio (5%)
  • International student ratio (5%)
SOURCE: Business Tech