The top ranking universities in South Africa were revealed in a new university ranking focusing on academic quality which was recently released. The University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP) highlights the performance of 16 South African universities among 2 500 higher education institutes (HEI) across the world.
This ranking is different from other widely published rankings in that it does not exclude the lower-end of institutions, particularly in developing nations. “Most ranking systems cover up to the top 500 universities around the world, which mostly represents institutions located in developed countries. Universities from other countries around the world also deserve and need to know where they stand among institutions at global and national levels,” the URAP group said.
The ranking involves six academic performance indicators. URAP said published written material constitutes the basis of the ranking methodology as it is an academic performance based ranking. Both quality and quantity of publications and international research collaboration performance are used as indicators.
The final score of each HEI is based on its performance over several indicators, including current scientific productivity, research impact, research quality and international acceptance, scientific productivity, and sustainability and continuity of scientific productivity. Data is collected from the Web of Science (an online subscription-based scientific citation indexing service) and other sources which provide lists of HEI’s.
There are 16 South African universities included in the latest ranking, making it the most in-depth global university ranking in the country thus far. The number of South African HEIs in this year’s ranking however, is down from the previous year with the University of Fort Hare falling away.
The University of Cape Town, as on several other ranking lists, is the best university in the country, followed by Wits, UKZN and Stellenbosch University. Most of South Africa’s universities have dropped down the global list in 2017, with UCT going down three spots from 2016, and Wits down four places. The UKZN kept its position, but Stellenbosch University dropped 13 places.
In another university ranking put together by Times Higher Education (THE) for 2017/2018, listing the top 1 000 universities in the world, eight South African universities were included, namely UCT, Wits, Stellenbosch University, UKZN, University of Pretoria, University of Johannesburg, UWC and the University of South Africa.
The Times Higher Education university ranking is focused on performance across five main indicators: teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income. 2017 marks the first year that over 1 000 universities were evaluated and ranked by the group. The full rankings can be viewed on the Times Higher Education website.
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