As the end of the 2018 fast approaches for Matric students, the next step in their educational journey is to consider which tertiary institution they want to study at.

When it comes to making a choice, whether or not a local university compares favourably to other international institutions is a significant deciding factor.

Many prospective students will be wondering whether South African universities are any good in relation to their international counterparts, so we’re going to take a look at how our tertiary institutions stack up against others in the QS Top University Rankings.

The QS Top University Rankings was launched in 2013 and aims to highlight the 300 most prestigious institutions in the major emerging countries. Namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, also known as the BRICS nations.

This project was developed by QS in collaboration with Russian news agency Interfax. They were looking to better track progress by each of the five BRICS countries in the higher education field, and to facilitate comparison of universities in nations that share certain key socio-economics dynamics.

QS Top Universities uses eight indicators find rankings, and they are as follows:

  • Academic Reputation (30 percent)
  • Employer Reputation (20 percent)
  • Faculty/ student ratio (20 percent)
  • Staff with PhD (10 percent)
  • Papers per faculty (10 percent)
  • Citations per paper (5 percent)
  • International faculty (2.5 percent)
  • International students (2.5 percent)

South Africa’s Top 10 highest ranked universities are:

  1. University of Cape Town (UCT) – ranked 19th in BRICS nations and 191st in the world.
  2. University of Witwatersrand (WITS) – ranked 36th in BRICS nations and 364th in the world.
  3. University of Pretoria (UP) – ranked 38th in BRICS nations and 501-550 in the world
  4. Stellenbosch University – joint ranking of 47th in BRICS nations and joint at 361st in world.
  5. University of Johannesburg (UJ) – ranked 58th in BRICS nations and 601-650 in the world.
  6. University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN) – ranked 80th in BRICS nations and 701-750 in the world.
  7. Rhodes University – ranked joint at 138th in BRICS nations and 701-750 in the world.
  8. University of Western Cape – ranked at 146th in BRICS nations and 801-100 in the world.
  9. University of Free State – ranked 161st in BRICS nations and did not make it in the world.
  10. North West University – ranked 181-190 in BRICS nations and 801-1 000 in the world.

The Top five universities in BRICS nations are:

  1. Tsinghua University in Beijing China ranked 17th in the worlds ranking.
  2. Peking University in Beijing China ranked 30th in the worlds ranking.
  3. Fudan University in Beijing China ranked 44th in the worlds ranking.
  4. University of Science and Technology of China in Beijing China ranked 98th in the world’s ranking.
  5. Lomonosov Moscow State University in Moscow Russia ranked 90th in the world’s ranking.

While many would argue that South Africa is lagging behind its peers, it’s worth remembering that South Africa is still recovering from the shadow of Apartheid and the restrictions it instilled on the majority of the population.

Many South African’s still have to face issues of inequality and the high cost of tertiary education.

In comparison to the other BRICS countries we are a very new democracy and nation. In spite of that we already have one of our institutions – University of Cape Town – in the Top 20 on the QS Top Universities ranking and on the top 200 on the world rankings.

Perhaps we’ll soon see more local institutions joining China and Russia at the top of the charts.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]