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SA universities listed in new global ranking, UKZN’s Mining and Mineral Engineering ranked first in the country

Howard College building, University of Kwazulu Natal. Picture: Supplied.

Howard College building, University of Kwazulu Natal. Picture: Supplied.

Published Aug 15, 2022


All 26 of SA’s universities have been listed on a new global ranking of universities based on the quality, quantity, and access to their web content.

Due to the web-based nature of the data collected, the “Webometrics Ranking of World Universities” ranking has covered over 31 000 higher learning institutes, including many of the smaller colleges and institutions often left out of other global rankings.

A total of 120 South African higher learning institutes were ranked, listed between 245th and 29, 356th in the world.

South Africa has 26 public universities, including 12 traditional universities, 6 comprehensive universities, and 8 universities of technology. All universities featured in the rankings.

The “Webometrics Ranking of World Universities” is an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group belonging to the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), the largest public research body in Spain.

Webometrics has a special focus on open access to data from global universities and lists institutions based on the quantity and quality of their web content.

According to the Webometrics site, the ranking has nothing to do with university websites but rather link analysis, which includes bibliographic citations – used by other university rankings – and also third-party involvement with university activities.

The University of Cape Town was the top-ranked university in the country.

UCT is followed by the University of the Witwatersrand, Stellenbosch University and the University of Pretoria. These were the only universities ranked within the top 500 globally.

Within the top 1000, the University of KwaZulu Natal, the University Johannesburg, Unisa and the University of the Western Cape feature.

According to ShanghaiRanking’s website, the report ranks the top tertiary institutions globally by the quality of their subject offerings and represents the most comprehensive and objective ranking of world universities by subjects.

GRAS ranks universities in 54 subjects across Natural Sciences, Engineering, Life Sciences, Medical Sciences, and Social Sciences.

More than 1800 out of 5000 universities across 96 countries and regions were finally listed in the rankings. GRAS scrutinised the universities that have published a certain number of publications during the period of 2015-2019. The publication threshold is set differently for different subjects.

The ranking includes 12 universities from South Africa, which rank among the top 500 universities in the world in 33 subjects, out of the 54 tracked by the group.

“The University is pleased with the ranking and commends those members of staff and students who worked exceptionally hard to achieve these results. While there is always room for improvement, the international recognition is testament to the exceptional quality of our qualifications,” said UKZN’s Executive Director: Corporate Relations, Normah Zondo.

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