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Two Pretoria universities rank high on international scale

The University of Pretoria’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe. Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

The University of Pretoria’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe. Jacques Naude African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 5, 2022

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Pretoria - Two universities from Pretoria have moved up a notch in their quest to achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, according to the 2022 Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.

The rankings, the only global performance tables that assess universities against the UN Sustainable Goals, used indicators to provide a comprehensive and balanced comparison across four broad areas, mainly research, stewardship, outreach and teaching.

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This year’s Impact Rankings are the fourth edition of the series, with the overall ranking including 1 406 universities from 106 countries and regions, in comparison to the 2021 rankings, which featured 1240 institutions globally.

According to the latest rankings, the University of Pretoria (UP) has been named South Africa’s second-best (joint second) and Africa’s third-best (joint third) university.

The university also featured among the global top 50 and top 100 universities in terms of the meaningful strides made in achieving some of the goals.

“I am incredibly proud of the UP community for this outstanding performance,” said Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Tawana Kupe.

“The ranking recognises the sustained impact we are having in our local and global communities, but also serves to inspire future action, fuelled by our collective intellectual curiosity.”

The university ranked among the top 50 universities in the world in terms of goal 8, which focuses on achieving decent work and economic growth, and goal 15, on restoring life on land.

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In addition, it ranked among the top 100 universities in the world in terms of goal 9, which deals with the creation of industry, innovation, and infrastructure, and goal 17, which encourages the establishment of partnerships to aid countries to reach the goals.

The university also retained its position with goal 3, which focuses on health and well-being and providing quality education as per the 4th sustainable goal.

At the same time, it improved its position on establishing peace and justice, and assisting in the creation of strong institutions, as per goal 16.

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Despite its battle to curb an unending spate of protests at its doorstep, Unisa managed to get a place in the 401 to 600 category of the rankings.

With Unisa having previously been placed in the 601+ category, the university celebrated the new placement as a representation of the strides the university had taken in improving its rankings and performance since those it received in 2020.

The university said its performance in the 2022 Impact Rankings should be considered against the background that despite the rankings having almost doubled the number of ranked universities, from 768 in 2020 to 1 406 in 2022, Unisa had improved in ranking and, more importantly, also moved from a score in the range of 9.5 to 46.6 in the 2020 pilot.

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“In the past two years, Unisa has been steadily improving its standing in various international university rankings; however this ranking is of special importance to the institution since it speaks to performance in terms of the UN goals, a key aspect in Unisa’s journey towards being the African university in the service of humanity.

“It is, moreover, testimony to the hard and dedicated work of Unisa’s academics, and the fact that the university’s investments into our research are paying off.

“All these efforts reflect Professor Puleng LenkaBula’s leadership in shaping the trajectory of a successful, impactful, empathetic, caring, and resultful university,” said Unisa acting head Professor Thenjiwe Meyiwa, also Vice-Principal for Research, Postgraduate Studies, Innovation and Commercialisation.

The UN goals include achieving no poverty, zero hunger, creation of good health and well-being.

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