9 South African universities ranked among the best in emerging markets

The Times Higher Education (THE) rankings for the top universities in emerging markets has been publishes, with 9 South African institutions listed among the ranks – including a new entry.

The THE Emerging Economies University Rankings for 2019 use the same 13 performance indicators as the THE World University Rankings to judge institutions on their teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.

However, they are re-calibrated to reflect the development priorities of universities in emerging economies.

Overall, 442 universities from 43 countries feature in the rankings, led by China, which remains the most-represented nation in the 2019 listing, with 72 institutions, up from 63 last year.

China claims four of the top five positions – and seven of the top 10. Tsinghua University surpasses Peking University as this year’s top institution overall.

India is still the second most-represented country with 49 institutions included, up from 42. The nation has also increased its presence in the top 200, from 17 to 25 institutions, to surpass Taiwan as the second most-represented in the group.

Russia’s performance is mixed – while several universities have declined, there are also some significant risers and prominent newcomers. The country has 35 institutions included, up from 27 last year, overtaking Taiwan as the fourth most-represented in the overall table.

Brazil is the most-represented Latin American nation – and third most-represented in the table – with 36 institutions, up from 32. But 17 of these have declined, including its two leading universities.

South Africa, the final member of the BRICS group, has nine institutions, up from eight last year, and retains seven in the top 200.

Elsewhere, emerging nations across Europe have generally declined, while several countries in the Middle East and North Africa and Southeast Asian regions have progressed, THE said.

South African universities

The Tshwane University of Technology made its debut on the rankings, listed as 8th in South Africa.

South Africa is once again led by the University of Cape Town, which ranks as the top university in the country, and ninth overall (same as 2018). It is the only South African university to feature in the top 10, with Wits University narrowly missing out, ranked 11th (up from 12th in 2018).

Of the nine universities ranked, only two managed to improve their standings on the global list – with Wits moving up one place, and Stellenbosch University climbing 14 places to 24th overall (from 38th).

With UCT staying stable, and the Tshwane University of Technology making its debut in the rankings (in the 201-250 overall), the other five schools all saw a drop.

UKZN dropped from 41st to 49th; UP dropped from 66th to 78th; UJ dropped from 92nd to 99th; UWC dropped from 117th to 121st; and Unisa dropped out of the 251-300 range to the 301-350 range.

Here are the top universities in South Africa

SA# University 2018 # 2019 #
1 University of Cape Town 9 9
2 University of the Witwatersrand 12 11
3 Stellenbosch University 38 24
4 University of KwaZulu-Natal 41 49
5 University of Pretoria 66 78
6 University of Johannesburg 92 99
7 University of the Western Cape 117 121
8 Tshwane University of Technology 201-250
9 University of South Africa 251-300 301-350

Read: How much it will cost to send your kids to school and university over the next 18 years in South Africa

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9 South African universities ranked among the best in emerging markets