Arthur Mabentsela UCT lecturer

Eight South African universities ranked in world top 1000

Global perception for South African universities seems to be positive, despite widespread protests over the last couple of years.

Arthur Mabentsela UCT lecturer

A looming #FeesMustFall protest and a possible worker’s strike at the University of Cape Town has had no effect on the institution’s ranking as South Africa’s top university.

This is according to Times Higher Learning (THE) who have released their global university rankings for 2017/18, with eight South African universities appearing in the top 1000.

UCT is the only SA university ranked in the top 200 (171), and followed by Wits, Stellenbosch University and UKZN – all ranked in the top 500.

University of Pretoria, UJ, UWC and UNISA make up the rest of the country’s top eight, with the Joburg-based institution, along with UWC making the top 1000 for the first time.

These rankings are based on performance points, such as; teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income.

Maintaining its top spot globally is the UK’s Oxford University, followed by Cambridge, while Stanford University is the United States’ highest ranked institution at third.

While the global outlook on SA universities may be positive, here at home it is not as rosy over the last two years as all institutions have been subject to widespread protest, with students demanding free education.

A Fees Commission looking into the feasibility of free higher education was appointed in January last year. The findings were submitted to President Jacob Zuma on Thursday 31 August, but are yet to be made public.

Despite pressure mounted by these protests on Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande declared that free education for all was not a realistic goal. His office took the measure of announcing that there would be no fee increase in 2016.

This year saw increases across all universities but there were some institutions who reacted by only increasing fees for students who can afford it.

It’s still a patient wait to see if the goal of access to higher education for all is a feasible one.