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Wits Top in Africa and in top 15 Emerging Economies

- Wits University

Wits University ranked in top 15 by The Times Higher Education in the latest ranking of universities in emerging economies.

The top 15 in The Times Higher Education Emerging Economies University Rankings 2022 includes ten universities from China, two from Russia while Taiwan and Saudi Arabia each have one institution in this category. Overall, South Africa has two universities in the top 20, the other university being Cape Town.

The rankings include institutions in countries classified by the London Stock Exchange’s FTSE Group as “advanced emerging”, “secondary emerging” or “frontier”. “Emerging economies are still maturing, as are their institutions. The Emerging Economies University Rankings recognises this, and we recalibrate performance indicators in our World University Rankings to assess them fairly,” reads the statement from The Times.

More than 698 universities representing 50 territories are featured in the ranking this year. South Africa has 11 institutions included in these rankings with six in the top 100.  

Institutions are ranked using the same 13 performance indicators as the THE World University Rankings to evaluate institutions on their teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. However, these carry a different weightings to reflect the development priorities of universities in emerging economies.

Universities are ranked on their academics, research, publications, international staff and student composition and industry income.

“The university is proud that both Wits and UCT are in the top 20 especially because of the drastic cuts in research funding that South African universities have faced in the last few years. This opposed to the exponentially increases researching funding that universities in China, Russia, India and the Middle East are receiving from their governments,” says Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Wits Vice-Chancellor and Principal.

“We have consistently been ranked in the top one percent of world universities, since the first global rankings were released some ten years ago. This has been achieved through the numerous collaborations that we have with some of the leading universities around the world.”

Dr Mahomed Moolla, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Wits says the University is moving strategically to promote African growth: “We are now using our reputation to assist universities in the rest of Africa through the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) which we formed together with UCT, hopefully this will help get some of these universities to also improve their rankings. Wits is committed to building the continent of Africa to be the powerhouse that it should rightfully be. For too long, universities from the north have used Africa as a site for doing research but did not help in building indigenous capacity, we want to change that.”

Professor Lynn Morris, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation added that “our top ranking is helping us to attract academics from around South Africa and the world, contrary to perceptions that Wits academics are leaving for other Universities. A few years ago we implemented our Distinguished Professor program and we have already attracted 30 world class academics as distinguished professors to Wits. ”