The universities in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, have failed to make the 1300 tertiary institutions listed in the 2022 QS world university rankings.

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Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), a global higher education analyst, on Tuesday released the eighteenth edition of the QS world university rankings, considered the world’s most-consulted global university rankings.

The 2022 edition of the database sees a record number of African universities (31) enter the published tables.

The continental leader remained the University of Cape Town, which ranked 226th, having fallen for a second consecutive year. Its closest competitor is the University of the Witwatersrand, which was placed 424th spot (down by 21 places year-on-year).

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Placing in the top 500 are the University of Johannesburg (434th, up to five places year-on-year), The American University in Cairo (445th, down 34 places year-on-year), and Stellenbosch University (482nd, down 26 places).

As in previous years, South Africa topped continentally. It is home to the continental leader and four of Africa’s top five institutions. Only Egypt (13) betters its total of nine ranked universities.

Of Africa’s 31 ranked universities, only the University of Johannesburg improved its global rank over the last year. Eleven have declined in rank, all from Egypt and South Africa. Ten have also remained stable within their rank or band.

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According to the list, nine are new in the ranking exercise this year. The highest-ranking new entrant is Tunisia’s Université de Sousse. It is the first Tunisian university to feature in the QS World University Rankings, and placed in the 701/750 band.

QS Rankings’ top-20 varsities worldwide

  1. (1) Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, United States — 100 points
  2. (2) University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom — 99.5
  3. (3) Stanford University, Stanford, United States — 98.7
  4. (3) University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom — 98.7
  5. (5) Harvard University, Cambridge, United States — 98
  6. (6) California Institute of Technology (Caltech) Pasadena, United States — 97.4
  7. (7) Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom — 97.3
  8. (8) ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich, Switzerland — 95.4
  9. (8) UCL London, United Kingdom — 95.4
  10. (10) University of Chicago, Chicago, United States — 94.5
  11. (11) National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore, Singapore — 93.9
  12. (12) Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU), Singapore, Singapore — 90.8
  13. (13) University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, United States — 90.7
  14. (14) EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland — 90.2
  15. (14) Yale University, New Haven, United States — 90.2
  16. (16) The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom —89.9
  17. (17) Tsinghua University, Beijing, China (Mainland) — 89
  18. (18) Peking University, Beijing, China (Mainland) — 88.8
  19. (19) Columbia University, New York City, United States — 88.7
  20. (20) Princeton University, Princeton, United States — 88.6

All African varsities on 2022 QS Rankings

  1. (226) University of Cape Town, South Africa — 40.3 points
  2. (424) University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa — 27.1 points
  3. (434) University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa — 26.7
  4. (445) The American University in Cairo, Egypt — 26.1
  5. (482) Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa — 24.6
  6. (571-580) Cairo University, Giza, Egypt
  7. (601-650) University of Pretoria, South Africa
  8. (701-750) Université de Sousse, Sousse, Tunisia
  9. (801-1000) Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt
  10. (801-1000) Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa
  11. (801-1000) University of Kwazulu-Natal, Pinetown, South Africa
  12. (1001-1200) Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt
  13. (1001-1200) Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt
  14. (1001-1200) Assiut University, Asyut, Egypt
  15. (1001-1200) British University in Egypt, Sharqia, Egypt
  16. (1001-1200) Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
  17. (1001-1200) North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
  18. (1001-1200) Suez Canal University, Egypt
  19. (1001-1200) University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana
  20. (1001-1200) University of Nairobi, Kenya
  21. (1001-1200) University of the Western Cape, South Africa
  22. (1201+) German University in Cairo, Egypt
  23. (1201+) Helwan University, Helwan, Egypt
  24. (1201+) Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt
  25. (1201+) Sudan University of Science and Technology, Khartoum, Sudan
  26. (1201+) Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt
  27. (1201+) University of Khartoum Khartoum, Sudan
  28. (1201+) Université Mohammed V de Rabat, Rabat, Morocco
  29. (1201+) Université de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia
  30. (1201+) Université de Tunis El Manar, Tunis, Tunisia
  31. (1201+) Zagazig University, Zagazig, Egypt

QS used six indicators to compile the ranking:

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  • Academic Reputation: Based on survey responses from over 130,000 academics).
  • Employer Reputation: Based on survey responses from over 75,000 employers about the relationship between the institution and graduate employability)
  • Citations per Faculty: Measures research impact, dividing the total number of citations received by a university’s research papers over a five-year period by the number of faculty at an institution.
  • Faculty/Student Ratio: A proxy for teaching capacity. Student numbers are divided by faculty numbers, giving the global student body some indication of likely class sizes at their selected institution.
  • International Faculty Ratio: One of QS’s two measures of internationalization. It measures the proportion of non-domestic faculty at an institution.
  • International Student Ratio: The second of measures of internationalization. I examinees the proportion of non-domestic students at an institution, providing an indication of its ability to attract talent globally.

For this edition, 6415 institutions were eligible for the survey analysis, while 1705 were assessed for the final table.

The results account for the performance of 14.7 million papers published between 2015 and 2019, the 96 million citations received by those papers, and the opinion of over 130,000 academic faculty and over 75,000 employers.

Speaking of the report, Ben Sowter, director of research at QS, said: “[It] has enabled us to shine a light on more African universities than ever before, which will provide an increasing level of scope for students, policymakers, and academic leaders to benchmark the continent’s institutions against peers both regionally and globally.

“For most of the continent, further improvement is hampered by low scores in our research impact metric. Beyond South Africa’s top institutions, no African university ranks among the world’s top 600 for research impact. Beyond this, improving graduate employer recognition is also a strategic priority necessity for African institutions.”

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