University of KwaZulu-Natal

University of KwaZulu-Natal Picture: Supplied

The Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings (WUR) report is out and South African universities have clinched sought-after places on this list. 

The 2021 edition is a reflection of the higher education sector before the global pandemic. 

“We know this pandemic will have painful and wide-reaching effects on our sector and the uncertainty faced by students and institutions alike will be keenly felt,” the report said. 

Choosing where to study is a complicated and highly personal endeavour, and the report aims to be influential in making this decision easier. 

The QS ranking looks at a number of indicators when accessing a university. 

These are: career outcomes, diversity, employer reputation, profile and thought leadership. 

SA’s top six universities are: 

·       University of  Cape Town #220
·       University of The Witwatersrand  #403
·       University of Johannesburg #439
·       Stellenbosch University #456
·       University of Pretoria #561
·       University of KwaZulu-Natal and Rhodes University tied at #801

The report also noted the record-breaking figures for internationalisation metrics and faculty-student ratio. “This may not be seen again for some years to come.”

“The research intensity of recent years may be difficult to sustain under the financial pressure now weighing on institutions. In short, the 2021 WUR will likely be a resetting of the trajectory of rankings looked on in future both as a reminder of the good times and a setpoint to reach for once more.”

“These rankings are, while useful for faculty, administrators and policy makers, designed with having students at heart. Now more so than ever, the weight of uncertainty faced by students on where to place their time, effort and money for a world-class education is palpable.”

The report further added that with campuses closed, online learning and time differences is almost an anachronism, and the need for objective guidance and independent insights therefore remains strong. 

To find out more, you can download the full report here.