In a year that has seen university students rioting and campus buildings fire bombed‚ South Africa still leads the pack ahead of other African nations in new global higher education rankings.
This is according to higher education analysts Quacquarelli Symonds’ (QS) 2016 Higher Education System Strength rankings‚ which measure the best national environments for higher education institutions.
South Africa came in at 30th place out of the 50 countries ranked‚ the only country in Africa to place in the published rankings.
Europe was the best performing continent with 22 of its countries providing a top-50 institution.
In a publication by QS last year‚ ranking 404 universities in Brics countries‚ South Africa failed to make the top 10.
Said QS at the time: “Managers of these universities argue that their faculty-student ratio is essentially set by the government‚ which presses them to admit more students but does not fund them well enough to hire more staff.
“These tricky educational economics mean‚ too‚ that South Africa’s academics are not well-paid by world standards and as a result many do not have a PhD.”
But the new rankings do not only look at the number of top universities a country has‚ but rather the quality and accessibility of its higher education system‚ QS said.
The rankings measure academic performance alongside other metrics to assess strengths and weaknesses of a country’s higher education environment.
There are students that might not agree that South Africa’s higher education system is accessible.
Last year‚ students across the country saw universities shut down as they joined the #FeesMustFall protest for a 0% increase in fees.
Criticising transformation at the University of Stellenbosch‚ students complained that its language policy did not cater to all its students with the release of the “Luister” documentary.
In spite of these challenges Stellenbosch University last year jumped 88 places in the QS’ world university rankings.
Source: Times Live