Category Archives: University and College

The world’s top 200 universities 2011


The Times Higher Education has published its list of the top 200 universities in the world.

The California Institute for Technology has been named the best university in the world in the latest league table of the top 200 universities, published by the magazine Times Higher Education (THE). Harvard is at number two, the first time it has failed to take the top spot in the list’s eight-year history.

Last years survey was dominated by American institutions, with 75 making the list. Other high scorers include the Netherlands, Germany and Canada.

Universities are judged on 13 performance indicators, taking in research, teaching, knowledge transfer and international activity. This year the methodology has been tweaked to put arts institutions on a more even footing with those excelling in science.

Cape Town University was ranked the top university in Africa coming in at 103 globally


To view full ranking list – click here


South Africa universities amongst the best globally

South Africa has once again established the fact that the standard of its tertiary education is comparable along with the finest in the world. Two local universities, the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University, have accomplished top honours by being listed in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings for 2011/12.

First published in 2004, the QS ranking is a recognized global career and education network. Potential students and staff coming from all around the world take advantage of the information and facts to make a decision where they should study and advance their academic careers.

Stellenbosch University (SU) was awarded double honours as it was included in the QS listing’s top 500 universities, and in addition came in third highest on the African continent.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) was slipped into 156th position, up from 161 the year before. The QS system at the same time continues to name UCT as the only university in Africa inside the top 200.

The QS system utilizes six indicators to ascertain a global ranking: academic reputation (40%); employer reputation (10%); citations per faculty (20%); faculty student ratio (20%); proportion of international students (5%); and proportion of international faculty (5%). The top universities world-wide are then selected out of 2 000 institutions.


Recognizing outstanding teaching and research

Prof Russel Botman, SU’s rector and vice-chancellor, affirms that inclusion in the QS listing can be described as significant success for the university as it points too the global community has taken notice of the quality of its teaching and research.

Stellenbosch University has been doing ground-breaking work as part of its HOPE project in the elements of nano-fibre water filter technology, food security, HIV/Aids, paediatric tuberculosis as well as other research initiatives.

The HOPE project supports the UN’s Millennium Development Goals by concentrating on world-class research geared towards enhancing the day-to-day lives of South Africans and individuals in other places across the continent.

“Although we do not go in pursuit of rankings, we are proud to be acknowledged by our peers in this way. It is really an important feather in our cap,” Botman says, adding the fact that the rankings at the same time expose local academics and students to additional opportunities for research collaboration and exchange.



He admits that SU is doing a considerable amount of work to further improve its research output, and has received global recognition as the university that offers by far the most research output in the country per academic staff member.

Having said that, he was astonished at the ranking received for international visibility. “The university has been working extremely hard to boost its global presence and visibility over the past four years, but we did not know that our work would be noticed so quickly,” he says.

Outcomes of research conducted by Stellenbosch University in 2007 exposed that internationally the university wasn’t widely recognized for the quality of its academic programmes. Having said that, people were acquainted with the institution’s negative apartheid history.

“The ranking demonstrates that our strategy to enhance awareness of the university and bring about transformation is without a doubt correct,” says Botman.

Global acknowledgement of this kind is advantageous for individual tertiary institutions and the country. UCT’s executive director of communications and marketing, Gerda Kruger, mentioned in a statement that a good overall performance on the QS list sends the message that South Africans can obtain a world-class education without the need of leaving the country.

Click here to view Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings



Nzimande’s varsity funding review goes ahead

A review of funding framework for higher education institutions that could lead to more money being allocated to historically disadvantaged universities is going ahead as planned this year.

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande told parliament during his budget vote on Thursday that a ministerial task team will also study university student housing and assess the need for additional accommodation, the quality of existing facilities and options for the financing of new student housing.

In 2008, the South African government increased funding to universities to R3.6 billion to reverse a funding decline, reward institutions that produce more graduates, improve infrastructure and relieve financial pressure to raise fees – an issue that propels student protest countrywide.

Nzimande said there were discrepancies in the current funding model for universities in that more money is being channeled to the top universities while the historically disadvantaged continued to suffer infrastructure backlogs. “What is of concern to me is how we address the problems of historically disadvantaged universities which I have been told they are still disadvantaged by the way,” he said.

More than R3.2 billion from the department’s budget has been allocated to infrastructure funds to universities for the next two financial years. Nzimande said the funds will help universities to increase production of graduates in the critical areas of engineering, life and physical science, teacher education and health sciences. About R686 million of the funding will be used to improve student housing. About R431 million goes to teaching development grants while R185 million has been set aside for provision of foundation courses.

Source: BuaNews


Top university tackles transformation in South Africa

The University of Cape Town (UCT), one of South Africa’s top institutions, is undertaking an ambitious programme to balance race relations on campus. The university is accelerating its pace of transformation in the light of a government-commissioned probe into racism in higher education. “The report forced universities to think about these issues and to respond, which is what its real benefit has been,” said Crain Soudien, chair of the committee that oversaw the investigation and head of the transformation programme at UCT.

The investigation, launched in March 2008 following a racist scandal at the University of the Free State, exposed pervasive racial and sexual discrimination at university campuses across the country, and the failure of institutions to confront these challenges.

The subsequent report, based on questionnaires and visits to the country’s 23 universities, provides a range of key recommendations that universities are expected to adopt to varying degrees. They will be expected to talk about what steps they have taken at a conference to be held later this year.

Soudien, a professor of education at UCT, said both black and white racism occur quite predictably at the nation’s higher education institutions, although generally not on the same scale as the Free State incident. “Race relations continue to be a problem,” said Soudien. “The ongoing transition we face is extraordinarily difficult.”

A key finding of the report is that institutions have complied with national legislation and drafted policies to deal with racial integration, but that these have in most cases not been put into practice. “The response to the new legislative platform is largely one of compliance,” said Soudien. “With this report we’re trying to get universities to think about what this platform is truly about.”

The report did draw criticism. The official opposition Democratic Alliance released a statement accusing the committee of providing impractical recommendations by not grasping the funding crunch plaguing universities. But the party did acknowledge that it raised legitimate concerns about racism at various levels in universities.

The report’s recommendations fall into four categories: curriculum, student life, governance and institutional climate.

UCT has, for the moment, chosen to focus on institutional climate, which looks at staff relations. It has so far tackled the issue by circulating two sets of surveys, which polled staff members on whether they feel fairly treated by the university and their colleagues. It also launched the Kahuluma programme, a series of two- and three-day workshops that look at the relationships between staff members.

But, like any programme of this nature, there are challenges to overcome. The surveys are not representative, with low return rates of 30%. Soudien said many people see transformation initiatives as tedious and as an administrative burden.

“I think our challenge as leadership in a university is to help people see what a real opportunity this is to getting down to business,” said Soudien. “With global issues such as climate change and sustainability, this is an important moment in thinking about our responsibility as producers of knowledge around the world.”

One recommendation affecting many universities is the issue of governance. The report revealed that university councils in particular are not providing adequate leadership to their institutions, largely due to limited leadership capacity.

One result of many decades of apartheid is that the number of black people with university experience is considerably less than their white counterparts, which means many of the people serving on the councils are not necessarily qualified.

But for UCT, issues around governance are less of a problem than at other universities. Soudien said historically UCT has had a very active council, with council members deeply involved in policy issues and able to anticipate questions surrounding issues of racial integration.

“We’re leading by example,” said Soudien. “Other universities have started to look at what we’ve done here.”

Other universities have also been making strides. Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is launching a center for the advancement of non-racialism and democracy, for instance, and the University of the Free State last year appointed its first black Vice Chancellor, Professor Jonathan Jansen.

But UCT believes it is the leader in crafting policies around racism, sexual harassment, and the integration of residences. It has also developed an admissions policy that uses race-based criteria when admitting students. “The policy recognises the need for redressing the difficulties and injustices that arose from the past,” said Soudien.

But the policy is contentious. Opponents have argued that in a post-racial society, with race no longer on the statute books, disadvantage not race should be the qualifying factor.

“The position we’ve taken is that we’re looking at the vestiges of ongoing effects of racism in the lives of young people,” said Soudien. “But we do want to get to a point where race isn’t in the admissions criteria, so that we can recognise other forms of disadvantage in young people.”

It’s not only staff members taking up the issue. UCT’s Student Representative Council has undertaken a campaign to draw attention to and encourage racial integration on campus. The campaign is aimed at getting young people to question whether or not they are racially integrated, and whether their inter-racial interactions are on a meaningful or a superficial level.

“We decided this year that we wanted to look beyond UCT and speak to broader societal issues,” said Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, SRC president and a third year politics, philosophy and economics major. “We felt young South Africans weren’t thinking about racial integration so it was the first issue we wanted to address.”

The campaign will have an aggressive run in the first two weeks of the academic year, which is just starting, and is centered on specific projects, using UCT media to promote the cause. Students will arrive in February to posters strewn across campus and to artistic constructions relating to racial integration erected in Jameson Plaza, the main social meeting ground for students and hub of campus life. The SRC will also organise screenings pertinent to the issue of race and arrange for diversity workshops for students.

“This campaign is absolutely necessary,” said Mpofu-Walsh, who calls himself black and white, being the product of mixed race parents. “We saw what could happen with the Free State incident, and we didn’t want that to happen at UCT.”

South African tertiary institutions face a particularly tough challenge in recreating their identity in a post-racial sphere. There are very few universities worldwide that have come out of an unequal and divided past, leaving institutions here without a model to serve as a guide.

But for Soudien, thinking of transformation issues presents educators with a valuable opportunity. “We have the chance to imagine this university in a new space and time,” he said. “It’s exciting and so stimulating. It’s a privilege to be a part of the process.”



2009 global top business school ranking

More than 300 deans from around the world voted Harvard the best in the 2009 Eduniversal global top 1,000 business school rankings, announced at the French company’s convention in Cape Town last week. London Business School earned the second highest vote and Copenhagen Business School came third. Next year Eduniversal will launch a global ranking of masters programmes.

The Eduniversal business school ranking is organised into nine regions. The idea, said CEO and founder Martial Guiette, is to improve the international comparability of business schools and to enable students to also find out which are the strongest in their country and region.

The ranking uses a range of criteria – such as peer voting, country quotas and factors, accreditation and performance in other rankings – which Guiette argued makes it more comprehensive and globally representative than existing rankings that “have focused on certain geographic zones or have privileged certain categories of criteria”.

The top three business schools in the nine regions were named at a gala dinner in Cape Town on Monday, attended by some 100 people from around the world. The list of the top regional schools, the strongest 100 schools globally and the top 1,000 will be published in University World News next Friday, once all the information is available.

The top-scoring schools in each of the nine regions were:

* Africa: University of Cape Town, Graduate School of Business, South Africa.
* Central Asia: Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, India.
* Eastern Europe: University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic.
* Eurasia and the Middle East: Tel Aviv University, Leon Recanati Graduate School of Business, Israel.
* Far East Asia: National University of Singapore, NUS Business School, Singapore.
* Latin America: ITESM – Egade Monterrey, Mexico.
* North America: Harvard Business School, United States
* Oceania: University of Auckland Business School, New Zealand.
* Western Europe: London Business School, United Kingdom.

Globally, the very top ranks are dominated by the United States and, especially, Europe. The 10 top-scoring business schools in the deans vote were:

1- Harvard Business School, US.
2- London Business School, UK.
3- Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.
4- MIT – Sloan School of Management, US.
5- McGill University – Desaultes Faculty of Management, Canada.
6- Erasmus University – Rotterdam School of Management, the Netherlands.
7- INSEAD Europe Campus, France.
8- ESADE Business School, Spain.
8- HSE – Helsinki School of Economics, Finland.
10- Stanford University Graduate School of Business, US.

Eduniversal expressed delight at rising institutional and international participation in its ranking. This year 308 schools in 88 countries voted – 31% of the top 1,000 – though 25 countries provided two-thirds of all the votes.

Business schools in the two countries of North America – the US and Canada – voted, giving the region 100% participation. The next highest representation was in Latin America, where 89% of countries voted, followed by Western Europe (82%), Eastern Europe (70%) and Far Asia (67%). In Africa, only 25% of countries voted.

Eduniversal also looked at the percentage of institutions in its top 1,000 that voted in each region. Half of all the schools in Eastern Europe voted – the highest proportion – followed by 44% in Latin America, 40% in Western Europe, a third in Africa and just over 20% each in Far Asia, Oceania and the Middle East. Participation in Central Asia was 18% and it was only 15% in North America, which has 180 schools in the top 1,000.

Eduniversal’s top 1,000 business schools list is decided by a scientific committee comprised of one member from each of the regions and two senior members of Eduniversal and its parent company, the French rankings firm SMBG.

A global mapping system is used, based on criteria of ‘universality’ and international reputation. A quota system decides how many schools from each country and region are represented on the list, using quantitative criteria (such as national per capita spending on education, GDP, size of population and number of students in higher education – and qualititative criteria such as the educational environment.

Business schools are ranked using a ‘palms’ system that takes into account international criteria – such as a school’s performance in other rankings, accreditations, participation in academic associations, international networks and research reputation. The dean of each school in the top 1,000 list is invited to recommend other academic institutions.

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