In the latest release of the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings by subject for 2024, the academic prowess of African universities takes centre stage, with 112 institutions from 17 countries making their mark across 11 selected disciplines. Notably, Egypt emerges as the standout nation in these rankings, boasting an impressive 29 universities in the top echelons. Algeria closely follows with 23 institutions, and Nigeria secures the third position with 14 universities. South Africa, long regarded as a higher education powerhouse in Africa, is represented by a commendable 12 universities. Meanwhile, Morocco and Tunisia contribute 11 and eight universities, respectively.
A discernible trend in these rankings is the ascendance of North African universities. Despite South Africa's historical dominance in African higher education, institutions in North Africa are making significant strides across various academic disciplines. This signifies a more diversified and dynamic academic landscape on the continent.
In the field of engineering, African universities assert their impact, with 55 institutions securing positions among the top 1,000 globally. Egypt takes the lead in this category with 24 universities, followed by South Africa with nine. Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, Algeria, Ghana, and Botswana also see their institutions prominently featured.
For clinical and health subjects, the University of Cape Town (UCT) emerges as the leading African institution, securing the 81st position globally. Other African universities in this category include the University of the Witwatersrand, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban University of Technology, Makerere University, Nigeria's University of Ibadan, and the University of Lagos.
In the arts and humanities category, South African universities dominate, with 10 out of 13 African institutions hailing from the country. Sub-Saharan African universities claim eight out of the top 10 spots in business and economics, with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) taking the lead.
The field of computer science sees representation from universities in Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, and Tunisia, with Cairo University leading the pack.
In education, South Africa once again takes the lead, with 11 out of the 18 ranked universities, and UCT securing the top position. UCT also emerged as the leader in life sciences. While South African universities dominate the social sciences category, UCT stands out prominently. However, the representation of African universities in psychology is relatively modest, with few making the cut outside of South Africa.
These rankings underscore the diversification of strengths among African universities, expanding their footprint on the global academic stage, and challenging the traditional dominance of institutions from more established regions. This shift signals the growing prominence of African institutions across various academic disciplines, paving the way for increased recognition and collaboration on the international stage.
Article by Nyokabi Waniku