National 17.8.2016 07:15 am

Wits now ranked as top university in Africa

The Wits University Great Hall. Image courtesy www.wits.ac.za

The Wits University Great Hall. Image courtesy www.wits.ac.za

Wits has taken the top position in Africa, and is also placed in the top 200 in the world in the field of Social Sciences in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

The University of the Witswatersrand (Wits) has been ranked as one of the best universities in the world, placing it among the top 1% of all higher education institutions across the globe.

Ranked by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (Arwu), also known as the Shanghai rankings, Wits has taken the top position in Africa, and is also placed in the top 200 in the world in the field of Social Sciences. The latest rankings were released on Monday.

“At Wits, our research output has increased substantially in the past few years – noting though that this achievement is a culmination of work done over many years by our researchers. We are truly appreciative of this recognition,” Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, deputy vice-chancellor: research at Wits, said.

“We are particularly appreciative of our researchers, scientists, students and alumni to whom these accolades really belong.”

Arwu presents the world’s top 500 universities annually based on a set of objective indicators and third-party data.

Ranking is determined by looking at six objectives, including the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, the number of highly-cited researchers, the number of articles published in journals of nature and science, the number of articles indexed in the Science Citation Index and per capita performance.

Rankings, however, do not solely determine the quality of education at universities, Vilakazi said. “Rather, our focus should be on building a nationally responsive and globally competitive institution.”

The Universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch and KwaZulu-Natal have also been ranked among the top 500 universities in the world in the Shanghai rankings, clearly demonstrating the strength of the country’s higher education system, Vilakazi said.

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