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SA slips in world rankings

Karen MacGregor

South African universities get pushed down by developing countries' universities.

Two African universities have slipped from the top 500 identified by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, leaving only three—the universities of Cape Town, the Witwatersrand and KwaZulu-Natal—in the elite global list for 2008. South Africa follows Ireland into 25th place in terms of percentage distribution of top universities by country, ahead of Greece, Hungary, Poland and Portugal as well as India.

The list is compiled by the Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai Jaio Tong University for the government of China. The University of Pretoria—previously ranked in the 400 to 500 category, has disappeared—probably pushed out by the rise of universities in China.

With three of 23 public universities in the Top 500, South Africa has 13% of its institutions represented, and together the three institutions enrol about 85 000 students.

The University of Cape Town is ranked half way down the Top 500, in the 200 to 300 category. In the same group are the universities of Bologna in Italy, Bordeaux 1 in France, Calgary in Canada, Computense in Portugal, Dusseldorf in Germany and Dundee in the United Kingdom.

The University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, was placed in the top 300 to 400 universities—the same category as the universities of Ulm in Germany, Valencia in Spain, Warsaw in Poland, Wollongon in Australia, Vrije University in Brussels and Waseda in Japan.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal held its position in the top 400 to 500 in the same group as universities such as Jyvaskyla and Kuopio in Finland, the Kansas Medical Center in the United States, Lille 1 in France, Lisbon and Slovenia’s Ljubljani University.—University World News

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