THE launches new Africa-focused ranking partnership

Sub-Saharan Africa Rankings to assess universities on metrics including access, fairness and regional impact

April 3, 2023
Runners start line
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Times Higher Education has launched a new ranking for universities in sub-Saharan Africa intended to capture the diversity and impact of education across the region.

Created in partnership with Mastercard Foundation, the Sub-Saharan Africa University Rankings assesses universities based on five pillars: resources and finances, access and fairness, teaching skills, student engagement, and Africa impact.

The initiative comes amid a marked increase in participation by African universities in THE’World University Ranking, according to the organisations chief global affairs officer Phil Baty.

“Africa has more than tripled its participation in the past five years and is enjoying the fastest progress of all the continents on key rankings metrics,” he said.

Recent analysis shows that the average overall scores for African institutions have improved rapidly, with the continent’s universities increasing their scores at a higher rate than the global average.

Mr Baty hoped that the Sub-Saharan Africa University Rankings – developed by a consortium of African and international higher education organisations and Ghana-based Ashesi University in conjunction with THE’s data team – would help empower regional universities to “compete more equally on the world stage”, giving a closer, more context-based analysis of the how these institutions are performing.

“We know that the traditional world rankings, which focus on an elite and usually wealthy group of global research powerhouse universities, will never reflect the full depth and diversity of higher education across Africa and cannot focus on the specific university missions directly addressing Africa’s own priorities,” he said.

The new rankings are also meant to help African universities identify key areas for improvement. The measures are closely tied to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the African Union’s Agenda 2063.

Uniquely, data collection for the rankings will also include student surveys, meaning the evaluations will also draw on learners’ experience of their universities.

Mr Baty said: “At THE we are delighted to harness our decades of experience to introduce this world-first, bespoke university ranking and performance analysis system developed specifically for Africa, in a project led by Africa, designed to help African universities play their part in realising Africa’s great potential.”

The rankings will be officially launched at the inaugural THE Sub-Saharan Africa Universities Forum, hosted at Ashesi University on Monday 26 June.

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