The University of Cape Town (UCT) remains the best university in Africa and has been ranked in the top 1.3% of universities in the world by the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR).

Released on 13 May, the CWUR placed UCT at 271st position in their 2024 Global 2000 list. Of the 20 966 institutions assessed, only the top 2 000 received a ranking, placing UCT in the top 1,3% of universities globally. CWUR publishes the largest academic rankings of global universities.

“Our performance in this ranking reflects our commitment to and investment in delivering exceptional teaching and learning, and driving research with social responsiveness,” says Emeritus Professor Daya Reddy, vice-chancellor interim at UCT.

CWUR uses indicators grouped into four key pillars: education, employability, faculty, and research. UCT’s highest ranked indicator remained quality of education, which at 175th position, was up seven places from last year. The alumni employment indicator performed well at 218th place and continued its climb, moving up six places compared to last year, an improvement of 13 places from the previous year.

“This ranking is also a testament to the great efforts of our academic staff, whose dedication ensures the seamless operation of our teaching and learning activities. While we acknowledge that the indicators used in rankings do not reflect the intricacies of the collective work of our university community, we are proud of the excellence of our researchers who ensure that we remain at the forefront of cutting-edge discoveries and innovation, and who carry that excellence through into their teaching,” adds Emeritus Professor Reddy.

While UCT’s ranking has dropped a handful of places, the university’s actual performance has increased. This is because a ranking is relative to the performance of other universities, some of whom have improved even more than UCT’s.

CWUR’s methodology remains unchanged from last year. This ranking uses seven indicators grouped into the four areas mentioned above:

* Education, measured by the number of a university’s alumni who have earned significant academic achievements, relative to its size (25%).

* Employability, measured by the number of its alumni who have held top executive positions in the largest global companies, relative to the size of the university (25%).

* Faculty, measured by the number of faculty members who have received top academic distinctions (10%).

The research component, which counts for 40%, includes the following criteria:

* Research output, measured by the total number of research articles (10%).

* High-quality publications, measured by the number of research articles appearing in top-tier journals (10%).

* Influence, measured by the number of research articles published in highly- influential journals (10%).

* Citations, measured by the number of highly cited research articles (10%).