The University of the Witwatersrand moved up the QS World University Rankings 2012/2013 by a record 36 places this year, from position 399 to 363, making it one of only three universities in Africa, and the only University in Gauteng, to be ranked in the top 400 in two separate international rankings. Wits has been ranked from amongst approximately 23,500 universities worldwide.
Wits is followed by the University of Stellenbosch, placed between 401 and 450 and the University of Pretoria ranked between 501 and 550.
(Correction: The University of Cape Town is ranked 154th in the world, making it Africa's very best university.)
"This is indeed a great feat which has been accomplished in a short space of time, due to the commitment of our support staff, academics, researchers and management," says Nhlanhla Cele, Director of Strategic Planning at Wits. "The world rankings are a proxy for excellence in teaching, research and social engagement, and it is one step further for Wits in our quest to attain our vision - to be placed in the top 100 by 2022, our centenary year."
Countries like China, US, Australia, UK, and others have recognised the importance of rankings, and have made an investment in high level research and education a priority.
"We need to do the same in South Africa if we are to compete in the global arena. South African institutions have to focus on global competitiveness, local transformation and skills development, high level research and top end graduateness," adds Cele. "Competition to remain in the top league is intensifying year on year, as universities clamour to be ranked with the best in the world. This makes Wits' rise by 36 places in the QS Rankings a formidable achievement."
"Rankings matter because they undeniably create a perception about a University. For example, when top students, academics and researchers are looking worldwide as to where they would most like to study or work, they use the leading ranking systems as a key point of reference," he concludes.
The QS World University Rankings 2012/2013 were published on Tuesday, 11 September 2012. For more information visit www.topuniversities.com.