UPDATED RANKING: SA’s 14 universities rated against BRICS – mostly sliding 

by Stuart Lowman

The University of Cape Town has slipped four places to outside the top ten on the QS University Rankings for BRICS. The rankings were published on www.TopUniversities.com and compares the Top 400 institutions in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The Jammie Square, University of Cape Town
The University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town is however the country’s best placed of the eleven universities among the top 200. Eight of those eleven are in the top 100 but seven are in a lower position than last year’s rankings.

Martin Ince, convenor of the QS global academic advisory board said that South Africa was the smallest of the BRICS nations by some distance, and its population of 54 million would add up to a single province in China, home to 1.37 billion people.

The data also shows that South Africa has 5.5 percent of the BRICS’ top 200 universities despite only compromising 1.7 percent of the population of the BRICS nations.

The big losers are the University of the Free State, which has fallen from the 101-110 bracket to 121-130, and the University of Kwazulu-Natal, which is down eight places from 60 to 68.

South African Universities in  QS University Rankings: BRICS
  2015   2014
  14   9 UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN
  28   31 UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND
  34   34 STELLENBOSCH UNIVERSITY
  49   46 UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA
  67   63 UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG
  68   60 UNIVERSITY OF KWAZULU-NATAL
  79   76 RHODES UNIVERSITY
  100   92 UNIVERSITY OF THE WESTERN CAPE
121-130 101-110 UNIVERSITY OF THE FREE STATE
151-200 151-200 NELSON MANDELA METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY
151-200 151-200 NORTH-WEST UNIVERSITY
  201+   201+ UNIVERSITY OF FORT HARE
  201+   201+ UNIVERSITY OF LIMPOPO
  201+   201+ UNIVERSITY OF ZULULAND

Martin Ince added that South Africa has ferocious social and political problems to which there is no overnight solution but it is also a technologically advanced nation, and the richest per capita in Africa.

When comparing the BRICS universities among themselves, the 2015 results confirm that China is strengthening its dominant position while India has seen a rise of more than 50 percent in the number of institutions listed in the top 200 in the latest ranking 31 versus 20.

# of institutions ranked among Top 10 Top 20 Top 50 Top 100 Top 200 Top 400
China 7 9 21 39 67 110
India 1 5 9 15 31 94
Russia 1 2 7 20 53 93
Brazil 1 2 10 18 40 93
South Africa 0 1 4 8 11 14

Martin Ince said that the BRICS nations share a desire to grow in economic and political importance without copying the Western model of development. This ranking exists to see how this ambition is being reflected in their university systems.