The 2020/21 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings Report has placed the University of Botswana at the top, cementing its national standing as Botswana’s premier institution of higher learning.
According to the report, University of Botswana is ranked number one in Botswana, giving it a premier national standing. In Africa the University of Botswana is ranked 27th while globally it is ranked 1068. Placing 27 in Africa means the University of Botswana is among the Top 30 highly recognized and competitive universities in the continent as per the 2021 Times Higher Education ranked African universities.
Among the universities that submitted their data for ranking in southern, central and eastern Africa were University of Cape Town, University of Witwatersrand, Stellenbosch University, University of KwaZulu Natal and Durban University of Technology. Others were Makerere University, North West University, University of Johannesburg, University of Nairobi, University of Pretoria, University of the Western Cape, University of South Africa and Tshwane University of Technology. All these were ranked among the Top 30 Universities in Africa.
The ranking was based on two sources of data. The first was institutional data provided directly by the university through the Department of Institutional Planning. The second data source was the bibliometric analysis of the university publications sources by the Times Higher Education partner Elsevier from the Scopus data base. The third source was an Academic Reputation Survey sent to academic colleagues which measures the perceived reputation of each university in terms of teaching and research.
However, given it was the first year UB participated, the survey was not administered but will be undertaken for subsequent evaluations. There are three widely observed and recognized international rankings of universities which are deemed to be objective and valid. These are Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings and the Academic Ranking of World Universities (Shanghai Ranking).
There are additional global rankings with the most popular one being Ranking Web or Webometrics which provides rankings of several thousands of higher education institutions across the globe based on web presence and web impact.
While university rankings and league tables are frequently controversial, there is no common set of metrics of performance indicators used by various compilers of university league tables, nonetheless they are increasingly important as a reflection of the university’s national, regional and international standing and competitiveness.
With the University of Botswana’s previous Vision of becoming a distinctive centre of academic excellence in Botswana, Africa and globally, and with the increasing competition for students and resources, it has become imperative for the University of Botswana to maintain its number one spot in Botswana besides aiming to be in the Top 10 in Africa and Top 500 globally. Its new Vision is Creating a Future for the Knowledge Generation which aligns with Botswana development agenda of creating a knowledge-based society and economy.