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Three not-so-young SA universities sneak onto ‘risers’ ranking

Three South African universities have managed to land places in the QS rankings for young and emerging universities, despite all being technically old institutions.

The 2017 QS ‘Top 50 under 50’ rankings lists the world’s top universities established no more than five decades ago.

Three African universities, all from South Africa, managed to make the list which actually extends to 150 universities. The University of Johannesburg was ranked in the 91-100 band, while the universities of KwaZulu-Natal and North-West both made the 101-150 band.

While the trio were all established recently, they are mergers of former universities, almost all of which were established over 50 years ago. On paper, UJ, established in 2005, is one of the youngest universities on the whole QS. But only one of its constituent campuses is less than 50 years old.

The same can be said for NWU and UKZN, which were established by merging existing institutions in 2004. NWU is arguably the oldest of the three South African institutions in the list: the largest of its constituent colleges was established in 1869.

The ranking uses the same methodology as the QS rankings with the caveat that universities must meet the age requirement. However, as evidenced by the South African entrants, mergers of older universities are allowed.

“Institutions formed within the last 50 years through a merger, or which previously existed under a different name and/or status, may also be included,” the methodology states.

The top spot on the list went to Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, another institution created by merger.