Sub-Saharan Africa University Rankings 2024: changes to our methodology

New measures on ethical leadership and African heritage will help address challenges faced by universities in sub-Saharan Africa

November 22, 2023
African women singing dancing in Cape Town
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A vital feature of our inaugural Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) University Rankings is that it is a bespoke framework developed specifically for Africa, in a project led by Africa. The methodology was developed by Times Higher Education’s data team in consultation with university leaders across sub-Saharan Africa, in a project initiated by a consortium of African and international higher education organisations and companies.

Since we published the first edition in June, we have created a SSA University Rankings advisory board, with 11 members from across the SSA region and beyond, to help us shape the league table to better achieve its set objectives. These include exploring the impact of universities in addressing some of the toughest challenges faced in the region, drawing inspiration from Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the United Nations’ global Sustainable Development Goals.

We understand that any inaugural ranking we produce will change over time, and the valuable feedback we have received from universities, the broader public and, most of all, the advisory board has helped us improve the ranking methodology for the next cycle.

We have now completed the methodology review process and these are the changes we will be making ahead of the second edition of the SSA University Rankings, which is due to be published in autumn 2024.

Ethical leadership

This is a new pillar developed to address the need for ethical leadership in the SSA region. The question is: what can universities do? This was a topic of deliberation for our board and data team. Two new leadership and ethics metrics within this pillar will measure the contribution of universities in providing students with a platform to develop leadership and ethical skills and values.

African heritage

Another important metric we have added to the Africa impact pillar this year is a measure of how much a university helps its students value their African heritage, either by recording or preserving African cultural heritage or referencing African achievements in their curriculum. This will ensure that students develop a sense of pride in being African.

To accommodate these new metrics, a few changes have been made to the overall structure of the methodology. A number of indicators have been combined to form single metrics and some metrics and pillars have been renamed. Details of these changes will be published next year in the Sub-Saharan African University Rankings 2024 methodology. We are confident that these changes will make the ranking more robust and better aligned to meet its set objectives.

We would like to thank everyone who has provided feedback on the 2023 methodology, including the members of the SSA University Rankings advisory board, and we look forward to a successful launch of the 2024 ranking.

Binta Hussaini is a data scientist at Times Higher Education.

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