Several Egyptian universities shine in global rankings

A total of 14% of Egypt’s 63 universities were considered for inclusion in the global academic rankings, according to the 11th edition of the QS World University Rankings by Subject released on 4 March.

Egypt has 27 public, 32 private and four community universities. Of these, seven public and two private institutions were considered. Four are among the 11 African universities included in the top 1,000 universities globally.

Approximately 5,500 were evaluated according to six metrics: academic reputation, employer reputation, faculty student ratio, publication citations per faculty, international faculty ratio and international student ratio.

The four universities include the American University in Cairo (AUC), that emerged as one of the top study destinations in Africa after ranking number 411 in the world; Cairo University (CU), placed in category 561-570, which means it ranks among the 1,000 best universities globally; and Ain Shams University and Alexandria University, which were well placed in the category of 801-1,000.

Five Egyptian universities – Al Azhar University, Assiut University, Helwan University, German University in Cairo and Mansoura University – were among the 11 African universities placed in category 1,001+, meaning they were ranked just outside the range of the best 1,000 universities.

When it comes to graduate employability, AUC was among the best five universities in Africa.

According to universities ranking based on subjects, AUC ranks in the top 200 for arts and humanities, accounting and finance, architecture and modern languages.

CU ranks in the top 200 for engineering and technology, architecture, computer science and information technology, as well as modern languages.

The Egyptian universities’ progress in QS ranking is in line with 2020 Global Knowledge Index (GKI) that measures knowledge performance of 138 countries worldwide using seven main sectorial indices, including higher education and research and development and innovation.

Higher education system adds to performance

In the higher education sector, Egypt moved up seven spots from 2019 to rank 42nd in 2020. In research, development and innovation, Egypt ranked 74th in 2020, up nine places from 2019.

Professor Hamed Ead, director of the Science Heritage Centre at CU, told University World News that the progress Egyptian universities are making “is the outcome of the current improvement of the Egyptian higher education system as a whole and the fruits of [the] hard work of the ministry of higher education and scientific research, that is already implementing a strategy in that direction”.

Echoing Ead’s views, a higher education reform and quality assurance expert, Professor Mostafa Mohsen Radwan, the former vice dean of the faculty of engineering at Fayoum University in Egypt, pointed out that the rate of improvement in rankings would be higher in old, well-established universities that have the resources and qualified professors in abundance.

Professor Ahmed El-Gohary, president of the Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology, told University World News: “Actually, both the national higher education system and the individual universities are working hard to move forward.”

He said: “Egyptian universities are considering the global academic ranking explicitly from the academic point of view. It does not have a serious impact on the Egyptian community as students and their families are not counting the global ranking to join public universities. Other factors and local considerations or limitations are more serious and important.”

Social responsibility important

To continue to improve in global academic ranking, Egyptian universities should work on improving the quality of both education and scientific research as well as providing reasonable cultural education along with attracting foreign student researchers, Ead said.

Radwan said: “Governmental universities which, by constitution, are providing free education, are largely suffering from a shortage of resources to match the large number of students joining them. They should seek more sources of income besides the limited budget allocated by government.”

He added that private universities that have no budget problems should give more attention to scientific research and publications to improve their ranking.

“In all cases, we should not forget the very important societal responsibilities of universities and their role in community development, which sometimes is not well recognised in university ranking systems,” he said.