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10 African Countries With the Most Number of Universities

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This article seeks to enlighten you on the African countries with the most number of Universities. Not only that, but you will also be informed about the development of the African education system and the importance of tertiary education.

Brief History of African Universities

It is being observed that those individuals who are intellectuals, as well as the higher education institutions that foster and harbour them, have significant roles to play in the development of a society. Even so, historical studies of higher education institutions on the African continent remain significantly scarce. While certain exceptions do exist, even these have only a limited focus.

One likely explanation is the fact that the African continent as a whole is simply too large as a unit of analysis. Another is the compartmentalization of researchers by the official languages of the regions to be studied, making any comprehensive analysis beyond boundaries such as Anglophone and Francophone quite tricky. Given this situation, moreover, it is understandable that a few historical works on higher education in Africa that have been written in English are biased toward the former British colonies after colonialism.

Among those works that focused on higher education under British influence, in which Eric Ashby is often referred to as a classic.

More recent works include that of Okunor, which focused on West African countries under strong British and American influence such as Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. A significant additional work on higher education is the Eastern and Southern African Universities Research Programme that was conducted in 1984. Such studies commonly view the colonial era as the beginning of modern higher education in Africa and do not refer to the higher education institutions that existed before colonialism.

It is well known that people who are scholars, as well as the higher education institutions that foster and harbor them, have significant roles to play in the development of a society. Even so, historical studies of higher education institutions on the African continent remain significantly scarce.

While certain exceptions do exist, even these have only a limited focus. One likely explanation is the fact that the African continent as a whole is simply too large as a unit of analysis. Another is the compartmentalization of researchers by the official languages of the regions to be studied, making any comprehensive analysis beyond boundaries such as Anglophone and Francophone quite tricky. Given this situation, moreover, it is understandable that a few historical works on higher education in Africa that have been written in English are biased toward the former British colonies after colonialism.

African Universities Ranking Among Others

There are many different rankings and league tables, and several African universities consistently per population. The University Rankings focuses on four broad areas that they feel are of particular interest to prospective students: research, teaching, employability, and international outlook.

These four key areas are assessed using six indicators, with each given a different percentage weighting. A strong emphasis is placed on

  1. Academic reputation
  2. Faculty/student ratio
  3. Citations per faculty
  4. Employer reputation
  5. International student ratio
  6. International staff ratio

The World University Rankings places a strong emphasis on reputation. The ‘academic reputation’ is assessed through a global survey completed by academics, and the ’employer reputation’ is assessed through a survey of employers worldwide. While the rankings also score research citations, smaller and specialist institutions can be included in this ranking if they have a strong global reputation.

Notably, South Africa has four universities ranked among the top 200 in Africa;however, here are a few African universities that made it under the top 1000 in the world.

S/NUniversityCountryAfrican RankingWorld Ranking
1University of Cape TownSouth Africa1136th
2University of the WitwatersrandSouth Africa2194th
3Stellenbosch UniversitySouth Africa3259th
4Aswan UniversityEgypt4436th
5Covenant  UniversityNigeria5451th 
6University  of  Kwazulu-NatalSouth Africa6472th
7Mansoura UniversityEgypt7493th
8University of IbadanNigeria8524th
9North-West UniversityNigeria9557th
10Suez Canal UniversityEgypt10586th

Top 10 African Countries with the Most Universities

 University education is more than the next level in the learning process; it is a critical component of human development worldwide. It provides not only the high-level skills necessary for every labour market but also the training essential for teachers, doctors, nurses, civil servants, engineers, humanists, entrepreneurs, scientists, social scientists, and a myriad of other personnel. It is these trained individuals who develop the capacity and analytical skills that drive local economies, support civil society, teach children, lead capable governments, and make critical decisions that affect entire societies.

An educated populace is vital in today’s world, with the convergent impacts of globalization, the increasing importance of knowledge as a primary driver of growth, and the information and communication revolution. Knowledge accumulation and application have become significant factors in economic development and are increasingly at the core of a country’s competitive advantage in the global economy.

The combination of increased computing power, diminishing prices of hardware and software, improvement of wireless and satellite technologies, and reduced telecommunication costs have all but removed the space and time barriers to information access and exchange.

S/NCountryNumber Of UniversitiesCountry By Population
1Nigeria152206,139,000
2South  Africa13659,308,123
3Ethiopia134114,963,129
4Democratic Republic of Congo6089,561,456
5Egypt55102,334,567
6Sudan5243,849,234
7Uganda4645,741,567
8Algeria3943,851,786
9Kenya3953,771,234
10Tanzania3359,786,123

These countries simultaneously raised their rates of participation in higher education. Indeed, the countries that benefited most from integration with the world economy achieved the most marked increases in educational levels.

Besides, there is growing evidence that university education, through its role in empowering domestic constituencies, building institutions, and nurturing favourable regulatory frameworks and governance structures, is vital to a country’s efforts. This is to increase social capital and to promote social cohesion, which is proving to be an essential determinant of economic growth and development.

Benefits of Studying in an African University

  • Study and learn in a Different way

Often those studying in Africa will experience an entirely new way of teaching. This can be daunting, but it will also open your mind to new ways of learning.

  • Opportunity to Create unforgettable experiences

Study shows that people are happier and feel more fulfilled when they spend on experience than when they buy new things. When you think of the things that bring you the most joy, they are usually memorable experiences. You will get a lot of that from studying in Africa

  • African Degrees are well respected It

If pursuing a professional career is your goal, international education and experience on the CV will help you stand out. It will also represent you as someone who is up for a challenge. Especially now that African universities are climbing the ranks in world university rankings

  • Opportunity to discover unique ideas and opportunities

Most of the successful businesses in Africa and Asia were set up by people who gained international exposure and education. Econet, Celtel, IrokoTv, Jumia, and more. By studying in Africa, if you are curious, you may stumble on new ways to solve a problem back home.

  • Opportunity to Learn a new language

Studying in a country that speaks a different official language as yours is among the best ways to learn or brush up a new language. Imagine being about to communicate in German, French, or Mandarin. That could come in handy along your career path. Africa is diverse when it comes to languages. All you have to do is pick the ones that interest you the most.

  • Studying in a foreign country is different from tourism

Travel for a holiday is very different from settling in a foreign country for a yearlong study. You will get to experience your place of study for a more extended period and familiarize yourself with local knowledge such as what tourist traps to avoid and how to get the most out of your new city.

  • Opportunity to experience the rich African culture

Yes, food. You just have no idea about the variety of food that exists out there. You will never know until you venture out. You may even discover your new favourite.

  • Opportunity to take advantage of lower tuition fees

This, of course, depends on where you study in Africa. However, if you choose a location in many parts of continental Europe, Asia, and Latin America, you will find it is not possible to study at a highly reputed university without getting into debt.

  • You will meet a diverse range of people

You will experience exposure to many different types of people will not only help you to develop your people skills, but it will also give you a firmer knowledge of others.

  • Enjoy international student discounts

Many famous Universities in Africa destinations offer student discounts for different activities, from transportation, bookstores to movie tickets and museums. You just have to spend wisely.

  • Opportunity to make lifelong friends

You will quickly develop the attitude that we are in this, together with other international students. This can result in lifelong friendships, even with the local students. You may not love every single person you meet, but the chances are that you’ll meet at least one lifelong friend.

  • You will gain a more excellent knowledge of different cultures

As you observe and learn why people from different cultures do things the way they do, your emotional intelligence develops. You will learn to be less judgmental.

  • Opportunity to become spontaneous and adventurous

Being in a foreign environment ignites your adventurous nature. You tend to want to explore your new environment. Open your mind up to new experiences and sights and learn a great deal while having some fun.

  • Opportunity to explore with your spare time

In between lectures and lab sessions, studying Africa should leave you with plenty of time to explore. Whether you are one for visiting iconic landmarks, trying new foods, or bartering at local markets, there is bound to be a better way of spending your time than scrolling through Facebook!

There is a strong call for strengthening universities and research in the new Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016-2025. Its objectives include boosting postgraduate and post-doctoral education and growing competitive awards to nurture young academics, more international research cooperation, and expanding centres of excellence and institutional links.

Tertiary education and research have been given more stress than in previous education statements, reflecting continental realization of their importance to growth and development.

The Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016-2025, or CESA 16-25, is driven by a desire to achieve quality education and training that provides the continent with “efficient human resources adapted to African core values and therefore able to achieve the vision and ambitions of the African Union.”

Strategic Objectives of African Universities

  • Revitalize the teaching profession to ensure quality and relevance at all levels of education.
  • To build, rehabilitate, and support education infrastructure and develop policies that ensure a permanent stress-free and conducive learning environment for all to expand access to quality education at all levels, including informal and non-formal settings.
  • Harness the capacity of ICT to improve access, quality, and management of education and training systems.
  • Ensure acquisition of requisite knowledge and skills as well as improved completion rates in all groups through harmonization processes across all levels for national and regional integration.
  • Accelerate processes leading to gender parity and equity.
  • Launch comprehensive and useful literacy programs across the continent.
  • Strengthen the science and mathematics curricula in youth training and disseminate scientific knowledge and culture in society.
  • Expand technical and vocational opportunities at both secondary and tertiary levels and strengthen linkages between the world of work and education and training systems.
  • Revitalize and expand tertiary education, research, and innovation to address continental challenges and promote global competitiveness.
  • Promote peace education and conflict prevention and resolution at all levels of education and for all age groups.
  • Improve management of education systems and build capacity for data collection, management, analysis, communication, and use.
  • Create a coalition of stakeholders to facilitate and support activities resulting from the implementation of CESA 16-25. Of importance to higher education is the need to train well-qualified teachers and deliver continuous professional development.

Good university programs should integrate entrepreneurship and leadership training in their curriculum, so that they produce graduates who have the soft-skills to play an impactful role in Africa’s economic transformation, and who come out not as job-seekers but as job creators. Eventually, aligning education to the demands of the market requires that we measure how successful universities fuse the lecture hall with the world of work.

Furthermore, the African countries with the most universities span across ten countries, from Uganda in the east to Nigeria in the west, Morocco in the north to South Africa at the southernmost tip of the continent.

In the University rankings, Two of South Africa’s universities feature in the top 200 of the worldwide rankings: the University of Cape Town is Africa’s top university, sitting at joint 136th position, while the University of Witwatersrand occupies the joint 194th spot.

Overall, Egypt and South Africa are the two best represented African countries in the ranking, with 20 and 10 universities each. Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa all have universities in the top 500 of the global ranking. Finally, the ranking rates university performance using 13 different indicators; Some of which are measuring teaching, research, research impact, innovation, and international outlook.

In summary, variety is the spice of life. Why not take that bold step towards gaining admission to study in Africa. YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!

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