The University of Cape Town (UCT) has been placed in the top 101–200 band of the 2021 Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, which – unlike other such international rankings – aims to assess the impact of higher education institutions against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In the rankings for individual SDGs, UCT placed in the top 100 for three critical areas: reduction of poverty, gender equality and reduced inequalities.
“These rankings represent an important step forward in the way we assess universities’ performance and, more importantly, their contribution to a better world for all,” said UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng.
“At UCT we want to be an excellent institution not simply for the sake of it but to advance society, engage with key challenges and make a difference – and our values recognise this.”
UCT’s values, which include enhancing the lives of individuals and communities and advancing the public good, emphasise the need for the university’s work to contribute to bettering society beyond the institution.
The THE Impact Rankings offer a way to gauge this on the international stage via the widely adopted SDGs – an integrated framework for ensuring that global development balances social, economic and environmental sustainability.
This is the first year that UCT has participated in the Impact Rankings, with the university submitting information for six SDGs, three of which ranked among the top 100 globally. These top performers all lie in mission-led focus areas of the institution: reduction of poverty, gender equality and reduced inequalities.
The positions for all the SDG rankings that UCT participated in were as follows:
A university’s overall score – and thus rank – is determined by its combined performance in its top three SDGs (each counting 26%) and SDG 17 (counting 22%). UCT was placed in the 101–200 band in the global ranking.
The 17 United Nations SDGs, adopted in 2015 and on which this ranking system is based, together outline a way towards peace and prosperity for people and the planet. They call for action by all countries in a global partnership.
To assess a university’s success in delivering the SDGs, THE looks at indicators across four broad areas: research, stewardship, outreach and teaching. Universities that provide data on SDG 17 and at least three other SDGs are included in the overall ranking.
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