Covenant University, a faith-based private institution has emerged the best university in Nigeria and by extension one of the 10 best on the African continent.
In achieving this feat, the university owned by the Living Faith Church (otherwise known as Winners Chapel) dusted government-owned competitors including the University of Ibadan (UI), and the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
This is as it is ranked 7th best university in Africa in Times Higher Education’s (THE) inaugural sub-Saharan Africa University Rankings for 2023.
According to the ranking, the University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa, was named the best university on the continent.
The public institution, more commonly known as Wits University, it was gathered, celebrated its centenary last year and has Nelson Mandela amongst its alumni and now becomes the first university to top THE’s innovative new ranking.
The second highest-ranked university is the University of Johannesburg also in South Africa and the third place is Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, in Tanzania.
Four of the top 10 universities are from South Africa and two are from Tanzania. Covenant University is the only university in Nigeria ranked in the top 10.
The pioneering new ranking highlights the strongest universities in sub-Saharan Africa across a comprehensive range of performance indicators covering five pillars: ‘access and fairness’, ‘Africa impact’, ‘teaching skills’, ‘student engagement’ and ‘resources and finance’.
The sub-Saharan Africa University Rankings, produced in partnership with Mastercard Foundation, rank 88 universities from 17 countries in the region.
Nigeria has the most universities in the ranking with 37, followed by South Africa with nine, Ghana and Kenya have seven each and Somalia and Uganda have five each.
The ranking provides a rich source of data on the differences between public and private universities. Of the 88 ranked universities, 59 (67%) are public, 21 (24%) are private not-for-profit and eight are private for-profit (9%) and seven of the top 10 universities are public.
Public universities received an average overall score in the rankings of 50 and charged students a median of £966 per year. By comparison, private institutions scored an average of 43, with not-for-profits charging £1,922 and for-profits charging £3,291 annually.
Public providers scored higher, on average, across four of the five pillars: access and fairness; Africa impact, resources and finance and student engagement. Private universities generally perform better in teaching and employability skills.
Public universities tend to have considerably more students than private ones averaging more than 18,000 students compared with an average of about 3,500 for private universities and public universities are, on average, almost twice as old (28 years) as private universities (18 years).
A key component of the ranking is a unique student survey accounting for their experiences, which shows students in private universities are generally more satisfied with their experience compared with their public counterparts when judging the facilities, their Interaction with peers and the faculty, employability, course quality and teaching engagement.