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9 June 2020
UWC Honoured (Again) For Teaching & Research Excellence: CWUR World University Rankings 2020/2021

(Published - 9 June 2020)

When the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) looked at global higher education to compile its 2020/2021 CWUR Rankings, one institution was sure to find its name listed among the world’s premier teaching and research institutions: the University of the Western Cape.

“This recognition is a great honour – but perhaps not a surprising one,” said Professor Vivienne Lawack, UWC’s Acting Rector and Vice-Chancellor. “The University produces world-class research into matters big and small, from anthropology to astrophysics, from xenophobia to zoology. At the same time, we try to empower students with the knowledge, skills and mindset necessary to rise to meet the challenges we face as a country and a society.”

CWUR independently grades 20 000 universities on seven factors: quality of teaching, alumni employment, quality of faculty, research output, quality publications, influence, and citations. Only 2 000 are deemed worthy of recognition among the world’s premier institutions.

This year, the University of the Western Cape ranks 8th in South Africa, and 1158th in the world - putting the institution in the top 5.8% worldwide. The University was also ranked 1097th for research performance.

The recognition comes as universities around the world strive to employ innovative thinking to address the challenges of COVID-19 - and UWC is no exception.


“In this challenging period, UWC scientists have helped decode the genome of COVID-19 and helped to find answers to the virus’ mysteries,” said Prof Lawack. “Our researchers have examined the impact of the pandemic and the lockdown on South African society, from big business to spaza shops. And our academics have worked to keep the public informed of the latest developments in the battle against Covid-19, and what they mean for all of us.”

It’s not just about the quality of the research the University produces - it’s about performing work (and empowering graduates) to make a difference.

“Universities are teaching and research institutions and at UWC we also emphasize our role as a learning institution,” said Prof Lawack. “We are a work in progress, and we have to continually reinvent ourselves to be able to better serve our changing communities. And that’s never been more important than it is now.” 

“As a historically disadvantaged institution, the University of the Western Cape has come a long way. From a ‘bush college’, we have grown into an intellectual home of the left, an integral partner in building a democratic South Africa, and now, a leading institution dedicated to tackling the challenges of the 21st century.”


As UWC celebrates its 60th anniversary, the University has been repeatedly recognised as one of the world’s premier higher education institutions – not only in the CWUR rankings, but also: 

“It is always an honour for the University to receive recognition for our achievements,” says Prof Lawack. “They remind us of how far we’ve come, and what we have done to change the lives of our students and our communities, and our understanding of the world around us. But we must always remember our motto: Respice, prospice. We celebrate the past, and we look to the future – as we remain a place to grow, from hope to action through knowledge.”

Want to know more about the CWUR 2020/2021 World University Rankings? Looking for more interesting UWC facts? Just join our UWC 60th virtual anniversary celebrations and read all about our journey from hope to excellence - and how we’re forging ahead as a university of the future.