The University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) has been ranked among top universities in sub-Saharan Africa in pioneering new global ranking that assesses the social and economic impact of universities based on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings is the world’s first global attempt to document evidence of universities’ impact on society, rather than just research and teaching performance.
Metrics include universities’ policies on academic freedom, their use of secure employment contracts and their share of senior female academic staff and are based on 11 of the 17 UN SDGs.
The results of the first edition reveal a new hierarchy of diverse global institutions compared with research-focused rankings, with New Zealand’s Auckland and two Canadian institutions – McMaster University and the University of British Columbia – forming the overall top three.
Three Ghanaian universities were ranked in joint-3rd positions in the sub-Sahara region. The three: UPSA, University of Ghana and Ashesi University all completed in 301+ placement.
Other universities in sub-Saharan Africa are University of Western Cape (South Africa), University of Ibadan (Nigeria) and Covenant University (Nigeria) which placed 101–200, 201-300 and 301+ respectively.
The Impact Rankings also places UPSA in the top 15 universities on the entire African continent.
An achievement, the Director of Information Management at UPSA, Dr Edwin Tetteh Ayernor said: “has proven that UPSA is a force to reckon with when it comes to quality education on the African front.”
Although Dr Ayernor believes that the University could have done better in the overall global score, he added that “this outstanding result recognizes the UPSA’s commitment to sustainability, good corporate governance and making a positive social impact through its research, teaching and knowledge transfer.
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice.
The inaugural ranking sought information on 11 SDGs. The University of Professional Studies, Accra focused on four of the SDGs for this first iteration (as highlighted below):
SGD 3: Good Health and Well-being
SDG 4: Quality Education
SDG 5: Gender Equality
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
SDG 12: Responsible Production and Consumption
SDG 13: Climate Action
SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
Chief Knowledge Officer at Times Higher Education, Phil Baty, said that the rankings “offer an alternative view of university excellence” and “develop an unprecedented picture of the extraordinary impact that universities have across a huge range of activities”.