Since the launch of the rankings in 2003, no Moroccan university has ever made it to the top 1,000 worldwide.
ARWU’s criteria include the quality of education, the quality of faculty, research output, and per capita academic performance.
In Africa, 15 different universities appeared on the ranking, including nine in South Africa, five in Egypt, and one in Ethiopia. The highest ranked universities on the continent are the University of Cape Town and the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa, ranked 201-300 globally.
In the Arab world, five universities appeared in the global top 1,000, in addition to the Egyptian universities. The institutions include four in Saudi Arabia and one in Qatar.
The three highest ranked institutions in the Arab world are all located in Saudi Arabia, with King Abdulaziz University ranking 101-150, followed by King Saud University (151-200), and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (201-300).
On the global ranking, Harvard University appears in first position for the 18th year in a row. Seven other American universities appear in the top 10, including Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of California, Berkeley.
British universities complete the top 10 list, with the University of Cambridge in the third rank and the University of Oxford in the ninth.
The US is the most represented country in the ARWU, with American universities making up over one fifth of the list (206 universities). China comes second with 168 universities, followed by the UK (65 universities), Germany (49), Italy (46), and Spain (40).
ShanghaiRanking is an independent organization that focuses on research on higher education. It has been publishing the ARWU every year since 2009.
Necessary reform of Moroccan universities
In September 2019, the Times Higher Education magazine included four Moroccan universities in its World University Rankings 2020. However, none of them made it to the top 500 on the 1,400-institution list.
Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University in Fez ranked first on the national level. Internationally, however, the university ranked in the 601-800 section.
Meanwhile, the universities of Hassan II in Casablanca, Cadi Ayyad in Marrakech, and Mohammed V in Rabat did not reach the top 1,000.
The rankings are illustrative of Morocco’s educational system, which has been lacking in many facets for several decades. However, the Ministry of Education is planning a structural university reform, notably through switching from the Licence, Master, Doctorat (LMD) system to the Bachelor’s system starting September 2020. It remains to be seen whether the reform will yield its expected results or will offer superficial change.