in ,

Top 10 Oldest Universities In Africa – Guess How Old Is The Least Among Them Now?…

Even though Africa is struggling economically and even in education matters, the continent has some of the oldest learning institutions of which some of them are the oldest universities in Africa and also in the world.  Universities in Africa do date far back in years.

The list below ranks from the oldest to the newest institution of higher learning built on the African continent.  Some of the institutions which are the oldest Universities in Africa were built centuries of years ago.

List of Africans oldest universities

  1. The University of Al- Qarawiyyin-859AD
  2. The Al- Azhar University-970AD
  3. The Fourah Bay College- University of Sierra Leone-1827
  4. The University of Cape Town-1829
  5. The Stellenbosch University-1866
  6. The Cairo University-1908
  7. The University of Algiers-1909
  8. The Makerere University-1922
  9. The University of Ibadan-1948
  10. The University of Ghana-1948

Read on to know a little about each of the institutions mentioned above.



The oldest university of the 13 institutions of higher learning in the country is the University of Ghana.   It started as the University College of the Gold Coast in 1948.  In 1961, it was awarded full university status and currently hosts more than 40,000 students.  The University is a former affiliate college of the University of London.

The school’s stated mission is to make an empowering environment that makes the University of Ghana is relevant to national and global development through cutting-edge research and high-quality lecturing and learning.


The University of Ibadan is Nigeria’s most prestigious and one of Africans oldest universities with a high student population.  It was officially established in 1948.  The institution boasts residential and sports amenities for staff and students on campus complete with separate botanical and zoological gardens. It is the first Nigerian university to make the top 1000 in Times Higher Education rankings in 2016. Its management envisions the UI becoming on of the top 100 universities in the world.


It is Uganda’s largest and oldest institution of higher learning.  It began as a technical school in 1922 where students were taught carpentry, mechanics, and building.

It grew quickly in size and expanded into medical care, veterinary sciences, agriculture and teacher training courses. Today, Makerere University offers programs to students from the continent and globally.


Well renowned as Algeria’s first university and Africans oldest universities. The University of Algiers started as a group of 4 schools due to a Law in 1909. The university currently tutors more than 100,000 students in law, medicine, and Islamic sciences.

It is called the Mother university because it is the country’s first university and located in Algiers. It currently has six faculties: Law, Medicine, Social Sciences, Religious Studies, Letters and languages, Economic Sciences & Management.


The Cairo University in Egypt was established in 1908. Previously it was “Egyptian University” and changed to” Fuad University.” It is in Giza, Egypt. Several constituent colleges preceded the establishment of the university including the College of Engineering


Its student population is about 280,000 students and has 18 faculties. Among its alumni are three Nobel Laureates and is one of the 50 largest institutions of higher education in the world by enrollment.



The university’s origin can be taken back to the Stellenbosch Gymnasium, which opened in 1866.  It became the Stellenbosch College in 1881. In April 1918, it was awarded university status and became Stellenbosch University. Scientists at the institution carried out the first successful penis transplantation in 2014.

Its student population stands at 30,000.  The premier MA degree was finished in 1878, and in the same year, the Gymnasium’s first female students were enrolled.


The University of Cape Town located in Cape Town, South Africa is the fourth oldest and undoubtedly Africa’s leading teaching and research institutions and one of Africans oldest universities. It started in 1829 as the South African College which was a boy’s high school’. Due to increased funding from private entities and the government, the College became a fully fledged university during the period 1880 to 1900.  It is the highest-ranked educational institution in African according to the QS World University Rankings. Currently, it admits approximately 27,000 students.


Fourah Bay College also referred to as the University of Sierra Leone was established by the Church Missionary Society in 1827.  It started as an Anglican missionary school to train Africans as schoolmasters, clergymen, and catechists. In 1876, the CMS succeeded in getting the College affiliated with Durham University. It is the oldest and premier western-style university in West Africa. It is located atop Mount Aureol in Freetown, Sierra Leone.  The school boasts 5 Faculties.



Al-Azhar University is Egypt’s oldest university and started as a Madrasa in 970-972 AD as a Madrasa. Located in Cairo, Egypt. It is Sunni Islam’s most prestigious university since it is the principal center of Arabic literature and Sunni Islamic learning in the world. It achieved modern university status in 1961 when non-Islamic courses were added to its curriculum. Currently, more than 90,000 students are enrolled there. Its library is the second most famous library in Egypt and is also the second oldest degree-granting university in after the Cairo University.

It achieved modern university status in 1961 when non-Islamic courses were added to its curriculum. Currently, more than 90,000 students are enrolled there. Its library is the second most famous library in Egypt and is also the second oldest degree-granting university in after the Cairo University.


The University of Al-Karaouine or Al-Qarawiyyin is located in Fes, Morocco. It was founded in 859 AD and is one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world.  It is considered the oldest continuously operating institution of higher learning in the world and among the oldest universities in Africa. The Guinness Book of World Records and UNESCO both recognize it as the world’s oldest continuously-operating, degree-granting university.

Conclusively, Africa is a continent with so much potential in various sectors.  More students are considering completing their studies in Africa.  Knowing which are the oldest Universities In Africa, helps students around the world when making their decisions.  These institutions have over the years built a nice reputation in the fields of expertise.


Written by How Africa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

two × four =

Read Samuel Eto’o’ Strong Message to Other African Legends: “I’m the Best African Player of All Time …”

Top 10 East African Countries With the Most Beautiful Women