Africa’s Oldest Universities… (An ACM Compilation)


University of Al-Karaouine, in Fes, Morocco (859AD)
The University of Al-Karaouine or Al-Qarawiyyin is a university located in Fes, Morocco. It was founded in 859 AD. It is one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world and is considered the oldest continuously operating institution of higher learning in the world. This university is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest continuously-operating, degree-granting university.

Al-Azhar University, Egypt (972AD)
Al-Azhar Mosque and University in Cairo, Egypt was founded in 970-972 AD as a Madrasa. The mosque was built in two years from 969 AD, the year in which its foundation was laid. The Madrasa connected with it was founded in 988 AD. Studies began in Al-Azhar in Ramadan by October 975 AD, when Chief Justice Abul Hasan Ali ibn Al-No’man started teaching the book “Al-Ikhtisar”, on the Shiite jurisprudence.

It is the chief centre of Arabic literature and Sunni Islamic learning in the world. The second oldest degree-granting university in Egypt after the Cairo University. In 1961 non-religious subjects were added to its curriculum. As a result it is considered that it became a modern university in 1961.

Fourah Bay College – University of Sierra Leone (1827)
Fourah Bay College (University of Sierra Leone) was founded by the Church Missionary Society in 1827, for the purpose of training Africans as schoolmasters, catechists and clergymen. In 1876, the CMS succeeded in getting the College affiliated to Durham University. It is the oldest & first western-style university in West Africa. It is located atop Mount Aureol in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Has 5 Faculties.

University of Cape Town (1829)
The University of Cape Town (UCT) is South Africa’s oldest university and one of Africa’s leading teaching and research institutions. It was founded in 1829 as the South African College, a high school for boys. The College developed into a fully fledged university during the period 1880 to 1900, thanks to increased funding from private sources and the government.

Cairo University Egypt (1908)
Cairo University in Egypt was founded on Dec. 21, 1908. It was previously “Egyptian University” and later” Fuad University”. It is located in Giza, Egypt. It has 18 faculties. In 2008 it was ranked 2nd in Egypt and 10th in Africa. One year before in 2007, it had been ranked 1st in Egypt.

University of Algiers, Algeria (1909)
University of Algiers is Algeria’s 1st University. It is called the Mother university and situated in the capital of Algeria, Algiers. Today it has about six faculties: Law, Social Sciences, Religious studies, Medicine, Letters and languages, Economic Sciences & Management.

Other old Universities include: Makerere University in Uganda (1922); University of Ghana (1948); University of Ibadan, Nigeria (1948); University of Zimbabwe (1952); Agostinho Neto University Angola (as Estudos Gerais Universitários de Angola) 1962; Eduardo Mondlane University Mozambique (as Estudos Gerais Universitários de Moçambique) 1962. Etc.