By Dayo Adesulu
Director of the UNESCO Institute for African Culture and International Understanding, Professor Peter Okebukola has disclosed seven reasons African universities are poorly ranked in global league and seven ways they could improve in their global rankings.
The Chairman of Council (Board of Regents) of Crawford University, while delivering the 14th Convocation Lecture of Covenant University yesterday said: ‘’ Low investment in the research enterprise, Research capacity deficits- institutional and human and Inefficiencies in the system are some of the reasons African universities are poorly ranked.
He explained that when an institution of higher learning fails to invest adequately in research, such university will be poorly rated globally.
Other reasons for poor university rating, he noted include: Sharp practices in research, Weak attraction of international staff and students, Low ICT use in promoting visibility and Poor data collection and management capabilities.
The formal Executive Secretary, National University Commission, however disclosed that for any university to improve in global ranking, authorities of such universities must familiarise themselves with the most recent ranking indicators and encourage national ranking of universities so as to prepare the local for the global.
He further said that improving investment in research that will strengthen institutional and human research capacities and attracting international staff and students are part of the things considered for global ranking of universities.
He also pointed out that steering programme delivery towards the Sustainable Developmental Goals SDGs, massive national, regional and global publicity (use social media) and providing learner-friendly infrastructure should be taken very seriously among institutions.
He said: ‘’Universities are ranked by several indicators of academic or research performance, including alumni and staff winning Nobel Prizes and Fields Medals, highly cited researchers, papers published in Nature and Science, papers indexed in major citation indices, and the per capita academic performance of an institution.
‘’For each indicator, the highest scoring institution is assigned a score of 100, and other institutions are calculated as a percentage of the top score. The distribution of data for each indicator is examined for any significant distorting effect; standard statistical techniques are used to adjust the indicator if necessary.
‘’Scores for each indicator are weighted to arrive at a final overall score for an institution. An institution’s rank reflects the number of institutions that sit above it.
”The original aim of Webometrics Ranking of World Universities is to promote academic web presence, supporting the Open Access initiatives for increasing significantly the transfer of scientific and cultural knowledge generated by the universities to the whole Society.
”In order to achieve this objective, the publication of rankings is one of the most powerful and successful tools for starting and consolidating the processes of change in the academia, increasing the scholars’ commitment and setting up badly needed long term strategies.”