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NIGERIAN universities have consistently ranked very low in the global ranking of universities. For many years, no Nigerian university has made it to the list of 1000 leading universities in the world according to The Webomerics World Ranking of Universities, produced by Cybermetrics Lab, a Spain-based organisation. Only about four Nigerian
universities have appeared on the list of 100 leading universities in Africa. None of them has made it to the first 40.
THIS dismal performance of universities in Nigeria needs to be appreciated in its various dimensions in order to begin to deal with the problem of university education. Indeed, policy prescriptions to upgrade university education have tended to ignore the core elements that make for a competitive university education. To understand the nature of the current challenges of university education in Nigeria, it is important to explore the basis on which universities are ranked globally.
THERE are many organisations involved in the ranking of universities worldwide. Some of them are national but quite a few cover the world. The data base of webometrics is the largest covering 16,000 universities. It started in 2004. The ranking is based on the web content, visibility and impact of the web publications of universities according to the number of external links they received.
WEBOMETRIC indicators are provided to show the commitment of institutions to web publication. What this means is that universities of high quality may be ranked lower than expected due to a restrained policy on web publication or inability to host an effective website to fully reflect their broad range of activities and publications.
THE Times Higher Education in association with Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) produced the QS-World University Rankings based on a peer review of data collected and reviewed by over 9000 academics and scholars from various academic fields. Other rankings are based on library holdings, academic performance, research performance, resources availability, socially significant activities of graduates, international activities of the universities, number of Nobel prize winners, field medalists, the number of publications produced and citations of the publications, student selectivity, student - faculty ratio, quality and diversity of faculty, graduation rate, alumni giving rate, and so on. Some of the rankings focused on science based disciplines while others focus on the liberal arts or both.
THE above survey of the criteria for ranking universities shows why Nigerian universities are rated low. In the first place, most Nigerian universities do not have a good presence on the internet. Indeed, many universities with the exception of a few private and federal ones, suffer from severe problem of electricity supply which makes information and communication technology ineffective. Thus, in the webometic ranking, Nigerian universities are clearly disadvantaged. For the few up-and-coming universities, even their modest achievements are underrepresented because of the infrastructural problems associated with power supply.
ONE of the greatest factors that makes Nigerian universities rank low and may continue to do so in the future is the basis on which universities are established. Many proprietors of private universities think academics are employed in the universities to teach and do nothing more. They provide an environment that is conducive to learning and teaching but foreclose the social environment for academic research and innovation.
IN some situations, students are encouraged to treat their teachers with contempt because they pay huge fees that take care of salaries and the running of the universities. Some think that the greatest contribution universities can make to the moral crisis in Nigeria is to produce graduates who are saturated with religious ideas and rituals.
MANY new public universities are run as opportunities to provide jobs and access to higher education for indigenes. What operates in these new public universities are “locasities” rather than “universities”. A situation where the faculties and studentship of a university are largely composed of individuals from a state is unacceptable when universities are ranked on the basis of their capacity to attract staff and students from all over the world.
MANY university positions are no longer for the best and most competent but for indigenes and loyalists to the visitor and the ruling political party. The position of vice-chancellor is now political with requisite political remuneration that is divorced from the ability to raise funds for the universities. These trends must be reversed as Nigeria addresses the problem of infrastructure and funding if Nigerian universities are to rank among the best in the world.Share
written by larry, March 16, 2010
written by Honourablekay, March 18, 2010