РейтингAmid concerns that global rankings of universities prejudice African institutions, Peter Okebukola, former executive secretary of Nigeria’s National Universities Commission or NUC, has countered that league tables can encourage competition and improve performance.
Addressing a gathering of academics and policy-makers from selected African countries last week, hosted by the University of Professional Studies in Accra, Ghana and focused on rankings, he admitted that there had been some unease when the NUC decided to rank universities in Nigeria.
«No ranking method is the best», but the methodology that was adopted in Nigeria – in collaboration with universities – led to a transparent approach and also helped to improve the system of ranking. In spite of this, there were still some older academics who did not see why some newer universities should be ranked higher than their older institutions
The Africa Union has prepared an African Quality Rating Mechanism, or AQRM, which is reportedly also to be used to ‘rank’ higher education institutions from 2015-25. It is hoped that this exercise will help universities across the continent to perform better in global tables.
Rankings had been seen by some people as a marketing tactic to put higher education institutions in developed countries ahead of those in Africa in order to attract more students. There were several global rankings skewed towards research, and so the question is why universities that emphasised teaching and learning were disadvantaged by rankings. In addition, most of the methodologies of rankings were biased towards the natural sciences as well as biased towards the English language.
Unfortunately, although global league tables do not paint an accurate picture of universities, the reality is that students make decisions and governments craft higher education strategies based on rankings.

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