KAMPALA – Makerere University has downplayed the latest world ranking that have seen the institution drop to 16th position in Africa.
The ranking by Webometrics, an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research group belonging to Spain’s largest research firm, the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), indicates that Makerere, Uganda’s oldest public university, which last year was the 6th best on the continent and 1,033 in the world, has down dropped to 16th in Africa and 1,225th globally.
But Dr Edward Mwavu, the deputy chairperson of Makerere University Academic Staff Association (Muasa), downplayed the fears, saying Webometric’s bases its rating on research files each university publishes on the website.
“Most of our research depends on donor funds; so, without the funds, we do less. I am sure that we shall go back to our position,” he said.
Prof Umar Kakumba, the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, said the staff and student strikes early this year paralysed work at the university, which made them unable to publish research artiles.
“The university lost a lot of time during the staff strike when the semester had just started and when we resumed, everyone was busy and the administrators did not do the needful (publish research works on the web),” he said on Wednesday.
According to the Webometrics, four of Africa’s best five universities are in South Africa; University of Cape Town, University of Witwatersrand, Stellen Bosch University and University of Pretoria.
Egypt’s Cairo University is the 5th best on the continent while the world’s best-ranked universities are Harvard University, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of California Berkeley and University of Washington —all in the United States.
The Webometrics Ranking conducts quantitative analysis to rank universities based on their Internet and Web contents related to the “processes of generation and scholarly communication of scientific knowledge”.