Friday February 12 2010

Makerere University goes top in the region

Graduands jubilate at Makerere University

HAPPY: Makerere University Graduands. PHOTO BY GEOFFREY SSERUYANGE. 

By Peter Nyanzi

Kampala

Makerere has overtaken Dar es Salaam to become the highest-ranked university on research publications in East Africa.

The rankings, published under the Webometrics Survey, are based on the visibility of a university on the Internet, the volume of its publications, and the general impact of the information published on its web pages.

In the latest rankings, Makerere is at number 15, up from number 59 two years ago, among the top 100 African universities.

Global improvement
Globally, it is ranked 2,685 among 8,000 universities, up from 3,811 in the previous ranking.

A total of 500 African universities were ranked.
Makerere is the only Ugandan university that is ranked in the 8,000, both on the continent and globally.

All the 14 African universities ahead of Makerere are either in South Africa or in Egypt.

Ms Rita Namisango, the university’s spokesperson, said yesterday that the jump is a significant development.

She attributed the feat to “strategic measures” taken to use Information and Communication Technology to share research findings with the rest of the world.

“The university management and staff are committed to ensuring that Makerere gets to the first position in Africa,” she said.
“That is our number one goal and given the trend, I think we are on track.”

She said this achievement would spur the university to pursue its goal to be a centre of academic excellence and innovations in Africa.

As a result, the university has provided the infrastructure and applications for a blogging platform that enables staff and students to create personal blogs as well as providing tools that make it easy to publish online.

Websites everywhere

Many units, departments, staff and even students, have thus created websites and blogs, under the university’s domain (mak.ac.ug), on which they disseminate information on the web.

Although the improvement in rankings shows that Makerere is publishing more of its research findings online, it does not necessarily show whether there is a parallel improvement in the quality of research and teaching.

Once one of the best universities in Africa, Makerere is trying to recover its old glory amidst concerns of inadequate funding, overcrowding, and a decline in teaching quality.

The University of Dar es Salaam is the second-best in the region at number 24 followed by University of Nairobi (28); the National University of Rwanda (35) and Egerton University of Kenya (66).

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