By Innocent Anguyo
Ugandan universities have plunged in the latest ranking of higher institutions of learning in Africa. Makerere University that was second on the continent until Wednesday has been relegated to the tenth position.
According to the latest ranking by Webometrics, an organisation that monitors university performance worldwide, Makerere is the only Ugandan university in the top-125-tier on the continent unlike the three last year.
Gulu University that was 79th last year dropped to 254. Makerere University Business School (MUBS) now sits at number 127, down from 122nd. Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) also fell 19 places down to 155.
Meanwhile, Mountains of the Moon which was last year ranked 173rd now sits at position 274. Kampala International University has dropped to 318 from 250. Busitema has receded to the 524th rank down from 357.
Nevertheless, some Ugandan Universities have also improved. Uganda Christian University (UCU) is now ranked 128th, up from 179.
Kyambogo has leaped to the 255th rank, up from 330. Uganda Marty’s is now placed 254 and it was the 377rd last year.
The Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) which was rated 378th last year is now holding the 261st position.
Other Ugandan Universities in the top 1,000 on the continent include the International University of East Africa (171), Bugema (442), Busitema (542), Nkumba (566), International Health Sciences University (645), Busoga (663), Kabale (679), Uganda Management Institute (705).
More include Ndejje (814), Muteesa 1 Royal (822), Kampala University (872), Victoria University (900), Bishop Staurt University (918) and Uganda Institute of Information and Communication Technology (985).
The University of Nairobi topped the East African region, ranking ninth on the Continent. The University of Dar-es-Salaam came third at 28th in Africa. It was trailed by Kenyatta University (34), Strathmore University (36) and Egerton (65), all in Kenya.
Cairo University of Egypt capped the African continent followed by South Africa’s Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Pretoria and Kwazulu Natal respectively.
Globally, Harvard University maintained its number one position followed by Massachusetts InstBritain’s University of Cambridge and University of Oxford; the top 27 universities in the world are in the USA.
Webometrics does the ranking twice a year according to the number of times a new article appears on the Internet about research done at the institution.
This is considered an indicator of the impact and prestige of the university and its commitment to disseminating research outcomes.
The ranking Methodology which hasn’t changed from the last ranking considered Visibility at 50% and Activity (including Presence, Openness and Excellence combined) at 50%.
Some sources at Makerere attribute the university’s drop in ranking to its 2013 closure over a protracted strike by academic and administrative staff. The staff were demanding for 100% salary increment but eventually received a 70% top up incentive.
Responding to the rankings in a statement to the New Vision, Dr. Vincent Ssembatya, Director Quality Assurance at Makerere said, “All universities in the top-ten are very strong in teaching and research by any credible measure.
We feel proud to be among them because we know that our well qualified staff are working very hard, sometimes under strenuous circumstances.”
“Our commitment to improve our position in all rankings is unwavering as we aspire to be the leading institution for academic excellence and innovations in Africa,” he added.