I'm a couple of weeks late on this story as we had been hoping to get a letter in one of the daily newspapers giving our opinion on Makerere's rise from 47th to 32nd in the Webometrics rankings of African universities. The letter below is self-explanatory, although it is perhaps a tad disappointing it failed to make it into print ahead of important missives such as 'Caution Those Rollar Skaters' and 'What Happened to Bundesliga?'
The Council of Graduate Students at Makerere would like to congratulate the University on its recent rise in the Webometrics rankings from 47th to 32nd position in Africa. However, we believe that it is unfortunate that the only system in place to rank African universities has such a narrow criteria. To rise in the Webometrics table you are required to increase Internet presence through making academic papers available online, being linked by other institutions, and improving visibility on 'Google Scholar'.
While we accept the Internet has become a key part of university success, it is still only one aspect. Teaching quality, research output, student satisfaction, faculty resources, student to teacher ratios, graduation rate performance, academic awards and the achievements of alumni are just some of the other ingredients needed in a thriving educational institution. A more comprehensive ranking system based on both qualitative and quantitative criteria is therefore urgently needed for Africa. The universities, and their students, deserve no less.
Abdul Muhiire, James Taylor and Joe Powell (COGS Representatives)