Why Nigerian universities don’t make global rankings
Emeka Oguzie, the deputy vice-chancellor of research, development and innovation, Federal University of Technology, Owerri has said that Nigeria’s higher institutions of learning are missing out of global ranking systems owing to inadequate educational funding.
Oguzie who spoke at BusinessDay’s Education Summit themed ‘University rankings: Reaching consensus on criteria and weightings, Tuesday said funding is critical to getting the tertiary institutions in Nigeria to rub shoulders with their counterparts at the international levels.
“You cannot achieve a world-class academic level without facilities. The parameter indicates that without certain incentives, you cannot get to the top 10. And this translates to funding,” he said.
He noted that many universities in Nigeria are merely surviving, which makes them pay less attention to the issue of rankings.
However, he questioned the objectives of most of the rankings, stressing that they are subjective because there are no clear sufficient indices for them.
He maintained that ranking is necessary for the universities to stay afloat.
According to experts, the number of tertiary educational institutions in the country has exploded in the last two decades, which they say has presented a greater choice to students and allowed academics a wider selection in places to build a career.
They added that it has also permitted institutions to cater to specific verticals in the student market.
Speaking also, Lanre Olufatimilehin, the president of Oxford and Cambridge Club of Nigeria remarked that university funding goes beyond funds from governments. Multi-national corporate organisations and alumni have roles to play in funding tertiary institutions.
Besides, Olufatimilehin explained that what makes Harvard and Cambridge universities outstanding is that they have an advantage in terms of quality of teaching.
“Harvard and Cambridge universities have a brand in terms of the quality of students they produce,”, he said.
Sunday Adebisi, director of African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence in unemployment and skills development, University of Lagos frowned on the fact that the ranking umpires do not consult Nigerian universities in the development of parameters for ranking.
Adebisi however encouraged universities to pay keen attention to ranking because most employers look at the ranking in choosing graduate employees.
“The university is a manufacturing centre. Their main duty is to groom students that will fit into the labour market. Hence, universities need to find solutions to the problems in their host communities,” he said.
Nevertheless, Nle Bisong reiterated that ranking has come to stay and Nigerian universities must get involved. He disclosed that ranking is based on visibility and not necessarily funding. The problem with many Nigerian tertiary institutions he said is poor visibility and not that they are not good per se.
“Being visible is not funding per se. It is a bit of leadership insight to visualise how ICT, directorate of quality assurance and other 21st-century innovation can help position the institution in the eyes of the world,” he stated.
He cited Lagos State University and the University of Ibadan as good examples of institutions in Nigeria doing that.
On the way forward for Nigerian universities, Oguzie stated that it is a process and the country needs to get the system right first, the human resources and professionalism.
Adebisi believes that entrepreneurship is the way forward for Nigerian graduates. He enjoined the various institutions in Nigeria to emulate the University of Lagos in its entrepreneurship programmes that are aimed at producing 5,000 student-entrepreneurs by the year 2025.
“The University of Lagos is embarking on a programme called BITE that will provide 250 to 500 student entrepreneurs that will be trained and equipped free of charge,” he said.