UNIVERSITY RANKINGS AND WHY IT SHOULD WORRY YOU!
In this day and age where most universities are cropping up in every street and corner, it seems their hunger for providing knowledge has been replaced by their greed for money. Just recently Professor Magoha the CS for Education declared 98 university courses as redundant, irrelevant and obsolete. Why are universities not concerned of their university ranking position be it countrywide or internationally. Then I have bad news for all of you since a survey that was done showed that a university ranking position may affect the chance of one;
- Getting employed
- Getting a scholarship
- Getting a recognized degree
- Getting quality grade education
- Getting the chance of been taught by qualified lecturers and not quacks
- Getting a degree on time.
Did Juliet Irine Otieno the top performer in 2018 KCSE who managed to score an A grade of 87.664 points consider university rankings in selecting to go and study at Technical University of Kenya in Nairobi, ranked 12 in Kenya and 7599 in the world according to QS university rankings 2019, where she will pursue a degree course in aeronautical engineering? Maybe she did.
What is considered in ranking a university one may ask;
- Percentage of students who go on to graduate and in time.
- Student: Lecturer ratio
- Classroom Size
- Graduate Job and Employment placement percentage
- Quality Courses offered at the University
- Quality grades considered during intakes
- Research output (publications, impact factors, citations, h-index)
- Grants awarded
- Number of Nobel Laureates, Fields Medallists, HHMI investigators, MacArthur fellows, members of national academies.
- Student membership in national and international honor societies.
- Patents awarded.
A worrying trend has been witnessed in Kenya where we have over 100 universities, but when it comes to how well they perform globally they are ranked poorly. Some of the reasons behind poor performances in Universities include but not limited to;
- Low/No research output by scholars in Universities who only seek employment to earn a monthly salary.
- Low/No qualified tutors at universities. Due to the many satellite campuses that have cropped up and the high enrolment of students to universities this has left the universities at the mercies of part- time lecturers where some are diploma holders teaching a degree class.
- Poor/No teaching facilities; Most universities are still using facilities that were once built before the colonial period and many universities are busy beatifying the compound instead of allocating money for infrastructure that would benefit the students. The case of one Kenyan university that invested millions to build a gate and yet it’s infrastructures are wanting.
- Tribalism and Political Influences in Universities; These have hampered how well universities are being run and governed nowadays. Student leaders are evidence to this where most out-source funds from politicians therefore creating room for divisive politics in universities.
- Corruption and Embezzlement of Funds; Most universities are at the verge of dying since money allocated to pay lecturers and run the institutions is being ‘eaten’ by those mandated with the authority of protecting that money.
- Delayed degrees; Its funny that in high ranking universities like Harvard, Yale, Oxford and many European universities degrees take the stipulated time. In Kenya a Master’s degree can take up to 6-7 years to finish while a PhD degree would take up to 10-15 years just ask the Deputy President who took 10 years to earn a PhD.
- Outdated/Not up to date Knowledge and Skills by scholars; Most of the lecturers in Universities are still teaching using outdated information not putting in mind that technology has caught up with us. Talk of trying to put new wine in an old wineskin. It’s a shame that most Lecturers are computer illiterate and yet the market will demand a graduate who can work his way around various computer software’s.
The employers in Kenya are no longer interested in papers but the practical aspect of what one can provide to the business. Since most degrees in Kenya are ill-gotten through various bribes ranging from money to sexual favours.
World University Rankings: https://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings/world-university-rankings/2019