Prof. Ibrahim Garba, the Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, has said that the ranking of universities worldwide is “subjective and political’’.
Garba said this when he featured at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja. Recalled that no Nigerian university was listed in the 2016 annual rankings compiled by the Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR), a Saudi Arabia-based education consulting firm.
The vice-chancellor said that most times, the ranking was aimed at attracting patronage to some universities. “University ranking is quite a subjective matter depending on who is ranking and what criteria he is using to rank. “There is so much information floating around in the net that you get people doing ranking and so on.
“Ranking is also political because education today has become a commercial venture in the world. “People going for education tourism; it is a multimillion dollar business. So, people are promoting themselves to get patronage from people that are seeking education.
“So, it is very difficult sometimes to believe a particular ranking especially when it is not done by you or your own people but by some other people that are using some set standards.’’ According to Garba, since ranking is becoming increasingly acceptable, it has become a challenge, which universities struggle to overcome.
He said, however, that it was impossible for any Nigerian university to be ranked even if they produced geniuses. The vice-chancellor, who is a professor of Geology, said the criteria used in ranking tertiary institutions globally, could not be met be Nigerian universities.
He identified one of the major challenges facing Nigerian universities as lack of knowledgeable people. “The visibility in the virtual world is number one criteria; they want to see all the research work from such universities.
“They want to see how many Nobel laureates you produce; how many foreign students and lecturers are in your mix. “In terms of research we do not have stable electricity; there is no laboratory in the world where electricity is interrupted. “In Nigerian universities today, even if the facilities are there, there is no steady power supply.
“No spare parts; we have to import; the infrastructure is so degraded that it is not possible for you to come out clean on your own,’’ he said. The vice-chancellor said that if not for the intervention from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), the standard of Nigerian universities would have degraded further. He said TETFund was an idea of the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities and not of the Federal Government. According to him, because TETFund is an interventionist agency, the funding of universities should not be left for it alone.