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Tempest in the Rankings Teapot

By Damtew Teferra

It is that season when ranking entities announce their “findings” on the comparative stature of the world’s universities. Almost certainly, the “premier” universities remain at the top and the rest are relegated to the bottom—African universities in particular. The “rankers” go about their business some with audacity but too often without sufficient concern for veracity, authenticity or integrity in their methodologies or (especially in the cae of Africa) lack of data.

For the last three years, the University of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa stood at the top of the country in academic productivity as measured by the Department of Higher Education and Training. The Department undertakes the task using parameters that meticulously measure research and academic outputs.

Yet, according to the newly released QS rankings—which allocates 60 percent of the criteria to academic reputation—the University now stands below six South African universities. This points to a glaring tension between data and dubious assessment based on reputation. Read More on Inside Higher Education Website.

Early Career Academics in Africa—Induction into Teaching

For all the debates and dialogues on ‘massification’ and revitalizing of higher education in Africa, little to no attention has been afforded to the state of the teaching praxis of academics in the institutions. Most academics are not known to have been trained to teach; and yet they are expected to catch up on the job. Read more.

The International Network of Higher Education in Africa is hosted at Higher Education Training and Development, University of Kwazulu-Natal and closely affiliated with the Boston College Center for International Higher Education. The Network is led by its founding director, Professor Damtew Teferra. Numerous initiatives of the Network are supported by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.