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Past Editorial : June 2017

 June 2017

Tempest in the Rankings Teapot1443651948496

Dr. Damtew Teferra is a professor of higher education, the leader of Higher Education and Training Development, and founding director of the International Network for Higher Education in Africa, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He is also the Editor-in-chief of the International Journal of African Higher Education. He may be reached at teferra@ukzn.ac.za and teferra@bc.edu


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.



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