New conditions for varsities ranking in Tanzania

Saturday February 29 2020
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Dar es Salaam. Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU) said it will only recognise university rankings which have not been done using criteria set by the agency.

This, according to the commission, is for the purpose of providing objectivity and validity to the results that can be trusted by various institutions for improvement.

Ranking of universities is one of the developments in quality assurance processes in the quest to compare universities with regards to their national, regional, continental or international quality standing.

The commission believes that despite the resentment on the ranking results by many universities, particularly in Africa, the universities have continued to privately aspire to improve their international rankings.

In the case of universities in Tanzania, the regulator says such ranking systems may be carried out by local, regional or international agencies, hence the need for setting guidelines for that purpose.

TCU executive secretary, Prof Charles Kihampa told The Citizen that all ranking agencies have to follow the commission’s requirements to obtain the results that can contribute to the improvement of higher education in the country.

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“Agencies carrying out ranking of universities in Tanzania for the purpose of official recognition of the ranking results shall be required to use our standards and guidelines for this purpose,” he said.

The new ranking standards focus on employer reputation; a university which employers prefer to source for the most competent, innovative, and effective graduates.

The ranking shall also focus on academic staff/student ratio, the extent to which universities are able to provide students with meaningful access to lecturers and tutors.

Another area is citations per academic staff, which is the total number of citations received by all papers produced by a university across a five-year period divided by the number of academic staff at the university.

The agencies will also have to find out ability of a university to attract international academic staff and students at any ratio.

“Universities in the country shall be grouped and ranked on the basis of their programmes and shall be evaluated according to various metrics,” Prof Kihampa said.

He said the institution’s academic reputation shall account for 30 percent in the rankings, proportion of attracted research funds takes 10 percent, graduate employers’ survey opinion shall have 10 percent and academic staff /student ratio takes at least 20 percent.

Prof Kihampa also said that citations per academic staff must take 20 percent, international academic staff ratio should be 5 percent as well as international student ratio.