At least twelve Nigerian universities, including Nnamdi Azikiwe University, have improved significantly in world rankings and were recognized at the Times Higher Education World Academic Summit, which concluded on October 12 in New York.
Professor Emeritus Peter Okebukola, Chairman of the Nigerian Universities Ranking Advisory Committee (NURAC), stated this while interacting with journalists in Abuja after returning from the New York Summit.
The top two Nigerian universities in the 401 to 500 band, according to the Times Higher Education rating, were the University of Ibadan and the University of Lagos.
NURAC was established by NUC Executive Secretary Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed to mobilise and catalyse Nigerian institutions’ involvement in all worldwide ranking schemes.
NURAC has spent the last year collaborating with all universities and establishing capacity to guarantee that this mandate is carried out.
Okebukola, who attended the Summit in New York with NURAC members, was visibly pleased and stated, “Nigeria was singled out and publicly announced at the summit by the management of Times Higher Education World University Rankings as having made one of the most significant improvements in ranking within a year.”
“From five universities in the top band in 2022 to twelve universities within a year is a remarkable feat,” he said.
Okebukola is also a member of the international advisory board of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and the Chairman of the Governing Board of the African Higher Education Observatory as well as the Chairman of the Governing Board of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), listed the top two Nigerian universities in the 401 to 500 band as the University of Ibadan and University of Lagos.
Covenant University is next in the 601 to 800 band. Bayero University Kano and Federal University Akure are in the 1001 to 1200 band. In the 1201 to 1500 band are the University of Ilorin, University of Nigeria Nsukka and Obafemi Awolowo University.
The three universities in the 1500+ category are the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta; Ladoke Akintola University of Technology and Nnamdi Azikiwe University.
Speaking further on the exciting development, Okebukola said “there are over 30,000 universities in the world today and about 1,799 were ranked by Times Higher Education after meeting the ranking criteria.
He explained that institutions that apply for the ranking were assessed on 13 carefully calibrated performance indicators that measure an institution’s performance across four areas: teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook.
The top five universities in the 2023 world rankings are Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge, Stanford, and MIT. The University of Lagos ranked 478 globally and number 1 in Nigeria.
The former Executive Secretary of NUC noted that across Nigeria, physical sciences was the most frequently ranked subject.
According to him, “In the 2023 ranking, Nigeria had better scores in the international co-authorship metric but had low scores in international students, international staff, industry income, doctorates/staff, research reputation and teaching reputation. Between 2019 and 2023, the citation score for Nigeria increased by an average of 30. Conversely, the industry score decreased by an average of 2.5”.
Okebukola was also pleased to note that 45 Nigerian universities, among the highest in the world, are in the reporter category for the 2023 ranking which means that with a little nudge, they will be eligible for inclusion in the elite league tables.
According to him, “The universities in alphabetical order are: Adamawa State University, Mubi; Akwa Ibom State University; Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike; American University of Nigeria; Augustine University; Babcock University; Bamidele Olumilua University of Education, Science and Technology, Ikere-Ekiti; Baze University; Bells University of Technology; Benson Idahosa University; Bowen University; Coal City University; Cross River University of Technology; Ebonyi State University; Edo State University Uzairue; Evangel University, Akaeze; Federal University Gashua; Federal University of Kashere; Federal University of Lafia; Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun; Federal University of Technology Minna; Federal University of Technology Owerri; First Technical University; Fountain University; Gregory University Uturu; Ignatius Ajuru University of Education; University of Jos; Kings University; Lagos State University; Landmark University; Michael and Cecilia Ibru University; Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike; Niger Delta University; Nigerian Police Academy, Wudil; Novena University; Olusegun Agagu University of Science and Technology; Salem University; Samuel Adegboyega University; Sokoto State University; Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University; Usman Danfodiyo University; University of Uyo; Veritas University, Abuja; Wellspring University; Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano”..
A new dimension is being introduced to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. This, according to Okebukola is the World University Ranking 3.0. This will involve some new metrics and normalization procedures.
“I am quite hopeful that Nigerian universities will not lose their winning streak and will do excellently well on WUR 3.0 which will come into effect in 2024. The Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed has assured NURAC that government will continue to resource the universities including strengthening institutional and human research capacities to ensure that on all WUR 3.0 metrics Nigerian universities do not fall below the mark” he stated
NURAC has former vice-chancellors as zonal coordinators. These are Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun, former VC, LASU (southwest); Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba, former VC, AE-FUNAI (southeast); Professor Joseph Ajienka, former VC, UNIPORT (south-south); Professor Angela Miri, former VC, FUL (northcentral); Professor Mohammad Yahuza Bello, former VC, BUK (northwest); and Professor Jibrila D. Amin (northeast). Others are Emeritus Professor Nimi Briggs, representing STRADVCOM; Dr Biodun Saliu, NUC Director Academic Planning and Mrs Hadiza Ramallan representing NUC.