University of Rwanda administration has commended improvement registered in the latest Webometrics Ranking of World Universities.
The webometrics ranks over 26,300 universities globally and 1,520 universities in Africa. Ranking happens twice a year; in January and July.
At the continental level, the University of Rwanda joined the ‘cream’ of the top 100, standing at the 96th position, which is 27 places up from the 123rd it ranked in July last year.
Globally, the University of Rwanda was ranked 3499th, registering an improvement of 408 places compared the 3,907th position in July last year.
The university was ranked tenth in East African Community from eleventh position in the last ranking.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the university was on 52th position, from the 67th position in the same period last year.
The university was first ranked in July 2014 after the merger of six universities. At the time, it ranked outside 200 in Africa.
In January 2016, it was 140th in Africa and 72nd in sub-Saharan Africa.
Among the top 10 East African universities are University of Nairobi in Kenya, which tops the region and is the 8th in Africa, and Makerere University in Uganda, the second and 11th in Africa.
Others are Kenyata University, Kenya, University of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, Jomo Kenyata University in Kenya, Jomo Kenyata University of Agriculture and Technology from Kenya, Mbarara University of Science and Technology from Uganda, Mahimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences from Tanzania, and Egerton University from Kenya.
Prof. Nelson Ijumba, the deputy vice-chancellor for academics and research, attributed the improved performance to improved research, as one of key indicators for the ranking methodology.
He cited the increasing number of academic staff publishing articles in credible and high impact journals and improved website in terms of design, content and visibility.
“If you look at the website now, it is probably the face of the university. If you want to know anything about the university, you go on the website, if your university wants to communicate to your students, staff, and external stakeholders, you go on the website, so it matters very much how your website is constructed, what content it has,” he told The New Times.
Prof. Ijumba said the website is very important given that people who want to know about your company can visit, including posting available jobs.
“It is really more than a way of communicating and if you have a shoddy website it is an indicative how your university is like, so they chose to look at websites and the advantage is that you don’t have to send anything, you just have to make sure that your website conveys the kind of information they need to look at,” he added.
The academic affirmed the university’s commitment to prioritising quality research and partnership with both internal and external partners.
“We hope to improve the quality of our research and to really being new partnerships, which means we would have stronger linkages with the industry, other universities both in the country and in the region, across Africa and around the world, so if we work on those two things we should be able to move far in terms of the ranking,” Prof. Ijumba said.
He said the current website is also under review.
“We need a better website with more pages and with more content, but for me if we improve on the research output and make sure that there is quality and we partner with many people who are supporting the kind of research we are doing I think it is an indicative of what we are doing very well,” he said.
The Webometric system uses four indicators for ranking, namely: ‘size’, ‘visibility’, ‘rich files’ and ‘scholar’. Size refers to the number of pages recovered from four search engines: Google, Yahoo, Live Search and Exalead. Visibility refers to the total number of unique external links received (inlinks). This is done using Yahoo Search, which is believed to be the only search engine that can confidently provide such information.