KEETMANSHOOP - Only two African universities have made it to the world’s top 250 rankings much to the chagrin of University of Namibia’s pro-vice chancellor Professor Frednard Gideon. The University of Cape
Town, which is ranked 223 in the world, as well as the Witwatersrand (230) are the only African-based institutions to have made it to the top 250. “There are very good reasons and one is because
they (two SA universities) form strategic research approaches,” Gideon said last week in Keetmanshoop.
He added that these partnerships focussed more on reputable global research with high indexes.
“I would like to inform you that Africa has less than one percent of the world’s top 250 ranked universities. This is worrisome and who is going to change it?” the academic raised as a matter of concern.
Professor Gideon then reasoned that Unam should internationalise their research if they want to compete at global level.
He appealed to prospective researchers to enhance their research activity, including collaborating with
international co-authors. He said this has added much value to the rankings of some universities, hence the need to seek partnerships that facilitates collaboration.
Gideon elaborated on excellence, focusing on scholarly output with quality. Another lesson according
to him is research support infrastructure, focusing on extens ive research administrative support and guidance.
He continued that another aspect was that of research workloads which refers to the student-staff ratio.
The professor further advi s ed that te r t iar y institutions should always strive to attract professors with
higher citations. The setting of academic expectations and forging of international partnerships was
two other lessons he shared with the audience.
Referring to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Gideon explained students should carry out research that is
relevant, responsive and of global nature. “We need to explore the issue of multidisciplinary research, closing the gap between discipline since this approach will help staff and students to have the ability to
think system- wise,” he added.
Gideon also raised the concern of the lack of research funding, urging each and every one to raise money for
research since the four percent allocated for research from the university budget needs to be complemented.