Tuesday, May 29, 2007

An urgent call to have information literate citizens - Part 1

I am perturbed by some erroneous information that could, in this case, effectively cripple Uganda's prestigious institution, Makerere University her challenges withstanding. What is true however is that Makerere University, Uganda and Africa need to adjust itself for the challenges of the Information age: Misinformations, and Disinformations.
We badly need information literate citizens so that we may not be swayed by issues found on the internet - this site not excluded!

Let me tackle this: Makerere University has been ranked # 54 in Africa by WeboMetrics and in the past weeks, Ugandan newspapers have not only rechoed the said ranking, but also screamed and agreed to an untrue position about Makerere University - declining and in relation to other African univerities and world Universities - 54th best in Africa and 6,429th in the world! But what does the rank mean?
Objectives of the Webometrics Ranking (WR)
Webometric indicators are provided to show the commitment of the institutions to Web publication. If the web performance of an institution is below the expected position according to their academic excellence, university authorities should reconsider their web policy, promoting substantial increases in the volume and quality of their electronic publications.
The message is clear: Webometrics measured Makerere Univerity's commitment to web publication. Period. #54!? The lay information illiterate citizen could take it that Makerere University is not top in Africa for higher education. Webometrics robots might not know that Makerere University has two domain names asevidenced at URLs www.mak.ac.ug and www.makerere.ac.ug, that www.fcit.ac.ug, www.iph.ac.ug and www.idi.ac.ug which are different domains but true websites of faculties and institutes at Makerere University. The truth is that the rank #54 measured something different and not Makerere's quality of education.

The Ag. PRO of Makerere University highlighted some issuses though couldn't live upto the age.
Here are other issues and reasons why #54:
  1. Makerere University has two domain names: .mak.ac.ug and .makerere.ac.ug. Which one was used to measure the web presence of MUK? Which is domain is official?
  2. Makerere university is being represented by several unique domain names like: .fcit.ac. ug, idi.ac.ug, dicts.ac.ug, .iph.ac.ug, .... Were these taken into account as being part of Makerere University's web publishing sites?
  3. Makerere University has no Webstrategy, no domain name policy or the domain name / website managment is poor if not both. Makerere University needs only one domain name.
  4. Makerere University's academicia are publishing else where and not at the university's website as a matter of policy. We need that policy.
  5. A bulk of Makerere University's publishing is still on hard copies and for donors! Improve on the e-publishing bit too!
  6. ...
One thing for sure, Makerere Univerity is still shining academically but in need of proper institutional administration and ICT streamlining for a better web presence! Ugandans need not despair that the university is nose diving in its quality of education. It is a fact that Makerere University is undergoing management challenges! Where is MUBS for instance!? Where is Makerere University Business School in relation to Makerere University as an institution in the above arguements!

Diclaimer: Henry Owera is only an alumnai of Makerere Univerity, and not its Public Relations Officer.


Owora said...

Congs Mr. Blogger!!?? PRO / Academician & or Almnia for and of MUK!!?? Had we not read 'you' we would surely fall for #54!!??

Have you lost your 'touch'!!?? [Read me - Analytical skills]. Am very sure you did a very "thoughtful and well researched job"!! Congs again.

As a senior citizen - pragmatic as usual i did expect the why, how and the way forward NOT it shouldn't have been #54!!??

Henry Owera said...

Hello Hello! Hi Owora, Flatters here! hmmnn! Thanks! To the heart of the matter: That post was and is Part 1 of the urgent call to have information literate citizens!

I think I have outlined six reasons why #54! The how is for Webometrics guys! The way forward will be in the next pregnancy of the calls! I hope Makerere University listens!