By Fungi Kwaramba
Zimbabwe’s oldest institute of higher learning, the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), which is hogging the limelight for the wrong reasons, particularly the manner in which former first lady Grace Mugabe was awarded her PhD degree, has dropped in its rankings.
According to uniRank, formerly known as International Colleges and Universities, which is a directorate for international higher education and is accredited with at least 13 000 universities and colleges in the world, the UZ is number 59 even though it was once highly rated in the past.
In 2015, the same directorate had ranked the UZ number 41.
South African universities dominate the uniRank top 10 with the University of Pretoria taking top spot while the American University in Egypt is ranked number 10.
Ranked number 60 is Algerian university of Science and Technologies.
There are no other Zimbabwean universities in the top 60 even though the likes of Midlands State University has been performing very well in regional competitions.
“This uniRank page features the 2018 African University ranking of the top 60 officially recognised higher education institutions in Africa meeting the following uniRank selection criteria, being accredited, licensed and or chartered by the appropriate higher education related organisation in each country offering at least four year under-graduate degrees (Bachelor degrees) and/or postgraduate degrees (Masters or Doctoral degrees) delivering courses predominantly in a traditional face-to-face, non-distance education format.
“The uniRank university ranking aim is to provide non-academic league table of the top 200 universities in Africa based on unbiased and valid web metrics,” reads part of the statement from uniRank.
Of late UZ has hogged the limelight for all the wrong reasons with the most prominent case being the controversial awarding of the doctorate degree to Grace in 2014.
Although the degree has now been published on the UZ website after a three-year delay — lecturers in the Department of Sociology are pressing for its revocation.
The vice chancellor of Zimbabwe’s top-notch university Levy Nyagura was recently arrested by the corruption busting body, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (Zacc) for awarding Grace with the degree even though government has refused to relieve him of his duties saying he did not commit any crime.
Although lecturers have been pressing for the revocation of Grace’s PhD, the State’s case against Nyagura, appears to be crumbling.
According to State papers, the permanent secretary in the Higher Education ministry, one L Mudyiwa, allegedly lodged a complaint against Nyagura, but the office denies, making such a report in a letter addressed to Attorney-General Prince Machaya.
“The ministry would like to register its complaint against (the) Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission. The basis of the complaint is that, we note from court papers that Zacc has been citing the permanent secretary as the complainant in cases involving the UZ vice chancellor as the accused,” the letter reads in part.
“The ministry would like to state that it is not aware of the issues and neither was it involved in making any complaints to Zacc or being involved in investigations leading to the accused person being arraigned before the court for criminal abuse of office…the ministry is not involved in academic issues.
“The issue is purely academic and is the domain of the university through the Council or Senate.
“The ministry only provides administrative oversight to the university and is not qualified to comment, make a determination or give an opinion on whether what was done by the accused person was a criminal offence or not.”
According to the letter, that decision ought to be made by the University Council and Senate as supreme organs on academic issues. Daily News