Corporate Websites And The International Credibility Of Nigerian Universities

Corporate Websites And The International Credibility Of Nigerian Universities

A few weeks ago, I received this message from a friend and colleague of mine.

thanks 4 d reply david …
I dont know if you’re aware …. but this site has been down for over six months … repeated tries give the classic server unavailable response …

I talked to a friend in 9ja today, and it appears the site works in nigeria …
However, it does not work from US, Greece and UK … and probably other places …. i suspect there are DNS issues with the hosting server …

Kindly confirm again if this site opens from your end ..
I hope this issue is fixed soon, because it casts general doubts on the validity of our academic claims from the purview of the international community who CANT see a valid website ….

 

Many universities in Nigeria simply do not understand the importance of online presence and how it affects their standing in the international community. They handle the issue of web presence with an annoying amount of levity.

 

I have always been of the opinion that if a university claims to have a computer science department, one test of the quality of this department should be based on an assessment of the computer software used in running the institution. If the majority of the software used within the university is not built by staff and/or students of the university in question, then the university’s computer science department is simply not credible enough to exist.

 

This is something that has really bothered me. Most universities have very bright students year in, year out, who if given the opportunity and the right kind and amount of encouragement, can make great contributions to their universities in terms of IT development. However, as was evident in my undergraduate days, students, for some reasons often associated with a kind of paranoia I have constantly failed to understand, are simply alienated from the ICT concerns of most universities.

 

It simply appalls me to think that a university would not make their corporate website one of their top priorities. A corporate website is the face of any institution on the web. As very aptly put by my friend and colleague in his very succinct mail, the inability of the international community to access a university’s corporate website, cast general doubts on the academic claims of graduates of that university especially those from the computer science department.

 

The National Universities Commission (NUC) is generally responsible for ensuring that the quality of education in Nigerian universities meets an acceptable standard. I am of the opinion that one of the metrics of assessing computer science departments should be based on the level of in-house contribution to the development of all software used within the university.

 

I am currently taking part in the National Youth Service Scheme in my country and I have been given the opportunity to work with the Federal University of Technology in Akure (FUTA), Ondo State, Nigeria. I have worked in FUTA for about two months now and I am slightly impressed by their dedication to the ICT concerns of the university. For a start, they have a functioning corporate website. But not just that. I was further impressed by the fact that the grade management software (which, however, still has ample room for improvement) was built with a lot of in-house contribution to the development of the application. I do not see any reason why I would and should not believe that the computer science department in FUTA is much stronger than that of a university who makes little or no in-house contribution to the development of software used within its walls, and/or does not even have a properly functioning corporate website.

 

Having a properly functioning corporate website is just the first step towards improving a university’s international corporate image. It is also important the the content of such a website be thoroughly comprehensive. A university website is meant to serve as a one-stop portal of information for everything concerning the university that owns it. It is amazing to see how empty the vast majority of the corporate websites owned by institutions in Nigeria actually are, that is, for those who have actually managed to create one. Information about departments, courses and degree programs offered by the university are often simply non-existent, there is no official contact information, or contact information is simply not valid. These are FUNDAMENTAL pieces of information that people outside the geographical confines of a university need in order to influence their academic choices and/or aspirations in relation to the universities in question.

 

Problems with a university’s corporate website are issues that need to be resolved immediately. Such issues should never be toyed with. As alumni of our various universities, we are still heavily affected by the management and administrative policies being formulated within the walls of our alma maters. As we strive to represent our alma maters in the best light possible, we also expect that our universities do the same for us by taking issues that have to do with the (international) image of the university with absolute serious-mindedness.

 

Generally, the use of information technology is still far below an acceptable standard in the Nigerian educational sector. This can be attributed to the many problems faced by the country, not excluding our problems with electric power and internet connectivity. However, with a little more effort, dedication and determination, I believe we can reach an acceptable standard. Nigeria has some serious problems, but it is amazing how we still have a way of achieving great things in the midst of these problems. Nigeria might not be the most advanced country on this planet, and Nigerians might not be the most dependable set of humans to have ever existed, but Nigerians are definitely one of the most hardworking people you could ever encounter. We have somehow learnt to function in the midst of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. This rare characteristic is something we can put to

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