A new website was launched in Uganda yesterday (www.notinmycountry.org). The aim of the site is to provide a forum for students, lecturers, and administrators ‘to out’ corrupt people working the the field of academia. While this is an entirely laudable motive (and is indeed long overdue), the methodology used by the promoters of this site is questionable and could be open to misuse.
First, they have assigned a default score value of 3 out of 5 for all individual academics and institutions under the categories: ‘Worst Performing Individual’ and ‘Best Performing Individual’, ‘Worst Performing Universities’ and ‘Best Performing Universities’. The rationale for doing this is clearly explained. However, individuals and universities are listed alphabetically on the site, and automatically individuals and universities with names beginning with the letter ‘A’ are listed under ‘Best’, and individuals and universities with names beginning with the letters ‘W’ and ‘Z’ are listed under ‘Worst’.
Thus, even though individuals and universities have not yet received public ratings, the names and pictures of worst performers are there for all to see. What kind of message does this give to members of the public who do not take the time to read through the notes on the site? If my picture was there and I was listed under ‘Worst Performing Individual”, I would surely have a case for ‘notinmycountry’ to answer.
Suggestion: can ‘notinmycountry’ find another way to present the site without assigning pre-determined values? The way it is currently presented leaves its promoters open to prosecution by individuals and institutions.
Professor Deirdre Carabine