One student died and 141 others were injured in a stampede at the University of Nairobi’s Kikuyu campus on Sunday 12 April after a transformer exploded – the result of an electrical fault that caused an underground cable to burst. Students jumped from hostels to the ground after mistaking the 04h00 explosion for an attack by al-Shabaab Islamist militants.
Nigeria’s recent general election witnessed high involvement of vice-chancellors as returning officials and new graduates as polling officers. The election was judged to be free and fair, but the participation of the university community has been enmeshed in controversy.
The government is to abolish visas and special entry conditions for East Africans wishing to study at any university or college in Kenya, in a move that could see the country outsmart other regional states in the race to attract international students.
The Egyptian E-Learning University has launched an open initiative called Learn4All that will provide free learning opportunities for everyone.
The Algerian higher education union Conseil National des Enseignants du Supérieur called a three-day strike last week principally over a revised statute for lecturer-researchers, while in Tunisia last-minute talks between the Fédération Générale de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique and the higher education ministry failed to prevent a one-day strike over bonuses.
With many graduates across Africa unable to secure jobs, links between university education and industry are under intense scrutiny. The failure of companies to employ graduates is blamed largely on irrelevant course content that does not match industry needs.
The German Academic Exchange Service held a one-week training programme for 35 quality assurance directors drawn from English speaking higher education institutions in West Africa. The training in Ghana’s capital Accra was part of a project to help design quality assurance systems for tertiary institutions across the region.
Madagascar’s government is seeking contributions from international partners to promote and equip higher education and research to be the ‘motor’ of its national development plan. Among the proposals is a competitive fund for innovation to finance research in priority sectors.
Researchers in Senegal have called for a reassessment of research, including the creation of a central research system, and for more state funding to enable them to achieve their objectives. These were among conclusions of a debate organised by higher education and research union Sudes-ESR on “Research and National Research Centres: What directions should Senegal take?”
Jandhyala BG Tilak
Asian universities can lead the way towards the creation of a sustainable, more humane society. Since ancient times, the most important objective of education has been to inculcate universal human values and to prepare the citizens needed for the creation of the global family.
Craig Whitsed and Wendy Green
The federal government’s Draft National Strategy for International Education narrowly focuses on economic interests and fails to recognise the role of internationalisation of the curriculum in creating a more open, outward-looking country.
Laura E Rumbley
Internationalisation is moving to centre stage, but to do it properly requires a commitment to creating an alliance between policy-makers, researchers and practitioners.
Will the technology revolution bring about the overthrow of the higher education system, and are university debates about mobile learning an attempt to make an education system work for a society that has literally moved on?
National Public Radio
Times Higher Education
The New Zealand Herald
Ten South African universities collected a total of R659 million (US$55 million) in philanthropic income during 2013 from 4,355 donors, with nearly half from international organisations. But there were major disparities, a new survey has revealed – two universities attracted half of the funding while five received less than R23 million between them.
Graduates of the public University of Nairobi and the private Strathmore University are by far the most preferred by employers in Kenya, according to a poll by the Nairobi recruitment firm Corporate Staffing Services. The findings reveal long-held biases among employers and are likely to spark rivalry among universities, as the battle for the best students hots up.
Tom P Abeles
If the goals of the draft declaration and action plan of the African Higher Education Summit are to be achieved, there should be less focus on building traditional universities and more on expanding high-speed broadband internet that will enable global cutting-edge knowledge to be delivered to students cost-effectively.
Dear Foreign National Student,
Today I once again hang my head in shame as we continue to threaten, harass and even kill you and your family members and friends on the streets of South Africa. Yet this week many of you will stride across graduation stages in South African universities to obtain degrees. One of you, a student at my university, wrote to tell me that you will achieve the award for top student in economics even though you came here from Zimbabwe without a cent in your pocket.
Kelly Field, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Over the past few weeks, four candidates have officially announced that they are running for president. Democrat front-runner, of course, is Hillary Rodham Clinton, while the Republican field includes three US senators: Florida’s Marco Rubio, the son of Cuban immigrants who is pitching himself as the fresh face of the GOP; Texas’ Ted Cruz, a conservative Christian and Tea Party hero; and Kentucky’s Rand Paul, a libertarian who is positioning himself as the candidate for young people.
The number of Russian universities will be cut by 40% by the end of 2016, according to Minister of Education and Science Dmitry Livanov. In addition, the number of university branches will be slashed by 80% in the same period.
Many of Malaysia’s private universities, including foreign branch campuses, are facing financial and managerial problems and more than half will experience financial distress as a result of recent changes to the national student loans scheme, according to a new report.
Jan Petter Myklebust
The University of Amsterdam called in the police on 11 April to forcibly remove protesting students and staff who had spent the previous six weeks occupying the university’s senate house – Maagdenhuis. More than 500 academics who have supported the students are now calling on the board to resign.
The federal government has launched a draft strategy in an effort to boost Australia's chances of attracting more foreign students and encouraging local students to look outside the country. But, faced with a massive budget deficit and falling mineral prices, the government is unable to guarantee it will actually achieve any of what it says is necessary.
Jan Petter Myklebust
Minnesota-born Professor Curt Rice has been appointed rector of the Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, the largest university college in Norway aspiring to become a university. Although a foreigner taking up a top post at a university in northern Europe is extremely rare, Rice told University World News that his origins were not an issue at the interview.
More than 400 university leaders and representatives from the European higher education sector met on 16 and 17 April at the annual conference of the European University Association, where Professor Rolf Tarrach, former rector of the trilingual University of Luxembourg, was elected president as the sole candidate for the position.
Jan Petter Myklebust
“Fantastic, professional, fun and inspiring! A great thanks to you! I will continue watching Crosstalks and spread the word!” That was Nina Kirchner, a senior lecturer in numerical ice sheet modeling at Stockholm University, telling the Crosstalks team what she thought after taking part in one of its monthly programmes called “Into the deep: The unknown territories and resources of the sea”.
The question of who should go to university is lurking behind Australia’s contentious funding and fees debate that has wracked higher education for the past year. This is also the issue that will determine how well higher education supports the nation’s future.