30 September 2016 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Thoughts and experiences of African university leaders
____This special Africa edition, “Thoughts and experiences of African university leaders”, is aimed at promoting good leadership in universities in Africa and elsewhere. It will comprise a series of interviews with vice-chancellors and others with deep knowledge of higher education in a variety of Sub-Saharan African countries. The articles will be published monthly from February 2012 to April 2013.
____There will also be responses from other leaders and scholars published in the parallel ‘debate’ column, to encourage discussion around university leadership and to expand the number and diversity of contributors. The special edition page will grow as new interviews and responses are added to it, and once completed it will remain a permanent page on the University World News website.
____It has been argued that one way to learn about leadership is to receive advice from successful leaders based on their experiences and wisdom, especially if they work in the same field. This is the rationale for the series and for an interview approach that captures the personalities and backgrounds and leadership styles of strong leaders, the challenges they have faced and the actions they taken to make their institutions and higher education systems more effective.
____The series has been made possible by a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, whose strategic approach to supporting higher education in Africa includes university leadership development and strengthening the next generation of academics.
Karen McGregorGlobal Editor
Current Interview
Leading Ibadan, Africa’s prolific PhD producer
Isaac Folorunso Adewole
University of Ibadan
Tunde Fatunde
The University of Ibadan is Nigeria’s premier institution, producing 3,000 postgraduates a year. Vice-chancellor Isaac Folorunso Adewole told University World News he had moved from being a “strategic” to a consensual leader.
Interviews
Top-ranked university goes 'Afropolitan'
Max Price
University of Cape Town
Karen MacGregor
Professor Max Price has led Africa's top-ranked university for four years. The University of Cape Town's vision is to be 'Afropolitan' and it is also highly international, with nearly 20% of students and 25% of academics from outside South Africa. Price told University World News what the institution is doing right.
Mahmood Mamdani – An intellectual leader in Africa
Josh Kron
The role of senior academics in leading higher education is more difficult to define than that of vice-chancellors. But some are arguably so prominent that they inspire change – and such is the case with Mahmood Mamdani, renowned commentator on African history, politics and society.
Women’s university v-c plans to expand across Africa
Hope Sadza
Women's University in Africa
Kudzai Mashininga
Founding a successful private women’s university within a patriarchal society in a failed state is difficult, to say the least. But Hope Sadza’s ambition is bigger than that – to open campuses of the Zimbabwe-based Women’s University in Africa across the continent.
Steady hand on flagship university’s tiller of change
Ernest Aryeetey
University of Ghana
Karen MacGregor
With a career enriched by international experience, first as a student in Germany and then in academic networks, Ernest Aryeetey has steered the flagship University of Ghana steadily into the wider world since becoming vice-chancellor two years ago. This, and the pursuit of excellence through change, define his leadership.
How Kenyatta’s leader shattered the glass ceiling
Olive Mugenda
Kenyatta University
Gilbert Nganga
Olive Mugenda is vice-chancellor of Kenyatta University, Kenya’s second largest institution by student numbers. For years she knocked on the doors of management, quietly but very persistently. When they opened, she entered enthusiastically – and made a major impact. She spoke to University World News for the latest in our article series on African university leaders.
Transforming an apartheid relic
Jonathan Jansen
University of the Free State
Karen MacGregor
Four years ago a racist video filmed by white male students at the University of the Free State shocked the world. The first black vice-chancellor of this once-conservative Afrikaner bastion in South Africa’s heartland, Jonathan Jansen, has brought about remarkable change since taking office.
Oncologist brings dynamic change to university
Dr Charles Olweny
Uganda Martyrs University
Andrew Green
Dr Charles Olweny, a globe-trotting oncologist who trained and worked on four continents, decided seven years ago to leave Canada and return home to lead Uganda Martyrs University, a private Catholic institution. His leadership strategy is guided by five core principles, he said in the latest of a series on African university leaders.
Leadership a balancing act
Cheryl de la Rey
University of Pretoria
Karen MacGregor
Cheryl de la Rey, a professor of psychology, notched up several firsts when she became vice-chancellor of South Africa’s large University of Pretoria in 2009 – the first woman, the first black person and the first English-speaker. It seems the university was ripe for change, as she faced no opposition on any of these fronts. De la Rey spoke to University World News for this first in a new series of articles on African university leaders.
Managing a university on the rise – Nairobi
George Magoha
University of Nairobi
Gilbert Nganga
When it comes to publicity, Professor George Magoha is shy. The vice-chancellor of the University of Nairobi rarely grants an interview or calls a press conference to announce a strategic shift. He believes being too public a leader could be a blunder for Kenya’s premier university.
Africa News
SOUTH AFRICA
Students protest over 8% tuition fees hike decision
Munyaradzi Makoni
Several universities in South Africa shut down or faced disruptions as student protests erupted in the wake of last Monday’s long-awaited recommendation by Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande to allow universities to raise fees for 2017 by up to 8%.
ALGERIA
Higher education hit by plagiarism scandals
Laeed Zaghlami
Plagiarism has been taboo for some and an open secret for others in Algeria, but is today a scandal that no one can deny – even though Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research officials are trying to minimise the problem. Some flagrant examples of plagiarism have emerged into the public sphere, and they appear to be the tip of the iceberg.
AFRICA
Virtual Institute for Higher Education in Africa reopens
Ard Jongsma
In January 2017, the Virtual Institute for Higher Education in Africa will reopen its digital doors with a new set of free courses to help African university lecturers face the challenges they meet in their everyday work.
AFRICA
Bertrand Mbatchi takes 2016 quality assurance award
Ard Jongsma
The 2016 GUNi Africa-AfriQAN award for distinguished service to quality assurance in higher education in Africa has been awarded to Professor Bertrand Mbatchi, secretary-general of CAMES, the African and Malagasy Council for Higher Education.
GLOBAL
Global clearinghouse for refugee student scholarships
A new global clearinghouse to identify scholarships and opportunities and connect refugee students with resources they can use anywhere in the world was announced at the Institute of International Education in New York on Thursday.
MALAWI
Student loans board demands repayments from 1985
Malawi is implementing a law on student loans passed last year that will see more students in need of financial help at both public and private institutions receiving aid, while those who were assisted as far back as 1985 have been told to repay the money.
NIGERIA
Controversy over university entrance tests cancellation
Tunde Fatunde
Recently-appointed Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board Executive Registrar Professor Is-Haq Oloyede faces a tough job as controversy continues around the cancellation of the Post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, a quality assurance examination conducted by individual universities to screen prospective students.
MAURITIUS
Ukraine and Russia dropped from medical studies list
Jane Marshall
A decision by the Medical Council of Mauritius to exclude Ukraine and Russia from its list of education centres approved to teach medicine has been condemned by the president of the Medical and Health Officers' Association, Dr Wassim Ballam, and the Ukrainian honorary consul, Dr Abdool Mohaboob Kureemun.
ZIMBABWE
Robert Mugabe’s wife to build a university in his name
Kudzai Mashininga
Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe is planning to build Robert Mugabe University in honour of her husband, who is one of the world’s most educated presidents.
Africa Features
SOMALIA
Proliferation of universities brings mixed fortunes
Ramadan Rajab
As guns continue to fall silent in Somalia’s waning civil conflict, exponential growth has been witnessed in the higher education sector. But there are mixed reviews of the quality of education offered by the country’s new independent universities.
SOUTH AFRICA
Data-intensive research capacity boosted ahead of SKA
Ochieng’ O Benny
A consortium of institutions in South Africa has been formed to establish a Western Cape Data Intensive Research Facility as part of the country’s National Integrated Cyberinfrastructure System. The aim is to dramatically increase data-intensive research capacity ahead of the global astronomy research initiative, the Square Kilometre Array or SKA.
Africa Briefs
ALGERIA
Plan to open universities to their ‘surroundings’
As more than 1.6 million students prepared to start the new academic year in Algeria, Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister Tahar Hadjar announced a development plan to open universities to their surroundings.
NIGER
Lecturers hold second strike to claim pay arrears
Lecturer-researchers from Niger’s public universities were last week due to carry out a seven-day strike – the second this month – over salary and research allowance payments that they claim are in arrears.

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