23 March 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Charting a course for intellectual property rights
Africa's experience with intellectual property rights is dismal and in urgent need of re-evaluation. Not many dispute the observation that 'for more than a century, African states have participated in IPR regimes with little or nothing to show for it in terms of economic development and transfer of technology'.
The promise of open, distance and e-learning
There is no doubt that open, distance and e-learning has huge potential in Africa to contribute to economic growth and poverty eradication, and to address social injustices and inequalities. But realising its potential depends on a sober assessment of ODeL as one variable among many factors in local and international post-secondary school contexts.
'Soft power' proof of the pudding – Not in the branding
The new approach to global partnership will not prevail simply by tampering with nomenclature. Rather, the conversation needs to sharply focus on how higher education stakeholders engage in proactively shaping the new cooperation paradigm.
Europe’s role in supporting a rising Africa
What should Europe’s role be in revitalising African higher education? A recent seminar highlighted some of the issues, including the fact that African higher education has always been very international and account needs to be taken of disparities between countries.
Where to from here for the African PhD?
There is broad agreement that Africa needs tens of thousands more PhDs, to renew an ageing professoriate and to staff rapidly expanding higher education, boost research and generate the high-level skills growing economies need. How is this to be achieved? Last week African university leaders and experts thrashed out a range of proposals, including on networks and collaboration, supervision incentives and the diaspora, political support and funding.
Confronting global knowledge production inequities
The research environment in the global South faces many pressing challenges, given resource inequality. Technical and financial issues aside, the values and practices shaped by the Northern research agenda contribute just as much to the imbalance.
Quality regimes in Africa – Reality and aspirations
Since the middle of 2000, a number of initiatives have been launched in Africa to develop common frameworks for comparable and compatible qualifications, to promote academic mobility. Quality and quality assurance play a crucial role in these initiatives. There have been achievements – but there are also major challenges and questions that require further attention.
PASET – A World Bank initiative for skills development
A workshop held in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on 8-10 July brought together high-level representatives from nine African countries and four emerging economic powers – China, Korea, India and Brazil. It was aimed at creating a major, multi-country Partnership in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology – PASET.
Universities are engines of continent’s development
In the light of Africa Day celebrations on 25 May and the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity – predecessor to the African Union – it is timely to look at the role of higher education in ensuring that the continent’s rapid economic progress results in sustained human development.
China in African education – A force for good?
China’s role in education in Africa is growing, with a recent focus on building capacity in science and technology and on promoting research that can improve people’s livelihoods. But these activities could be under threat if China reproduces the same patterns of dependency associated with North-South cooperation.
Collaboration key to tackling looming skills shortage
Libya faces rising demand for skilled workers in the oil and gas industry. Industry and higher education must work together to come up with relevant training that equips workers of the future with the right skills for the jobs that will need doing. Western universities are needed as partners in building Libya’s training resources.
Regulatory overkill threatens academic autonomy
Are all South African universities in systemic crisis? One would imagine so, given the recent legislative and policy actions of Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande. In recent months, he has been responsible for three sets of regulatory interventions, all of which erode university autonomy.
Need for a new HE focus on innovation and creativity
Libyan higher education and research has suffered from decades of censorship, negligence and corruption and is poorly funded and underdeveloped. A drive for creativity, innovation and commercialisation is urgently needed.
Open access to knowledge will boost development
Open access can help Africa to address its developmental challenges by moving the continent from the periphery of knowledge production to the centre. And the growth of open access on the continent signifies that Africa is ready to lead itself and its sciences deeper into the 21st century.
e-Learning has the potential to solve the skills gap
Over the past decade, Africa has experienced unparalleled economic growth, putting the continent on a pedestal to become the next growth frontier. Development experts predict that economies in Africa will continue to grow at an average of 6% even while the rest of the world is facing an economic slump.
Sustainable development – How are universities faring?
A survey of universities in Sub-Saharan Africa revealed some commitment to and activity around sustainable development, though only among public institutions. Much more needs to be done, and help is required in specific areas. African universities are revitalising, and it is important that they integrate the promotion of sustainable development into that process.
African Quality Rating Mechanism
The African Quality Rating Mechanism was developed as part of the African Union’s strategy to harmonise higher education. A survey was undertaken to gather information on and self-assessments by universities across Africa, but the response was disappointing and the methodology flawed, and there will be challenges in moving beyond the pilot phase.
Harmonisation and tuning: Integrating higher education
The harmonisation of higher education in Africa is a multidimensional process that promotes the integration of tertiary systems in the region. The objective is to achieve collaboration across borders – in curriculum development, standards and quality assurance, joint structural convergence and consistency of systems as well as compatibility, recognition and transferability of degrees to facilitate mobility.
Universities must engage in outreach-based research
Community outreach-based activities and research should be at the core of university curricula. Much needs to be done to encourage universities in Africa to adopt this approach and to develop innovative ways of doing so.
Mobile teaching assistance provides a model for teaching
A joint project in Tanzania between an NGO founded by Stanford's chief technology officer and Holy Family University could provide a model for teaching. It involves the use of mobile teaching technology that enhances student learning and encourages creative and innovative approaches to their education.
Rethinking post-school education and skills training
A high-impact 2009 study into post-school youth in South Africa introduced the concept of ‘not in education, employment or training’, or NEET, which became firmly entrenched in the education jargon. It found that a shocking 2.8 million people aged between 18 and 24 years were ‘NEETs’.
Higher education challenges of racism and access
Although admissions figures for black students and numbers of black staff have improved in the post-apartheid era, many black people still feel excluded within the university system and there are problems with a lack of available places to meet the demand for higher education.
Viewing post-school education from a youth perspective
In January 2012 South Africa was shocked to hear of the death of a mother at the gates of the University of Johannesburg. Gloria Sekwena had returned from her job in the United Kingdom to make sure that her school-leaving son, Kgotsisile, would find a place at the university.
Universities, adrift for years, must now get a grip
Properly and thoroughly implementing the recommendations arising out of the recent universities audit by the Commission for University Education presents an opportunity to restore the reputation of the country's university system.
The humanities – Looking the past in the eye
Explaining the past and understanding an increasingly uncertain future in South African universities requires that the ideological underpinnings of every intellectual past in the humanities be unravelled.