22 October 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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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.
Private higher education – An atypical case
As enrolment in private sector higher education increases in Ethiopia, policy choices about how supportively or restrictively to handle private higher education will assume increasing importance.
Reversing the decline in higher education
In order to regain its standing, Uganda’s higher education sector needs to be modernised. It also needs much better funding.
University gender affirmative action – Time for a change
Despite the fact that women outnumber men at the University of Zimbabwe, there are few female engineering students. It may be time to rethink the institution’s gender affirmative action policy.
Universities offer lessons in survival strategies
South Sudan's higher education system is one of the most poorly funded government sectors and faces a myriad challenges including infrastructural inadequacy and staff shortages. Nonetheless it is employing coping strategies which offer invaluable lessons for comparable higher education systems in (post-)conflict contexts.
Unmasking the doctorate
The significance of the doctorate has been both overemphasised and underemphasised in dominant conceptualisations, with implications for how we understand the purpose and value of this important qualification.
Facing up to the challenge of scholarship in Africa
Decolonising the mind – and the university – requires African scholars not to reject Western thinkers like Kant and Hegel but to go beyond them and push the frontiers of knowledge further.
Intellectual sovereignty – Shifting the centre of gravity
African academic endeavours must accept the fact that the centre of gravity of knowledge production about Africa and Africans must be situated in Africa, so that the ‘otherness’ of the subject of scholarship which Western hegemony has imposed on Africa and Africans is eliminated.

Preparing school leavers for what lies beyond
A non-governmental organisation is helping to boost the eligibility of matriculants for university entrance and other further education and training opportunities.
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.
Student interests suffer as unions pursue party agendas
Student unionism in Zimbabwe has become synonymous with party politics, compromising the unions’ ability to represent students and causing a great number of tertiary students who want nothing to do with party politics to actually shun national unions.
No easy way out of the higher education ‘trilemma’
Governments face a ‘trilemma’ in higher education policy as they can always only reach two out of three politically desirable goals – low public costs, low private costs (tuition fees), and mass access.

World-class or flagship – Which way for universities?
In their pursuit of competitiveness, higher education institutions across Africa set themselves the target of becoming ‘world class’, and labels such as a ‘world-class African university’ are not uncommon in their mission statements.

Climate change curriculum – One step closer to harmonisation
While the potential of regional cooperation to develop and strengthen Africa’s higher education sector has long been recognised on paper, progress towards its actualisation has been slow. Against this backdrop, the introduction next year of a Southern Africa masters curriculum in climate change and development represents an important test case for future academic harmonisation.
Are protesting university students burning memory?
Since the bonfire of artworks at the University of Cape Town earlier this year, fire as a weapon of protest has spread throughout South Africa’s higher education system, and rekindled beyond. But when the portraits of the ‘colonials’ have been burnt, the timeless questions remain.