With Madagascan universities due to adopt the university degree system based on the Bologna process by 2015, the country’s biggest university – Antananarivo – is preparing to switch to the new structure of three, five and eight years of higher education.
Unrest broke out at the University of Thiès in Senegal, where students were demanding grants that had not been paid for four months. And in Togo’s capital Lomé, police dispersed a student meeting with teargas. Three students were arrested and several injured.
Students in Benin fear a wasted year as lecturers at public universities on an indefinite strike threaten to invalidate the 2013-14 academic year if the government does not accept their demands.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has become the latest member of the African Virtual University, the pan-African intergovernmental organisation mandated to increase access to higher education through online and distance learning.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has appointed the country’s first female higher education minister, Dr Olivia Muchena.
The University of Nyala in Sudan received US$500,000 from the African Development Bank this month to conduct research on the genes of the country’s livestock.
Unemployed graduates have been demonstrating in the Senegalese capital Dakar against the government’s failure to provide them with jobs.
Fifty students in Burkina Faso who were arrested during violent demonstrations against the closure of university services during the holidays have been granted provisional release by the Ouagadougou appeal court. Meanwhile students’ parents have called for the closed facilities to be reopened.
Indian scientist Ashok Kumar Bakshi is to take over as the new director of the Tertiary Education Commission – and he reportedly faces an early problem concerning recognition of private Indian universities in Mauritius.
University of Mauritius Vice-chancellor Ramesh Rughooputh – the fifth to have been appointed in just four years – has been dismissed with immediate effect. He was accused by the board of having “tarnished" the university’s reputation.
As some parts of UCAD, the Université Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, are finalising the 2012-13 academic year, for masters students in the faculty of law and politics the year has only just begun.
Students, academics and administrative personnel at the University of Antananarivo turned out in strength to protest against the sale of most of the university’s campus to a private company for development as a golf course.
Côte d’Ivoire’s public treasury has failed to replenish the funds of at least two higher education institutions for the past six months, leading to a hunger strike by students at one and researchers being unable to carry out their work at the other.
The Madagascan government will repatriate some of the students who have been studying in China but have not received their grants for 16 months or more, the Higher Education Ministry has announced.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Scientific staff employed by the Ministry of Higher and University Education have called an unlimited strike across the country, following lack of government response to demands over pay differentials and employment irregularities.
The bodies representing the medical professions in Cameroon have persuaded the government to close down sub-standard private medical institutes and have called for the introduction of a common entrance examination, to ensure quality training. Meanwhile, a lecturers’ union has called a strike to protest over police action against 10 of its members.
Tunisia is planning to expand its medical training and research facilities with the creation of a new pharmacy faculty, the opening of medical and dental faculties in the country’s interior, and three new research laboratories at the University of Monastir.
Universities in Madagascar must announce individually when they will start their new academic year, following disruption caused by strikes that has resulted in the University of Antananarivo only now completing its 2011-12 year.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Police used teargas to break up violent fighting between students of the University of Kinshasa and local ‘kuluna’ gang members, when the students retaliated for attacks the gang had made on some of them.
A new centre for research and development has opened in Louga, as part of a programme in Senegal to set up centres in all regions to develop local scientific knowledge and skills and technology transfer. In a separate initiative Fortica, a youth entrepreneurship project, will focus on teaching ICT skills to 2,000 young people.
As the Ford Foundation’s 10-year International Fellowships Program comes to an end, a closing ceremony at the West African Research Centre in Dakar, which hosted the initiative in the region, took stock of its operations, which included the awarding of 385 research grants in three West African countries.
The American agency USAID has awarded excellence grants to 125 Senegalese agriculture students and scientists to research food security, while a partnership has been struck between École Polytechnique de Thiès and the French Idyal Group to enable students of computer engineering to do theoretical and practical work-linked studies.
A two-year agreement to collaborate on higher education and research into bioethics has been signed by the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, the University of Montreal in Canada and the universities of Abomey-Calavi in Cotonou, Bénin, and Alassane Ouattara in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire.
The faculty of sciences at Agostinho Neto University in Luanda and the Chevron-Cabinda Gulf Oil Company have signed a memorandum of understanding to expand the university’s studies in Earth sciences.
Morocco and France have forged a series of higher education and research agreements, including the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean international technology institute, a lifelong learning institution and projects in the fields of health, engineering, management and architecture. Meanwhile, Tunisia and Italy are establishing a marine biotechnology partnership.