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.
Lecturers and researchers who have been on strike since February have met Prime Minister Raymond Ndong Sima to try to find a solution to the critical situation in higher education institutions in Gabon.
Angola needs nearly two-and-a-half million graduate managers by 2020 to respond to economic development priorities in the fast-growing Southern African country, according to economist Manuel Nunes Júnior.
More than half of 539 Tunisian candidates found cheating in the school-leaving baccalauréat examination were using mobile phones, and one was caught using a camera fitted into his spectacles, according to Abdelhafidh Abidi, director general of examinations in the Ministry of Education.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Confrontations between students and police in three separate incidents at higher education institutions in Kasaï-Oriental province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have resulted in the deaths of two students and a number of injuries.
An appeal to annul disciplinary action for campus violence against 16 students from the University of Koudougou in Burkina Faso – 14 of whom were excluded – has been postponed until 25 April. The events last year led to demonstrations and fighting between striking and non-striking students and staff.
Students at two higher education institutions in Gabon’s capital Libreville have barricaded access to their campuses in protest against non-payment of grants, and other grievances.
The government in Madagascar has ordered back-payment of grant money owed to students studying abroad – some of whom have not been paid for more than a year.
Pharmacy graduates who studied in Eastern Europe have protested against being ordered to take an examination before their qualifications were recognised as equivalent to the national diploma. The timing meant they missed the deadline to apply for public sector posts.
A frame of reference for quality self-assessment has been agreed for 10 universities in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia under the Aqi-Umed project, part of the European Commission’s Tempus programme.
Standards of quality assurance adapted to the economic needs of states and recognised at an international level were the theme of a conference of REESAO, the Network for Excellence of Higher Education in West Africa, in Dakar in January.
Students in the science and technical faculty at the University Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar went on strike in protest against new criteria for selection to masters courses. They were demanding the right of all bachelor degree graduates to have access.