USAID recently launched a strategic framework for building the capacity of African higher education institutions and systems. Research has indicated that the social and private rates of return for tertiary investments in Sub-Saharan Africa are among the highest in the world.
The civil war that devastated Somalia also closed down Somali National University in the capital Mogadishu. But thanks to the determination of a group of academics a new institution arose out of the ashes, the private, non-profit Mogadishu University. From an initial student intake of 225 in 1997, the university has grown to 6,000 students.
A World Bank assessment of Sub-Saharan Africa's high-level skills has revealed critical shortages in both numbers and quality – and African universities must share the blame for not meeting the workforce needs of the continent.
The University of Professional Studies, Accra, is determined to make its mark on the international scene through quality assurance, says Vice-chancellor Joshua Alabi. “We were the only African university to subject ourselves to two major programmes – the African Quality Rating Mechanism and Europe's Institutional Evaluation Programme.”
Botswana’s first private university, the Malaysian-owned Limkokwing University of Creative Technology – Limkokwing Botswana – has continued to flex its muscles in this diamond-rich Southern Africa nation, taking advantage of a fast growing tertiary education sector.
The room has only three simple beds and a roughly hewn coffee table with an overflowing ashtray, some A4 notebooks and a lot of dust. It is one of 16 student rooms built in a block on a minute piece of land surrounded by a barbed wire fence at Chuka University, until a year ago a former constituent college of Kenya’s Egerton University.
Should governments in East Africa create laws compelling the private sector to offer internships to students, to enable them to gain practical experience in their fields of study – or should a more cooperative approach guide relations between universities and industry?
Namibia’s President Hifikipunye Pohamba officiated at a groundbreaking ceremony for a long-awaited campus of the University of Namibia in Keetmanshoop. The new campus, 500 kilometres south of the capital Windhoek, will be the 12th set up under an ambitious initiative to take higher education closer to the people and achieve more equitable access.
At the height of winter in Southern Africa, a major historical society meeting was held in Botswana following the theme “All for One, One for All? Leveraging national interests with regional visions in Southern Africa”. It was the first time in 48 years that the Southern African Historical Society had met outside South Africa.
The increasing demand for access to higher education in East African countries has opened opportunities for universities to develop robust distance education programmes, according to University of Nairobi Vice-chancellor Professor George Magoha.
After losing out to local universities in the battle to attract East African students, India’s robust higher education sector is back in the region and determined to reclaim its place as a leading destination for African students.
Analysis of scientific trends can help policy-makers identify areas where cutting-edge science and development priorities collide. These are likely to be crucial areas where, in scarce-resource contexts, investments might make the most difference.
After a tumultuous academic year because of a teachers’ strike during eight of its 25 weeks, the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar – Senegal’s biggest university – finds itself again in the eye of a storm.
Five years ago, former Mozambican president Joachim Chissano paid a visit to Arusha in Tanzania. It was a step towards establishing an important postgraduate training and research institution – the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology, which was officially opened this month.
The African Virtual University is a pan-African intergovernmental organisation operating in 27 countries. “We work with more than 50 universities across Africa,” says Rector Dr Bakary Diallo of the institution with a vision to be the continent’s leading open, distance and e-learning network.
The African Development Bank has opened dialogue on its first human capital development strategy, which focuses on higher education among other sectors. A stakeholder consultation was held in Djibouti from 9-10 September, following a regional dialogue in Burkina Faso in July.
The University of Namibia, established two years after independence in 1990, marked its 20th anniversary this month. Speaking at the celebrations, Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba said the university had exceeded expectations in training human resources for socio-economic development.
Poverty-related diseases are a major concern worldwide and several initiatives have been put in place to help fight the scourge. The latest involves seven higher education institutions from six countries – including four West African nations – under the banner of the Institute for Infectious Diseases of Poverty.
A leading university in Kenya has embarked on an ambitious plan to offer postgraduate courses in climate change and adaptation. The emphasis will be on transdisciplinarity, with the research aiming to help those feeling the impact of climate change to develop survival and adaptation systems.
At the beginning of this year, Denis Tumwesigye Kyetere moved from Uganda to Kenya to take over as executive director of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation. He is one of many Ugandan academics who have moved abroad in search of better remuneration.
The victory last October of the moderate Islamist party Ennahda (‘Renaissance’) in Tunisia's first election since the revolution intensified the controversy that was already brewing over women students opting to wear the niqab, or full face veil, on university campuses.
Significant new reforms are on the horizon for Algeria’s universities. Efforts are being made to ratchet up public funding and raise standards, with the government planning to spend US$1.48 billion on higher education and science over the next five years and to double research spending to 1% of gross domestic product.
On 5 January Tunisian Salafists, ultra-conservative Muslims, ended a weeks-long protest at Manouba University's faculty of letters, arts and humanities that had forced the institution to close. It is expected to reopen next week. The case has highlighted the implications of democratic changes in the Arab world for academic freedom in universities.
A government commission has been created in Mauritania with the aim of reforming the country's higher education system, which has been riven by poor quality and splits between its French- and Arabic-speaking teaching and students.