23 March 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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SOUTH AFRICA
Addressing language barriers is key to student success
By focusing on the quality of their note-taking in and out of class, researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, have established that poor English language competence is hindering the academic performance of a significant number of undergraduate students for whom the language is not their mother tongue.
NIGERIA
Academics reject local language plan for sciences
In a rare show of solidarity, university teachers on almost all campuses of both public and private universities throughout the country have rejected a ministerial proposal that science be taught in three indigenous languages commencing at primary school level.
CANADA-ETHIOPIA
Partnership offers a lifeline to students with disabilities
In Ethiopia it is difficult for young people living with disabilities to succeed at university. Even if they gain access to institutions they face enormous challenges once there. A new inclusive higher education initiative is aiming to change that.
SOUTH AFRICA
Universities hope for more stable academic year
While it is unlikely that South Africa will escape student unrest at the start of the 2017 academic year, authorities are hoping such action will be moderated by the progress made in addressing some of the key challenges that sparked and sustained last year’s violent and highly disruptive protests over fee-free higher education.
AFRICA
North Africa women researcher share among world highest
The overall share of women researchers at universities and science centres in North Africa is above world, European and developed country averages, a study has revealed.
AFRICA
Research and education internet networks on rise in Africa
Nine African countries have successfully established a sustainable National Research and Education Network promoting internet access to global educational resources and facilitating interaction at national and regional levels among universities and research institutions – boosting research productivity over the last decade.
AFRICA-JAPAN
South Africa, Japan universities unite for development
Collaboration between South African and Japanese universities should become a catalyst for sustainable development in South Africa and across the African continent. It would also play an enormous role in the realisation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 – a programme aspiring to create prosperity through inclusive growth and sustainable development.
SOUTH AFRICA
Higher education struggles in an emerging democracy
The evolutionary growth of the university in the 21st century is affected by enormous challenges and the possibility of problems being addressed is constrained by national politics, bureaucracy and resource limitations that threaten the equality of the global academy, says Professor Adam Habib, vice-chancellor of South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand.
SOMALIA
Proliferation of universities brings mixed fortunes
As guns continue to fall silent in Somalia’s waning civil conflict, exponential growth has been witnessed in the higher education sector. But there are mixed reviews of the quality of education offered by the country’s new independent universities.
SOUTH AFRICA
Data-intensive research capacity boosted ahead of SKA
A consortium of institutions in South Africa has been formed to establish a Western Cape Data Intensive Research Facility as part of the country’s National Integrated Cyberinfrastructure System. The aim is to dramatically increase data-intensive research capacity ahead of the global astronomy research initiative, the Square Kilometre Array or SKA.
GLOBAL
Meeting mulls future of ‘prestigious’ scholarship plan
A consultative meeting at the recent Association of Commonwealth Universities conference in Ghana gave university representatives from across the Commonwealth an opportunity to air their views on the present operation and visibility of the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, and offer ideas for its future development.
GHANA
New kinds of councils needed for evolving universities
About a decade ago, Clifford Tagoe was just weeks into his new position as vice-chancellor of the University of Ghana when he made a radical proposal. The university’s academic programming had deteriorated. Its governance was in disarray and there was institution-wide examination malpractice. Ghana’s oldest and most prestigious university was in a shambles.
GLOBAL
Countering growing global divisions in higher education
In a tumultuous time of deepening divisions and inequalities, in higher education and in societies globally, it is imperative for universities to advance ‘responsible internationalisation’ and collaboration aimed at creating a better world rather than just promoting self-interest, says Leonard Engel, executive director of the European Association for International Education.
AFRICA
MOOCs have a massive potential market in Africa
Nigerian Ambassador to UNESCO Mariam Y Katagum, a member of the governing board of the Commonwealth of Learning, answers questions on the opportunities and challenges facing the provision of MOOCs – massive open online courses – in Africa.
SOUTH AFRICA
Universities of technology eye rich prospects in waste
South African universities of technology are positioning themselves as critical partners in what is considered a fairly new but highly relevant area of research, innovation and job creation: waste recycling and management, an industry conservatively estimated by the government to be worth R25 billion (US$1.6 billion) per annum.
AFRICA
Iconic university celebrates 100 years amid challenges
Former South African president Nelson Mandela wrote in his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom that for young black South Africans like himself, the University of Fort Hare was “Oxford and Cambridge, Harvard and Yale, all rolled into one”.
NIGERIA
Vice-chancellors unite to strengthen higher education
There is growing collaboration between the vice-chancellors of 143 Nigerian federal, state and private universities, as well as with African and international associations, as leaders unite to develop and internationalise their institutions, says Professor Michael Faborode, secretary general of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities.
AFRICA
Africa needs ‘innovation universities’ to develop – Juma
Africa must create ‘innovation universities’ if it is to achieve economic transformation, sustainable development and inclusive growth, says Calestous Juma, professor of the practice of international development at Harvard’s John F Kennedy School of Government. Universities should combine research, teaching, outreach and commercialisation in a coordinated way.
SOUTH AFRICA
Rhodes student ‘rape’ protests end but debates continue
Student protests at Rhodes University, nestled in the small South African town of Grahamstown, ended with the resumption of lectures last Monday after a week of dramatic disruption and disturbances over a ‘rape culture’ at the institution – but the conversation is far from over.
AFRICA
Universities need new funding models and African donors
Faced with donor fatigue and declining public funding, universities across Sub-Saharan Africa should search for new models of financing specific initiatives such as hubs for research and innovation. One proposal from higher education experts gathered in Nairobi recently was to tap Africa’s growing number of billionaires.
SOUTH AFRICA
Research – Creative responses in a hostile environment
“When the students are at the gate, it’s too late for polite discussion. We need a realistic acknowledgement of what we confront,” said Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor at a recent Research and Innovation Dialogue. Challenges to research were laid bare and hard decisions made – including the need for universities to specialise.
SOUTH AFRICA
Learning lessons abroad on funding research, innovation
“In South Africa universities contribute 2.1% of gross domestic product – more than textiles and forestry – and they employ 300,000 people which puts them on a par with the mining industry.” Such comparisons could change perceptions of the sector as it strives to boost international competitiveness in research and innovation, says Professor Anastassios Pouris.
AFRICA
Ambitious plans for new African Leadership University
The African Leadership University, launched in Mauritius last month with the aim of training Africa’s future leaders, has huge ambitions – to build 25 campuses across the continent and train three million leaders in five decades. It has partnered with Scotland’s Glasgow Caledonian University to award internationally recognised degrees to graduates.
AFRICA
More graduate study, new facilities for top university
Somaliland’s Minister of Education and Higher Studies Abdillahi Ibrahim Habane was among 75 students who graduated last month with a masters degree in international relations and diplomacy from the University of Hargeisa, the country’s largest higher education institution. He extolled the virtues of lifelong learning.
AFRICA
‘Village universities’ expand access, but lower quality
The late Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere’s view of the university as a place where people’s minds are trained for independent thinking and problem solving at the highest level remained unchallenged for half a century in East Africa. But according to new studies, Kenya and Uganda are now shifting to the marketisation of higher education.