26 June 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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GLOBAL
Curbing the brain drain from Africa and Asia
Various studies have found that well-educated people from developing countries are likely to emigrate, hurting their economies and depriving their countries of much-needed expertise in universities. Now Norwegian researchers may have found a solution to the developing world’s brain-drain conundrum.
SOUTH AFRICA
Government post-school reforms fail business – Report
The South African government’s extensive reforms to the skills development and training system over the past decade have failed to deliver adequate skills to business, according to a new report. The focus has been on building supply-side capacity such as sector skills councils and qualifications frameworks and grading, at the expense of actually producing graduates with the necessary skills.
AFRICA
New Arusha convention sparks hopes for degree mobility
The recognition – or not – of qualifications when a student moves from one country to another has long caused headaches in the academic world and hampered the mobility of students, especially in developing or middle-income countries. UNESCO believes there was a breakthrough for Africa last December when 16 countries signed an amended version of the ‘Arusha Convention’ on the recognition of qualifications across the continent.
MOZAMBIQUE
Back to the future – Uneven changes in HE governance
After 10 years of being split under Armando Guebuza’s two terms as Mozambique’s head of state, under the new President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, higher education has been reunited with science and technology, and technical and professional education, in a newly established ministry. The ministry needs to institutionalise practices and coordinating structures, and to promote a more bottom-up approach with input from universities and other key stakeholders.
EGYPT
Alexandria professor’s year-long languish in prison
Dr Mohamed Abdelhamid Kharaba, an assistant professor of chemistry and physics at Egypt’s University of Alexandria, has been languishing in prison without trial for more than a year. Kharaba was arrested on 24 November 2013 and charged with crimes including murder during anti-government protests, and terrorism – accusations that he has denied.
SOUTH AFRICA
Top academics well paid, new generation falling behind
South Africa’s senior academics are better rewarded than comparable staff in the public and private sectors, and they are relatively better paid than lower-ranked lecturers, a study by the vice-chancellors' association Higher Education South Africa has revealed. This is good news for retaining senior staff but bad news for building the next generation of academics.
AFRICA
SKA mega-project boosts astronomy research and skills
The advanced technological skills required to run the Square Kilometre Array, or SKA – a mega-research project due to become fully operational in 2020 in South Africa and eight other African countries – are scarce in Africa. But efforts to rectify that are gathering momentum.
SOUTH AFRICA
New scientometrics centre connects science to society
The Centre of Excellence in Scientometrics and Science, Technology and Innovation Policy – SciSTIP – outlined fields of research and how it will carry out its work at a scientific launch conference held at Stellenbosch University in South Africa earlier this month. A major aim is to produce comprehensive reviews of science and technology – the first in 20 years.
MALI
World Bank plans for Mali’s tattered universities
The World Bank is developing a comprehensive project to rehabilitate Mali’s struggling public universities, which have been drained of highly qualified teaching staff, lack degree diversification and are housed in inappropriate rental spaces in the capital Bamako.
SIERRA LEONE
Ebola – Diary of an MSF epidemiologist in Sierra Leone
After leaving Freetown, capital of Ebola-plagued Sierra Leone, for the airport by hydrofoil, I reflected on how I felt when undertaking this route at the start of my journey. It was night, and there was no electricity. We were disorientated by sensory overload: while trying to become accustomed to the darkness and warm, humid air, we were also contemplating getting used to frequent hand-washing and keeping a distance between ourselves, not touching each other or objects if at all possible.
NIGERIA
Boko Haram fear grips campuses, displaces students
The recent attack by Boko Haram insurgents on a higher education institution in Kano, northern Nigeria’s biggest metropolis, prompted President Goodluck Jonathan to order security agencies to protect university campuses. Ongoing confrontation between the Islamist sect and the military has compelled some students in the north to relocate to other universities in the country and elsewhere in West Africa.
AFRICA
Sub-Saharan Africa’s share of global research rises
Research output in Sub-Saharan Africa has soared over the last 10 years – but it is still not adequate to fuel the region’s fast-growing economies – according to a report published last Tuesday by the World Bank and Elsevier. Crucially, it reveals that the region’s share of global research output is growing.
GLOBAL
ETH Zürich explores ‘future cities lab’ in Africa
Continental Europe’s leading research-intensive university ETH Zürich is exploring the idea of establishing a ‘future cities laboratory’ in Africa following the success of the Singapore-ETH Centre for Global Environmental Sustainability.
SOUTH AFRICA
Major survey of international students in South Africa
The first major study of international students in South Africa has found pull factors to be affordable fees, government subsidies for students from the region, proximity to home and cost of living, the strong reputation of higher education and currency of its qualifications, according to the survey’s authors professors Jenny J Lee and Chika Sehoole.
AFRICA
More research needed on China’s influence in Africa
For a continent where China is having a huge influence, there is very little awareness in Africa of all the implications, says the new acting head of an independent research centre on China-Africa relations in South Africa.
SOUTH AFRICA
Cape Town’s Across Africa online postgraduate courses
The University of Cape Town is sharpening its online learning strategy and is making moves to attract more students across Africa. The university has launched a series of postgraduate programmes that will bring together online education and face-to-face learning.
SOUTH AFRICA
Diversity, culture and support key to HE transformation
A review of equity and transformation initiatives in three South African universities, two decades after the advent of democracy, has highlighted the importance of diversity among staff, institutional cultures and support for emerging researchers. Strategies are needed to tackle the key challenge of increasing the output of quality postgraduates.
SOUTH AFRICA
Driving tertiary change through country partnerships
The recently published Driving Change – The Story of the South Africa Norway Tertiary Education Development Programme, edited by Dr Trish Gibbon, describes a successful development partnership that after 10 years had activities in 16 universities in seven Southern African countries. Why did it work? The reasons start with the shared principles and values of the two country partners.
NIGERIA
US diaspora scholars pledge help for home universities
Top Nigerian scientists based in the United States have entered into a formal agreement to assist universities at home, with a view to supporting postgraduate programmes. Academics in Nigeria have welcomed the move because of its potential positive multiplying effects.
AFRICA
World Bank calls for more entrepreneurship education
A new World Bank report has identified entrepreneurship education and training as a catalyst that could stimulate innovation and generate jobs among university graduates, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa where graduate unemployment rates are high. The burning question is whether entrepreneurship can actually be taught.
AFRICA
North Africa lags in ‘entrepreneurial’ universities
The Arab world, and especially North Africa, has been late in joining the ‘entrepreneurial’ movement in higher education, which strives to enhance youth and graduate employment and provide young people with the knowledge and skills to start their own businesses. This is the conclusion of a recent report on Reforming the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Post-Revolutionary Egypt and Tunisia.
AFRICA
African Innovation Outlook II – New science indicators
African Innovation Outlook II was launched recently, the second phase in an effort to produce regular and reliable indicators for planning and monitoring the state of science, technology and innovation across the continent. The number of countries participating nearly doubled from 19 in the first outlook exercise in 2010, to 35 countries in the second phase.
SOUTH AFRICA
New US-sponsored LGBTI teacher-training curriculum
Homophobia is a grim reality in much of Africa. Not only are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex – LGBTI – rights nonexistent in many countries, but penalties (including death and imprisonment) and more intense crack-downs (in Nigeria and Uganda, for example) are a harsh fact of life.
SOUTH SUDAN
Plans for higher education development – Once war ends
More than five months of fighting between the government and rebel forces in South Sudan has further devastated an already neglected higher education system. Two of the country’s five public universities fell in the path of some of the war’s heaviest clashes and have not reopened after the Christmas holiday. It is not known when – or if – classes will start again.
AFRICA
Governments frustrate knowledge vision – African Union
The African Union’s vision of a prosperous continent driven by a knowledge economy has been frustrated by many countries not making education a priority in development plans, according to the AU Outlook on Education Report 2014. The hard-hitting report says progress towards improving education access and quality at all levels has been too slow.