29 April 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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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.
AFRICA
Maghreb expands HE, reverses gender gap – AU report
Countries that are members of the Arab Maghreb Union in North Africa have on average made greater strides in expanding tertiary education than their counterparts in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to an African Union regional report on education.
GLOBAL
Higher education challenges post-2015 – UNESCO
Unequal access to university education is likely to persist in most countries globally despite concerted attempts to expand opportunities by 2030, according to a UNESCO Position Paper on Education Post-2015. It warns that the problem will not be limited to scarcity of places: there will also be a knowledge divide caused by lack of chances to acquire skills in technology.
AFRICA
Higher education could help solve the job crisis
Graduate unemployment rates have spiralled across Sub-Saharan Africa as too few graduates gain the skills needed to find work. In many countries employers complain of a lack of basic, technical and transferable skills, says a new report by the British Council.
KENYA
Student numbers soar by 35%, university funding lags
Kenya’s public universities admitted record numbers of students last year, beating their fast-growing private sector rivals and defying infrastructure constraints that have been dogging them. New data from the government shows that enrolments to state universities rose by 41%, from 195,428 in 2012 to 276,349 by the end of last year.
KENYA
Slick student leader denies ‘dirty’ campaign tactics
Babu Owino is easily the most popular of Kenya’s 325,000 tertiary students. He’s been elected to lead the Students Organisation of Nairobi University and also chairs the national student umbrella body. But the reason he’s attracting public interest is because Owino mounted the most colourful, well-oiled and high profile campaign ever seen in student politics.
BURUNDI
Czech academic heads new regional university
A new university has opened in northeast Burundi, committed to promoting higher education and research for rural development in the long-suffering Great Lakes region. "Building peace, prosperity and hope is the important message of our university," said the first rector of East Africa Star University, Czech philosopher Dr Marek Hrubec.
KENYA
France to partner in loans to students, universities
Kenya has signed a ground-breaking partnership with French public financier Agence Francaise de Developpement that intends to set up credit lines to fund university expansion and student loans.
SOUTH AFRICA
The contribution of universities to the economy
Government expenditure on South Africa's universities should be boosted by 40% and an additional R3 billion (US$288 million) invested annually in research and development in higher education institutions if the country aims only to be on a par with world averages, according to a new study.