Kenya has enacted higher education reforms aimed at streamlining and improving the management of university affairs. The Universities Act 2012, finally signed into law by President Mwai Kibaki this month, introduces far-reaching changes.
Higher education in Nigeria is in crisis and one of the causes is the lack of a ‘social contract’, according to a recent high-level policy dialogue. It resolved to hold a biannual summit involving all stakeholders in forging a common front aimed at tackling challenges facing the sector.
The Ethiopian government’s Higher Education Relevance and Quality Agency is to implement new measures designed to raise standards in universities. The initiative comes amid major concerns about the state of the country’s fast-growing tertiary education sector.
A comment posted on Facebook about the ‘immorality’ of exorbitant fees levied by church-run universities in Nigeria has generated controversy within and outside their walls. Mission-based universities charge fees ranging from US$24,000 to US$42,000 per academic session.
South Africa has a glaring disparity between its higher education system and the workplace, an issue that can only further harm an economy struggling to absorb its youth and grow in line with its BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – trading bloc partners.
Among the applicants for truck driver positions advertised recently by a Nigerian-owned transnational company were holders of degrees, MBAs, masters and some PhDs, from reputable universities at home and abroad. The rush for low-skill jobs raises questions about the usefulness and relevance of university education.
Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing positive economic development, and there is increasing understanding of the important contributions universities have to make if African societies are to achieve the next stages of development.
The tragic death in January of Gloria Sekwena, who accompanied her son Kgositsile when he tried to secure late admission to the University of Johannesburg and was killed in a stampede of desperate applicants, was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back for South Africa's government. From next year, a central applications system will be in place.
South Africa’s Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande recently revealed that graduates acquiring tertiary education with assistance from the government-funded National Student Financial Aid Scheme owe R13.4 billion (US$1.5 billion) in unpaid loans – and about 20% of them have not repaid a single cent.
Under apartheid Loyiso Nongxa would have needed special permission from the South African government to study at the then mainly whites-only University of the Witwatersrand. Now, illustrating the extent of the changes since democracy, he is the vice-chancellor.
An African country won a place for the first time in a global university competition to build the best solar-powered house. The American University in Cairo was selected along with 18 other universities to compete for the top Solar Decathlon prize.
Raymond Qatahar, a first-year law student at Makerere University, is eager to use Not In My Country. The website, launched in May, asks students in Uganda to report corruption in higher education – such as lecturers trading higher grades for money or sex – and lets students rate classroom experiences.
In the basement of Church House in downtown Nairobi, Kenya, worshippers gather at one end of a room for evening prayers. At the other end of the dimly lit space, university students finish assignments for a 17h00 class. The noise from the enthusiastic worshippers fills the room, but the students are at ease. They are used to it.
Back in 2000, academics from Ghana, India, Kenya and America embarked on research into the impacts of the internet on researchers in different parts of the world. Then post-election ethnic violence rocked Kenya in 2007-08 and the focus of the research shifted. It led to a documentary film, launched last month, on violence and humanity.
Private education giant Educor is set to become the first South African institution to set up branch campuses outside the country as it expands its operations into four new African countries under its well-known Intec and Damelin brands.
A new salary deal has slightly slowed the brain drain from Senegal’s premier Université Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar. But it confronts a new threat in the form of ageing academics. With 80,000 students, it faces losing 60% to 70% of academics by 2015 as a result of large-scale retirements.
Teachers at Senegal’s public universities have decided to resume classes while waiting for new President Macky Sall to settle into office and deal with urgent issues – but they are encountering problems doing their jobs because of disruption by school-leavers who have yet to sign up for courses.
Following what are widely regarded as racist attacks on Nigerian students in India in March, there are concerns that the violence could contribute to making the country a less attractive destination for African students seeking higher education outside the continent. Photo credit: BBC
The country’s academic community was an active part of the successful bid to stop the current president, Patrice Talon, from altering the nation’s constitution in order to arguably give more powers to the president and erode those of the judiciary and legislature.
The African Academy of Sciences, founded in 1985, aspires to shape the continent’s strategies and policies and implement key science, technology and innovation programmes. University World News spoke to its new interim executive director, Dr Thomas Kariuki, about how the organisation intends to drive scientific and technological development in Africa.
Greater university autonomy, credible appointments to governing councils, integrity tests for prospective vice-chancellors, and a holistic overhaul to stem systemic decay topped the list of recommendations contained in a strongly-worded statement released at the close of the recent third biennial conference of the Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities.
The vice-chancellor of the University of Nairobi has asked the government to review the budgetary allocation to his university after the treasury failed to meet public universities’ requisitions for the forthcoming fiscal year. The total allocation to all public universities, which is US$200 million less than the amount requested, has dashed the hopes of several institutions facing a crippling cash crunch.
The president of the Somali National Commission for UNESCO and former Somalia education minister has called on her country’s fledgling national government and growing tertiary education sector to redouble its efforts to boost the presence of women in Somali higher education.
The 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, 27 of which are in Africa, have adopted a declaration for promoting lifelong learning in universities, but implementation is still challenged by attitudes which position lifelong learning as the 'poor cousin' in universities.
In order to be sustainable, successful tertiary institutions around the world have found ways to diversify their income streams so as to reduce dependence on public funds which are often tied to economic and political factors. How can this work in Africa?