26 March 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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ETHIOPIA
Agency fights to maintain standards during HE expansion
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.
NIGERIA
‘Moral’ controversy over fees in mission universities
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
Graduate unemployment in a skills-short economy
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.
NIGERIA
Postgraduate drivers trend raises relevance issue
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.
AFRICA
Stronger universities needed to support development
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.
SOUTH AFRICA
High hopes for central university applications system
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
Student loan debt is US$1.5 billion and rising
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.
SOUTH AFRICA
Universities struggle to shed apartheid topography
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.
GLOBAL
Student solar-powered houses light path to the future
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.
UGANDA
Corruption? Not In My Country
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.
KENYA
Universities race for downtown property space
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.
KENYA
International research projects spawns peace film
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.
AFRICA
South African private education giant expands into Africa
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.
SENEGAL
Problem of ageing academics threatens top university
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.
SENEGAL
Cash crisis, school-leavers threaten academic year
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.
KENYA
Universities face tough times as budget hopes dashed
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.
SOMALIA
Call to ensure more women access higher education
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.
AFRICA
Lifelong learning challenged by perceptions of inferiority
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.
AFRICA
Diversifying income streams in African 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?
ZIMBABWE
Students with disabilities – Set up by schools to fail?
When Munya Mahiya, then a 15-year-old Zimbabwe schoolboy, had his left leg amputated above the knee in 2009 owing to osteosarcoma, a form of cancer, he feared that his mainstream high school would not take him back and he would miss out on a chance at a normal academic education.
KENYA
New lease of life for Kenya’s vocational institutions
Private firms and foreign agencies are breathing new life into Kenya’s technical and vocational training sector as the government seeks new initiatives to revive the troubled institutions to secure the critical skills-set needed to drive the country’s industrialisation ambitions. Photo: Xinhaunet
AFRICA
Cooperation – The magic word for academic libraries
Academic libraries located in North Africa's universities need to join forces to form consortia or alliances in order to provide access to relevant information resources and services that meet the needs of higher education, according to international library experts interviewed by University World News.
AFRICA-MIDDLE EAST
Higher education trends to watch in 2017
At the start of 2017, a selection of scholars and experts share their views on the major trends expected to impact higher education in the Arab world’s 22 states, which includes 10 countries in Africa.
KENYA
Students hard-hit by campus closures
Students have been hard-hit by the country’s higher education regulator’s decision last year to close 13 university campuses which did not meet the required standards, an outcome attributed by university leaders to inadequate funding of a rapidly growing sector.
AFRICA
Conflicts call for more peace education in universities
A continent steeped in conflicts and struggling to achieve development for its people should provide sustainable support for universities to help attain peace, says Paul Omojo Omaji, a professor of criminology and former vice-chancellor of Salem University, Lokoja in Nigeria. “Peace is priceless in any developmental equation.”