27 May 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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NAMIBIA
Red tape threatens to strangle science
Draconian new regulations for all academic research in Namibia represent a first-class invitation to several possible constitutional lawsuits.
GLOBAL
UNESCO must lead on HE, says Africa’s candidate for DG
UNESCO should promote higher education in the developing world in particular, to provide hope for unemployed young people, according to Rachad Farah, Djibouti’s ambassador to the UN agency, who is a candidate for the top UNESCO job.
KENYA
Presidential candidates pledge higher education reform
Politicians seeking the presidency in Kenya’s 4 March elections have proposed far-reaching changes to higher education. In manifestos launched in recent weeks, the top candidates have among other things proposed restructuring higher education and making it free, building more technical colleges, new student bursaries and higher salaries for lecturers.
GLOBAL
IFC investment to support private HE push into Africa
A US$150 million equity investment by the International Finance Corporation into the US company Laureate Education will help spearhead its private post-secondary education push into Africa.
AFRICA
Southern African universities association – What next?
The Southern African Regional Universities Association has completed its first phase, with funding ended and most of its staff gone. But there remains a need to drive regional higher education collaboration, according to Dr John Butler-Adam: “What happens next will require new approaches, nuanced strategising and strong implementation skills.”
KENYA
Far-reaching reform as universities law is enacted
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.
NIGERIA
Higher education stakeholders to forge a 'contract'
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.
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.
AFRICA
Tapping into the power of technical education
African technical universities can help to add value to primary commodities and other natural resources, support economic transformation, provide technology solutions to small and medium enterprises, and contribute to wealth creation as part of enhancing technical and vocational education and training on the continent.
AFRICA
Closing the gap in science leadership
For Dr Samson Khene, a lecturer in physical chemistry at a South African university, the Africa Science Leadership Programme has opened his eyes to the power and responsibility of science to solve complex social problems.
AFRICA-INDIA
Racist attacks – Will African students shun India?
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