22 February 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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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
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.”
NIGERIA
New private universities – Set up to fail?
The recent licensing of eight new private universities has raised questions about the wisdom of expanding a sector already struggling to provide quality education geared towards the 21st century.
AFRICA
Lack of awareness hampers harmonisation progress
Since it was first raised three decades ago, progress towards the harmonisation of higher education quality assurance and accreditation processes has been slow and awareness of the issue and various initiatives to drive it remain frustratingly limited.
AFRICA
Tapping into the innovation potential of universities
A new generation of young African entrepreneurs and innovators, keen to contribute towards the alleviation of poverty and address global development challenges, is being nurtured in a number of universities on the continent.
AFRICA
Challenges and solutions for Francophone universities
While the number of students in Africa continues to rise, universities often fail to equip them with skills needed for employment – and they have two to three times less chance of finding work than those who left school after primary level. This situation formed part of the backdrop for a conference that debated problems faced by higher education in Africa – and suggested some innovative solutions.
AFRICA
Initiatives strengthen engineering education in Africa
2iE – Institut International d’Ingénierie de l’Eau et de l’Environnement – in Burkina Faso is an internationally recognised engineering school. It is one of many imaginative initiatives aimed at boosting the number and quality of engineers produced by universities in Africa.
KENYA-UGANDA
Ongoing funding crises challenge universities’ mandates
The growth of higher education and its obligation to contribute towards sustainable development in some East African countries is hampered by a myriad challenges, with inadequate funding being one of the most significant. But there are some solutions, according to higher education experts.
SOUTH AFRICA
Labour market report highlights need for more STEM skills
The higher education sector must produce more science, engineering and technology graduates, science and maths secondary school teachers, as well as early childhood development professionals if South Africa is to produce the kind of skills needed to encourage inclusive development.
KENYA
Fresh crisis over ethnic appointments in universities
Kenya has been left smarting from a reputation nightmare after ethnicity reared its ugly head in one of the top universities, as educationists warn of a growing rot across institutions.