19 November 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Pan-African quality assurance and accreditation moves
Plans are under way at the African Union to establish a continental quality assurance and accreditation agency that will measure, compare and harmonise the performance of higher education institutions and facilitate professional mobility across the continent.
Low-skilled lawyers prompt calls for law degree reform
South Africa’s law degree faces a shake-up in a bid to more adequately equip the country's young lawyers for the demands of the working world. The profession’s weighty bodies are behind a push to reform the qualification countrywide.
Board of Investment leads island bid to become HE hub
Mauritius has been showcasing its assets in recent years and is aiming to become a hub for world-class education and a destination for international students and institutions. Board of Investment Chair Ken Poonoosamy spoke to University World News about the Indian Ocean island’s strategies for achieving these goals.
University demands that students and staff learn Zulu
The University of KwaZulu-Natal's decision that all new students register for a compulsory Zulu course from next year has thrown the proverbial cat among the pigeons. While details of the initiative – a first for South African higher education – are unclear, the university believes that students must demonstrate bilingualism to earn their degrees.
Mega-universities and more money for higher education
Nigeria’s National Economic Council recently made several far-reaching decisions on the future of tertiary education in the country, including the creation of ‘mega-universities’ in six geo-political zones, each with the capacity to admit up to 150,000 students.
Branch campus ordered to cease postgraduate courses
The Tanzania Commission for Universities has finally acted against a branch campus of Uganda’s Kampala International University, ordering the Dar es Salaam-based institution to stop offering masters and doctoral courses.
Dead woman’s skull leads to racism-in-science project
The discovery of a mysterious human skull in an obsolete department at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa has exposed links to Nazi Germany and led to a groundbreaking new ‘racism in science’ research project by the faculty of arts and social sciences.
Survey shows failure to reach R&D target of 1% of GDP
South Africa needs to escalate its expenditure on research and development and increase its international competitiveness, said Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom. Disappointingly, the lofty goal of raising R&D spending to 1% of gross domestic product by 2010 has not been achieved.
Cambridge v-c on universities and the poorest billion
Do the world’s leading universities have a role to play in alleviating the plight of the 1.3 billion people living with extreme poverty and hunger on incomes of less than US$1.25 a day while a further five billion people live on less than $9 per day? The question was raised last Thursday by Cambridge University Vice-chancellor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz.
The L’Oréal-UNESCO Awards – Science needs women
When Nigerian Francisca Nneka Okeke was a child, she would wonder about the changing colour of the sky and the ability of aeroplanes to fly in the atmosphere without plummeting back to Earth. Today she is a laureate of the L’Oréal-UNESCO Award For Women in Science.
Scandal highlights sexual abuse at universities
It is rare for students to speak out about sexual harassment at South African universities and so the problem often goes unrecognised. But investigation into a sex scandal that has rocked the University of the Witwatersrand has brought the subject under the spotlight.
Social entrepreneurship – The new community engagement
Social entrepreneurship should be the new engagement for individuals and the public and private sectors, with implications for university training – especially in Africa – according to Goos Minderman, public governance professor at Vrije Universiteit in The Netherlands.
Polytechnics prepare for growth but face prejudice
With the University of Ghana preparing to stop offering diplomas, one would have expected polytechnics to be jubilant over less competition and more courses. But they are sceptical about benefiting because there is widespread public belief that universities offer the only tertiary education worth having.
Building academic freedom amid political instability
Academics have proposed strategies to protect and promote academic freedom and autonomy amid the waves of socio-political transformation that have followed Arab Spring revolutions in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.
Spending boost of 30% to finance new universities
Kenya has increased funding for higher education by 30% for the financial year beginning in July, as it seeks to bankroll 15 new public universities. But institutions say even this boost is way below financial needs – and election promises made by Kenya’s new president could disrupt the sector’s plans.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.