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.
With Kenyan elections done and dusted, the focus is now shifting to how President Uhuru Kenyatta and other elected officials will implement their ambitious election promises in relation to higher education and science, technology and innovation.
Enhancing regional collaboration among universities through staff exchanges has the potential not only to improve academic mobility on the African continent but to enhance higher education quality and ensure rationalisation of existing capacity in Africa, according to Dr Moses Osiru, deputy executive secretary of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture Secretariat.
Increased loan allocations to university and technical college students in Kenya are among key promises made by political parties in their manifestos, launched ahead of the elections scheduled for 8 August.
The creation of jobs for young people was as much a moral imperative as it was an economic imperative, according to Durban University of Technology Vice-Chancellor Thandwa Mthembu. In an interview with University World News, he called on universities to “think differently” about the kind of education they were giving their students. “What’s the value of a degree that can’t be used?” he asked.
An influential king in Western Nigeria has intervened in the ongoing controversy around the scrapping of management science courses in 25 federal universities of agriculture in a move aimed to correct what is perceived by the education minister as mission drift.
Information and communication technologies, and the internet in particular, hold enormous transformative potential for all levels of education in Africa, including higher education.
Well-trained journalists are integral to functioning democracies, particularly in Africa where some states are relatively young and others are still trying to shrug off the legacies of colonialism. To coincide with last month’s World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, University World News canvassed the views of a number of experts on the challenges facing journalism education on the continent.
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.
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.
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.