On 16 September Goolam Mohammedbhai, Juma Shabani and Peter Okebukola were awarded by GUNi and AfriQAN for their tireless work on quality assurance in higher education in Africa. The European Union and the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD, were awarded for their support to quality assurance processes on the continent.
The proficiency of many Senegalese students in French, the colonial language, is declining and the use of local languages – especially Wolof – is becoming more common on campus and in lectures. But there is disagreement over whether the decline is due to poor teaching, the fault of students, government reforms, or overcrowding and poor facilities.
With Kenyan public universities experiencing a severe shortage of accommodation brought about by rapid expansion of student numbers and elevation of middle-level colleges into universities, one institution has come up with an innovative public-private partnership to build 3,000 hostel units.
The World Bank will provide Yemen with a grant of US$3 million to improve higher education programmes in order to boost the employability of university graduates.
Zimbabwean universities are faced with bankruptcy as the government has failed to settle a US$64 million debt, only managing to pay US$20,000 a month. The unpaid money emanates from a cadetship programme in which government is supposed to pay institutions for the studies of children from underprivileged backgrounds.
Experts from Central African countries have called for the establishment of an international network of researchers and academics who are working on the slave trade and routes from the region, and for a relaunch of UNESCO’s Slave Route Project.
The United Kingdom’s Wellcome Trust has announced a five-year, £40 million (US$65.8 million) fund to strengthen scientific research training and build the careers of talented young health researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa.
An East African chapter of HERS – Higher Education Resource Services – has been launched. Based at Makerere University in Uganda, HERS-EA will among other things provide training to prepare more women leaders to steer universities in the region.
Lack of teacher training colleges in Zimbabwe’s southern regions has raised tribal and political tensions as the minority Ndebele group resists the deployment of teachers from President Robert Mugabe’s Shona tribe.
Madagascar’s government has conceded to student demands and sacked the president of the University of Mahajanga, in the northeast of the country, seven months after police clashes with demonstrating students during which a student died.
A new strategy to promote higher education training in the field of renewable energy across Africa has been unveiled. The roadmap was the outcome of a workshop in Rwanda from 10-11 July, organised by the European Union Energy Initiative and attended by participants from more than 20 African countries.
Kenya’s Higher Education Loans Board is to transform into a major ‘development financing institution for human capital’, with an expanded mandate to lend money to all students wishing to pursue post-secondary education in local or foreign institutions.
With publication of results of the baccalauréat school-leaving examinations in francophone Africa, newspapers in some countries have reported problems of low pass rates and instances of fraud.
In an effort to boost quality at French language centres in universities, HERACLES – the World Forum of Language Centres in Higher Education – plans to open a regional office in the Middle East to provide support services for countries including Egypt, Sudan, Djibouti, Lebanon and Jordan.
The professional body representing engineers has conceded to demands by protesting students of the JSS Academy, an Indian offshoot located in Mauritius whose qualifications were deemed invalid after the Indian government withdrew its recognition of diplomas awarded by Indian institutions abroad.
In an effort to provide quality higher education for students in countries on the horn of Africa, the University of Djibouti has launched an e-campus – placing it at the forefront of online learning in the region.
The Zanzibar Higher Education Loans Board will only sponsor 1,000 new students in the next academic year – down from 1,400 this year – because of lack of funds.
In Senegal, as in other African countries, men have taken the lion’s share of jobs in information and communication technologies. The independent Jjiguene Tech hub is the first institution in Senegal aiming to counter this male dominance by encouraging and training women to take up careers in the sector, according to a report from All Africa.
The recent ‘zero draft’ of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals document directly references the need to improve science and technology skills and capacity in developing countries, with developing country delegates to the UN hoping that those will not be sidelined or weakened in subsequent negotiations.
As joblessness rises across Africa, Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama has identified the refusal of graduates to accept jobs they consider below their status as one problem that has to be solved if the dream of getting more graduates into employment is to materialise.
Tawfik Jelassi, Tunisia’s minister with responsibility for higher education and scientific research, gave an assessment of the sector for the previous 100 days, setting out progress and priorities including university elections, high graduate unemployment, and planned new institutions and research departments. Meanwhile, a report has found that women are under-represented in Tunisia’s highest university posts.
The Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, known by its French acronym UEMOA, is offering support for higher education to member countries so they can achieve international standards. And a partnership between UNESCO and the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie will develop educational ICTs in eight universities in UEMOA countries.
A network for Sudanese women researchers has been formed, to highlight the successes of women in science and to enhance their contribution to innovation and economic growth.
The University of Namibia has admitted its first batch of students into a new masters degree programme in gender and development studies, kindling hope of new solutions to gender-related problems that include violence in which scores of women have been murdered.
A US$2.6 million grant to support the training of postgraduate students in population sciences and public health in 10 universities across Africa has been made by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.