Higher education in Senegal continues to face disruption, with union opposition to government reforms last week including a strike that threatened the already late start of the 2014-15 academic year at Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, or UCAD, the country’s leading university.
Lecturers and non-teaching staff at public universities in Zimbabwe have gone on strike. The academics are protesting against poor working conditions, late salary payments and the government’s failure to pay them 2014 bonuses.
Studies into Ghana’s tertiary education sector show that student numbers have been rising steadily. Also, two in five students in both universities and polytechnics are now enrolled in science and technical courses, and distance education numbers have grown by nearly 20%.
The University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg is to host technology giant IBM’s second major research, development and innovation laboratory in Africa. The US$62 million investment comes after IBM launched a research centre in the Kenyan capital Nairobi in late 2013 and is the global company’s 12th international research lab.
Tunisia is to host a US$100 million American university that will be completely operational by 2020 and will be the first of its kind in the Arab Maghreb region, which comprises the North African countries of Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.
The president of Somaliland University of Technology in Hargeisa, capital city of the breakaway republic located on the gulf of Aden, has appealed to the international higher education community for help in strengthening universities.
The African Union is granting postgraduate scholarships to people with disabilities from across the continent – the first time that the continental body has tailored grants specifically for disadvantaged learners.
Higher education institutions in the three West African countries hit by Ebola have been closed for nearly a year. While the authorities in Guinea and Liberia are taking steps to open schools and institutions that were shut following the disease outbreak, officials in Sierra Leone are still monitoring the situation.
Higher education unions have condemned the new framework law for universities passed on 26 December, which they say violates institutions’ freedom.
Kenya’s higher education regulator, the Commission for University Education, wants professional bodies barred from accrediting graduates in key professions and wants to take over the role, to avoid frequent stand-offs between the associations and universities.
The beginning of the year in West Africa's Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire has been disrupted by student protests and strikes.
Britain’s Institute of Development Studies will select nine African universities over two years to participate in a new programme to boost the research and teaching practices of academics working in agriculture, health and the environment. The British government is funding the scheme with a £2 million (US$3 million) grant.
Rwandan universities have embarked on an ambitious programme to teach Kiswahili, East Africa’s lingua franca, to enable the country’s populace to tap into regional integration.
It will cost Ghana’s government US$180 million per annum for the next three years to fully turn the country’s 10 polytechnics into technical universities, a report by a committee set up to work on the institutional conversion programme has said. Meanwhile, a working group has developed a national quality assurance framework for higher education.
Construction is about to start on two new universities in Senegal, each with capacity for 30,000 students, President Macky Sall has announced. One will be the second public university in the capital Dakar, and the other is the University of Sine-Saloum at Kaolack.
Kenya’s Ministry of Education, Science and Technology is proposing new regulations that will compel universities to ensure that 25% of graduates each year are at the postgraduate level, in an effort to end a biting shortage of lecturers.
In an effort to ease the burden of overcrowded universities and improve access to higher education, the government of Côte d’Ivoire has announced the creation of a digital university to boost distance education.
The legislative instrument that will change Ghana’s polytechnics into technical universities is ready to be put before parliament to be debated, according to Vice-president Kwesi Amissah-Arthur.
Ghana’s National Accreditation Board has said it is worried that professional associations have – without any authority – started enrolling unsuspecting students and awarding them qualifications. It has directed associations running ‘chartered institutes’ to cease operations.
The University of Rwanda is ramping up efforts to increase student enrolment, while planning to provide programmes for economic sectors that are growing within Rwanda, said Vice-chancellor James McWha.
Foreign tertiary institutions and their representatives in Ghana who operate without accreditation, including online universities, have been warned by the National Accreditation Board to regularise their operations or close.
Professor Georges Moyen, the new president of CAMES – the francophone Council for African and Malagasy Higher Education – has spelt out his plans for the 19-member council.
Botswana’s first private university, the Malaysian-owned Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, has become the country’s first fully licensed private tertiary institution, after seven years of operating under an interim licence.
Morocco’s higher education union Syndicat National de l’Enseignement Supérieur called a three-day strike at the end of September in protest against proposed government reforms, which it claimed threatened public universities and infringed its members’ rights.
The rector of the Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar said the university would reopen at the beginning of October, following closure of the campus in August due to violence in which a student died during a confrontation with police. Professor Ibrahima Thioub also said police were being withdrawn from the site to help calm the situation.