28 June 2016 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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LIBYA
Drastic measures needed to rebuild higher education
Poor investment, weak capacity and security, as well as political instability and onerous bureaucracy in war-torn Libya have produced a higher education system characterised by inadequate infrastructure and graduates poorly prepared for jobs, according to a new report.
AFRICA
24 centres of excellence for East and Southern Africa
The World Bank Group’s board of executive directors has approved a US$140 million credit for eight Eastern and Southern African countries to set up 24 centres of excellence in universities to strengthen postgraduate training and research in priority sectors.
AFRICA
Pilot study fills data gaps for regional STEM project
Benchmarking as a tool for improving quality in African universities was the focus of the first regional benchmarking and capacity building workshop organised by the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology – PASET – and held in Abuja, Nigeria last week.
AFRICA-MIDDLE EAST
Leaders call for improved university governance, quality
University leaders, higher education policy-makers and experts from the Middle East and North Africa have called for stronger measures to improve university governance and teaching quality, in order to increase the competitiveness and employability of graduates.
UGANDA
Sweeping university reforms to emphasise innovation
Uganda’s nine public universities are set to undergo substantial restructuring as the government prepares to implement reforms recommending the formation of ‘innovation universities’.
NIGERIA
Senate bill seeks to curb campus sexual harassment
A bill by the Nigerian parliament’s upper house to curb sexual harassment on university campuses – which carries jail sentences of up to five years for offenders – has successfully passed a second reading. A third and final reading of the bill is expected soon.
KENYA
Spike in university enrolment brings new challenges
Kenya’s total university student enrolment rose 22.8% last year, marked by increased female enrolment and driven by massive infrastructure development, the introduction of new courses and the opening of more satellite campuses.
EGYPT
University students expelled over anti-president slogans
Egypt’s state-run Beni-Suef University has expelled three students after they were found to have painted slogans on campus criticising the country’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, over the controversial transfer of two strategic islands to Saudi Arabia.
AFRICA
Ghana’s vice-president calls for move from liberal arts
Universities across Africa must move away from liberal arts courses in order to make higher education relevant and ensure the continent is not left behind in today’s technological world, Ghana’s Vice-president Kwesi Amissah-Arthur said while opening the second Times Higher Education Africa Universities Summit in the capital Accra.
SUDAN
Another ‘opposition’ student killed as protests spread
One student was killed and three wounded last Wednesday in clashes between government and opposition supporters at Sudan’s Omdurman Ahlia University. Just a week earlier, at the University of Kordofan, a student was killed – reportedly by security agents – and more than 20 injured, triggering protests at universities across the country.
UGANDA
Gambling students renege on fees, strike over policy
Many students at Uganda’s flagship Makerere University are diverting money into gambling and are failing to pay tuition fees on time, according to staff. Students went on a week-long strike in April in protest against the debt-ridden university’s controversial fee payment policy.
GLOBAL
Terrorism and migration seen as world’s top challenges
Terrorism is cited as the biggest challenge facing the world today, closely followed by migration, according to research unveiled at a new international humanitarian award ceremony, but there is a global 'compassion gap' in public perceptions of contemporary refugees.
HONG KONG
Students form new parties, push for self-determination
Student groups that led Hong Kong’s 2014 pro-democracy protests – also known as the Umbrella movement – have set up their own political parties in Hong Kong to continue to press their demands using political means after they failed to wrest concessions from the Hong Kong government during huge street protests.
GLOBAL
Reality check for open, distance learning institutions
The open and distance learning vision of accessible, low-cost, high-quality provision has never been more relevant, but open and distance learning succeeds in accessibility and convenience much more than in experience and outcomes. These institutions also have yet to make a convincing case for the pedagogical merits of scale, according to a new report.
GLOBAL
High MOOC completion rates in developing countries
Developing world learners use massive open online courses, or MOOCs, very differently than their developed world counterparts, according to a new study. These MOOC users achieved remarkably high certification and course completion rates – with almost four out of five MOOC users completing at least one course.
UGANDA
New universities and 20 technical colleges on the cards
Uganda’s government has halted the trend of upgrading tertiary colleges into universities. Instead it will create new universities from scratch and is also planning to set up 20 new technical colleges to expand vocational education and training.
KENYA
Multi-million-dollar hostels for five universities
Kenya has kicked off a multi-million-dollar push to develop student hostels in five public universities by tapping into private funds, with the ultimate goal being to drive up enrolments. The project is expected to provide more than 50,000 new student beds.
KENYA
University bosses agree on new tuition fee model
Kenya’s public universities have agreed on a new tuition fee model that will see students pay fees based on the courses they undertake. This ends years of haggling over a differentiated unit cost system, which vice-chancellors said last week would promote equity in the funding of public institutions.
GLOBAL
US in Africa on first foreign student recruitment drive
With an eye on Africa’s youthful population, economic growth and swelling middle-class, the United States has embarked on its first education trade mission to the continent, with 25 universities and colleges. Student recruitment and building partnerships with universities are the goals of the visits to South Africa, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.
NIGERIA
Forex ban hits Nigerian students around the world
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has put an end to speculation and announced that students abroad no longer have access to foreign currencies lodged in the central bank to pay for tuition fee and other costs. Along with a plummeting currency, the move is causing suffering for tens of thousands of university students around the world.
UGANDA
Academic low-performers banned from student politics
Academically low-performing students at Makerere University in Uganda may not participate in student leadership. At least 30% of candidates who wanted to contest the top job of student president during last week’s student elections at the flagship university were turned down.
NIGERIA
Minister sacks 13 university vice-chancellors, councils
Nigeria’s education minister has sacked the vice-chancellors and governing councils of 13 federal universities. In the same breath, he announced the university leaders’ successors. Strangely, no reason was given for the mass firing that has shocked the higher education community and the country.
ZIMBABWE
20,000 graduates to be exported to South Sudan
An agreement has been signed that will see Zimbabwe sending nearly 20,000 graduates for employment in South Sudan. This is in line with an initiative by Zimbabwean authorities to export labour from a country that has Africa’s highest literacy rate and one of its highest jobless rates – estimated at over 80%.
SOUTH AFRICA
University leaders seek help as protests turn violent
Violent protests and racial clashes closed universities around South Africa last week. Vice-chancellors called for help in identifying perpetrators of campus violence, who showed “total disregard for the academic project, the rules of engagement and the laws and Constitution”. There have been arrests, injuries, burning of vehicles and destruction of buildings.
EGYPT
Cambridge PhD student murdered in Cairo ‘was tortured’
Nearly 5,000 academics from universities across the world have demanded investigations into disappearances in Egypt after a ‘brilliant’ Italian student was found to have been tortured before being murdered in Cairo. The government has denied allegations that the security services or police were involved.