Public universities in Uganda have resumed full operation after several weeks of industrial action. Non-teaching staff had laid down their tools citing low pay and anger over government action to raise lecturer salaries but not theirs.
Nigeria’s Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, the sole agency mandated to decide admission criteria for tertiary institutions, is enmeshed in controversies over this year’s placements. Parents and the Academic Staff Union of Universities have accused JAMB of double standards and lack of transparency, and an influential NGO has taken it to court.
Weak links between higher education and the labour market lead to a high level of youth unemployment, which represents a waste of human resources and increases the social exclusion that makes societies vulnerable to civil disorder and political upheaval, says a new report.
Vice-chancellors have launched a new ‘activist’ association called Universities South Africa, which will represent the interests of the university sub-sector of higher education and will speak for the country’s 26 public universities rather than their leaders.
In the face of tertiary education institutions flouting the law, Ghana’s National Accreditation Board has complained of not having the power to prosecute. This follows accusations by the opposition New Patriotic Party that NAB had turned a blind eye to the operations of some 53 unaccredited institutions across the country.
Egypt’s higher education authorities have said they are studying the development of open education programmes in the nation’s universities after the 25-year-old system drew widespread criticism.
A visit by Senegal’s President Macky Sall to his alma mater, the Université Cheikh Anta Diop, was marred by violent protests demanding action over the death of a student killed during clashes with police a year ago. Sall was visiting the university to launch a major expansion and rehabilitation programme for higher education institutions, which includes FCFA34 billion (US$57 million) in World Bank funding.
The highly reputed Institut International d’Ingénierie de l’Eau et de l’Environnement, or 2iE, has been in crisis for several months, with some staff, students and parents protesting against what they claim is disastrous and incompetent management, according to press reports. The director general has rebutted the accusations, and says he is open to negotiation.
The Africa-European Union Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme is shaping renewable energy market development with support for training the next generation of energy professionals and promoting renewable energy research in Africa.
The Uganda-based Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture, or RUFORUM, has received a boost for its doctoral training programme with a grant of US$1.5 million from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
Kenya’s plan to revitalise post-secondary technical and vocational institutions – aimed at imparting engineering, science and technical skills to thousands more young people – is finally taking shape thanks to a US$62 million loan from the African Development Bank.
Lecturers at all six public universities in Uganda will have a salary increase of 53% effective from July. The pay hike is an effort by the government to improve higher education quality and skills development. But academics are not impressed.
Two private higher education institutions in Mauritius, both with Indian links, are to close. The Eastern Institute for Integrated Learning in Management (Mauritius Branch Campus) will shut in December 2015 and the Amity Institute of Higher Education in June 2016, according to press reports.
A regional fund for study and innovation grants for Africa has been established by three African governments and a collective of business leaders under the World Bank’s PASET – Partnership for Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology – initiative. One of PASET’s aims is to award 10,000 doctoral grants over 10 years to support research and innovation.
A Tripoli University Business Incubator is to be created in the Libyan capital in an effort to narrow the gap between university educational outputs and the needs of the workplace, and to encourage new businesses. The initiative supports Libya Vision 2020, which includes sweeping higher education reform.
The Southern African Regional Universities Association has launched a network to strengthen curriculum development across the region. Its first project is the development of a curriculum for a masters degree in climate change.
Universities in Southern Africa would have opportunities to reduce social and economic exclusion if they improved engagement with marginalised communities as a means to promote innovation for inclusive development.
Barely a week before handing over power to Nigeria’s new President Muhammadu Buhari, former president Goodluck Jonathan hurriedly approved the creation of five new universities. In a show of unanimous displeasure, lecturers rejected the new institutions, believing that they will create more problems for existing universities already groaning under dwindling funding.
Angry high school students caused severe damage in the Republic of Congo capital Brazzaville and other towns while protesting against the cancellation of baccalauréat exams due to widespread leaks of the questions on social media. The Education Ministry stopped the exam, which gives students who pass it the right to higher education, on the third and last day.
Vice-chancellors of public universities in Ghana and directors of French engineering schools have signed an agreement on mutual recognition of studies and qualifications that will enable Ghanaian students to study more easily in France, and French students to study in Ghana.
Officials are preparing to reopen the Judicial College of Zimbabwe this year, after the European Union funnelled €1.2 million (US$1.3 million) to the Harare-based institution through the Zimbabwe Judicial Service Commission. The college has been closed since 2008 because of a lack of funding, but plays a critical role in the judiciary, training magistrates and prosecutors.
Masters students in Kenya face difficult times under new regulations by the Commission for University Education that require them to complete their courses in two years. And those who choose to become lecturers will only be able to do so after obtaining a doctorate.
The universities of Assane Seck de Ziguinchor and of Thiès have been hit by staff and student protests over inadequate facilities – with students at Assane Seck calling an indefinite strike, although the higher education minister has said their demands have been met.
The World Bank will provide US$33 million to improve governance in Mali’s higher education system and to support more than 20,000 students to acquire skills that enable them to get decent jobs.
Controversy has hit one of Kenya’s oldest and leading private institutions, the United States International University – Africa, over who exactly owns the university and whether it is a non-profit or business entity. Parliament has opened an inquiry into the university’s operations.