19 February 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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UK scraps visa bond for ‘high risk’ Nigerian students
The university community in Nigeria has welcomed the scrapping by the British government of a controversial proposed £3,000 (US$4,900) security visa bond for ‘high risk’ foreign visitors, including international students from Nigeria.
Civil service reforms delay higher education projects
Kenya’s higher education sector is feeling the pinch of a new government policy to temporarily freeze employment and appointments in state bodies.
Kuwait to help boost higher education in Africa
Kuwait has launched a US$1 million annual award for research in Africa, announced at the third African Arab Summit held under the theme "Partners in Development and Investment" in Kuwait from 19-20 November. And a Kuwaiti charity plans to establish a university in Malawi.
President leads talks to end four-month academic strike
The four-month strike in Nigeria’s public universities may end soon, following the intervention of President Goodluck Jonathan. He decided to lead the government team in negotiations with academics, in an effort to find practical solutions to the industrial action.
Research boosted by multi-million dollar projects
Kenya’s profile as a research hub has received a major boost with two mega research centres that are expected to generate hundreds of innovations. And the government is planning to double its research funding within two years.
BRICS think tanks council meets to shape strategy
The BRICS Think Tanks Council, comprising representatives from the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, met near Stellenbosch in South Africa last week to review plans for the body’s operation.
Medical school bans spark anger
A decision to ban 15 medical schools in Cameroon from training doctors has sparked anger – although it has been welcomed by the country’s medical profession.
Islamist seminary in turmoil as students protest
Thousands of students at Al-Azhar University, Egypt's huge Islamic seminary, have held rallies in support of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi for the second consecutive week amid accusations from the institution’s administrators that the students have been engaged in acts of violence and vandalism. Dozens of students have been arrested.
World Bank centres of excellence to be named soon
Phase one of the Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence initiative, being sponsored by the World Bank to the tune of US$158 million, is expected to kick off in the third week of November when the identities of universities that have been selected to host the centres will be made public.
US-Libya higher education task force on the cards
The United States and Libya have agreed to set up a higher education task force that will work to strengthen Libya’s educational capacity, provide information about study abroad to Libyan students, and expand scholarships and exchange opportunities.
Policy protects courses, mandates of upgraded colleges
Kenya has formally allowed universities to take over tertiary colleges in a new policy framework. But the upgraded institutions must retain their original courses, programmes and mandates, says the policy announced last Thursday by cabinet.
University facilities insufficient to meet high demand
Ghana’s public universities are facing a boom in applications, but do not have sufficient facilities to meet growing demand that has been exacerbated by an influx of students from neighbouring countries and a double cohort leaving school this year.
Oldest university network turns 100, launches campaign
The Association of Commonwealth Universities celebrated its 100th anniversary with a three-day conference at the University of London last week – and looked to the future with a campaign called “The World Beyond 2015: Is higher education ready?”
World Bank, Coursera to take MOOCs to developing world
Developing countries worldwide are to benefit from an agreement signed last Tuesday by the World Bank Group and Coursera, a leading provider of MOOCs – massive open online courses. The collaboration aims to help meet the demand for solutions-oriented learning on pressing issues in targeted countries.
Foreign lecturers recruited despite security concerns
The executive governor of Yobe state in north-east Nigeria, who is also a visitor at Bukar Abba Ibrahim University, has approved the employment of 35 professors from India and the Philippines. They were recruited ostensibly to teach and research desert encroachment, which is threatening the environment in parts of the state.
Universities in the doldrums after cuts in dorm fees
A recent decision by Egypt’s military-installed government to scrap monthly fees for students staying in university dormitories has added to the financial woes of the country’s public higher education institutions.
University seeks solutions to massive e-waste problem
The rising tide of mobile telephony in Kenya, which currently stands at about 30 million subscribers, is becoming a significant source of e-waste. Obsolete computers, televisions and electronic equipment are exacerbating the problem. Now a university has stepped in to help clean it all up.
China inaugurates Confucius Institute, builds library
The Chinese influence in Tanzania seems to be growing by the day. The University of Dar es Salaam is to start offering courses in the Chinese language through a new Confucius Institute, and China is building a state-of-the-art library and a secondary school.
Students threaten protest over university closures
Three constituent colleges of the University of Malawi have been closed indefinitely due to a strike by lecturers, which began late last month. Students have threatened protest action if classes do not resume soon.
New initiative links universities with economy
Algeria plans to set up innovation centres consisting of mixed research groups from higher education institutions, science and technology centres and the industrial, economic and social sectors, in an effort to boost the role of research in developing a knowledge-based economy.
New projects to expand and improve higher education
Kenya has lined up major projects in the coming year to boost student enrolment, teaching and research in higher education. They include setting up an open university by the end of next year, doubling the number of universities of technology, training 1,000 PhDs a year within five years, and pumping money into the national research fund.
Global first as researchers split pollen
South African researchers have become the first to cut sections through pollen grains, making it possible to view a three-dimensional image of the internal wall. This will allow the scientists to determine how the characteristics of the internal wall help to classify plants of particular interest.
East Africa HE boss warns of harmonisation delays
East African Community countries risk not meeting their goal of harmonising education systems any time soon due to deep disparities in curricula, varying quality of learning, and budget cuts, the head of the regional higher education council has warned.
Concern simmers over university guards’ arrest powers
A decision by Egypt’s state-run Supreme Council of Universities, giving security personnel the power to arrest students on campuses, has ignited fears that police-style oppression will be revived. The decision came just before universities open for the new academic year on 21 September, amid worries that political turmoil will spill over into educational institutions.
Private higher education shuns STEM courses
Despite growing by leaps and bounds in the past 10 years and expanding higher education access to thousands of needy learners, private universities in Kenya continue to shun science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses, leaving the heavy financial and infrastructural burdens of these subjects to poorly funded public institutions.