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.
Cairo University recently became the first academic institution in Egypt to launch an initiative against sexual harassment, amid an alleged rise in the offence on campuses across the country. The university’s President Gaber Nassar said the move was aimed at establishing a model for curbing on-campus harassment.
South African institutions have performed well in the new QS – Quacquarelli Symonds – World University Rankings by Subject 2015. There are seven of the country's universities in the ranking, South African institutions cumulatively appear 15 times among the top 100 across the disciplines and the University of Cape Town is seventh globally in development studies.
Zimbabwe has established a fund for university graduates to start businesses to help stem the country’s high employment rate, currently pegged at 90%. Most graduates end up on the streets, with some even resorting to vending as Zimbabwe’s economic crisis deepens.
The Association of African Universities, the African Union Commission and the European Union have issued a call to African universities to join the second phase of their Harmonisation and Tuning initiative.
The first part of major research into “Building Academic Freedom and Democracy in Africa” has revealed that 14 African countries have explicit reference to academic freedom in their constitutions. Now academics across the continent are being called on to participate in a survey of academic freedom norms and practices on the ground.
A Moroccan-German Institute of Applied Sciences is to open in Meknès in Morocco under a partnership between Morocco’s University of Moulay Ismaïl and Germany’s Aachen University of Applied Sciences – one of a number of partnership initiatives set to revolutionise research in Moroccan universities and institutes. Another initiative is the establishment of an Egyptian-Moroccan research coalition.