The US recently announced awards worth US$130 million to universities in a dozen African countries that seek to train at least 140,000 health workers over five years.
The US government has extended a US$12.5 million grant to the University of Nairobi to boost medical training, potentially plugging the country's biting shortage of qualified health sector personnel. The funding will help strengthen medical training and increase the number of trained health workers in East Africa's biggest economy.
The chief whip of Namibia's governing SWAPO party in the national assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi, has called on academics to work with parliamentarians in select committees as the country moves to confront a myriad of social problems. He called for a multidisciplinary approach, given scarce resources.
People who have missed out on education have a new opportunity to catch up through a free distance education course in finance, under the 'Projet transmission solidaire du savoir' initiated by the French Euromed Management school in collaboration with Ouagadougou University.
Monash University Vice-chancellor Professor Ed Byrne was forced to deny a Melbourne newspaper report last week that one of his senior executives at the university's South African campus had extended an invitation to Zimbabwe's notorious president, Robert Mugabe, to give a lecture to students at Monash's Johannesburg campus.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has been awarded a dozen or more honorary degrees from universities around the world, only to have at least three belatedly removed following widespread protests. Doubts have now surfaced whether he received an honorary doctorate last month from a university in Ecuador, or indeed whether it was bestowed by a 'bogus' bishop.
Two new private universities are on the cards in Zimbabwe, and the projects have been lauded by the government in a country facing a critical shortage of human capital in various sectors of the economy.
The South African government has launched an initiative to revive and strengthen the social sciences and humanities in universities. A charter of recommendations, to be published in mid-2011, will put these oft-neglected areas back on the higher education agenda so that students who want a true liberal arts education can get a good one.
The rights of refugees in South Africa's Eastern Cape province are being safeguarded through a recently-launched refugee legal rights centre at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth. The goal is to assist foreigners seeking asylum.
Teachers in the arts and social sciences faculty at the University of Douala, who went on strike this month in support of pay claims, some dating back a decade, 'provisionally' suspended their action after receiving payment for 2009, reported Quotidien Mutations of Yaoundé.
About 30,000 freshers are starting their studies in Senegal's public and private higher education institutions, announced Amadou Tidiane Bâ, Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research, at a ministerial meeting.
Every newspaper has its own story and ours began in early 2007, when a few dozen higher education correspondents scattered around the world found themselves with knowledge and skills but no newspaper to write for. Mostly freelance journalists, we had been fired en masse by Times Higher Education as it contracted its global coverage, retaining correspondents only in the US.
The East African Community's five member countries have inched closer to harmonising and standardising their university education systems, potentially boosting student access and mobility. But the improvements will require major changes to individual countries' education systems.
Last week the Rwandan cabinet approved a decision to cancel bursary loans used to support government-assisted students through their academic life. There is also talk of terminating merit-based college scholarships.
Malawian President Bingu wa Mutharika has been forced to set aside a 220% university fee hike after protests from the general population, political parties and student organisations.
Egyptian Minister of Higher Education Hani Hilal has announced the planned cancellation of a decades-old system that helps under-performing university students to pass year-end examinations. "The borderline mark system or what is known as 'mercy grades' is illegal and encourages students to be under-achievers," Hilal told academics at Beni Sueif University in southern Egypt earlier this month.
The tertiary entrance examinations or the Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE), which started on 11 October and run to mid-November 2010, are under threat. Industrial action involving secondary school teachers commenced in September with a work-to-rule and go-slow.
Some 160 young Haitians were due to arrive in Senegal last week to start higher education studies, under a scheme proposed by President Abdoulaye Wade following the earthquake that devastated the Caribbean state in January.
Universities face overcrowding, with more school-leavers entitled to a place in higher education and students from other countries in the region applying to study in Cameroon because of its good reputation, reported the Cameroon Tribune of Yaoundé.
An expert study has recommended that a large number of South African students be sent abroad to study for doctoral degrees over the next 10 years, as one way to scale up the number of PhDs produced and boost the country's knowledge and innovation system. The proposal is one of 10 contained in a report launched last week by the Academy of Sciences of South Africa, Assaf.
Poverty alleviation and economic stimulation on the world's poorest continent are problems the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Higher Education for Development intend to help solve. Last month the agencies announced strategic capacity-building partnerships between 22 universities in Africa and the US.
It may be early days for the Regional Initiative in Science and Education, but RISE has already helped to strengthen higher education in Sub-Saharan Africa. Before the end of its first round of funding some students have jobs, others have published papers in journals and the initiative's major output is soon-to-graduate MSc and PhD students.
An 'old men's club' image, exclusionist rules against younger members and lack of sustainable funding are among the characteristics of science academies in Africa, with more transparent member selection criteria being needed. This was the gist of a debate between students, academics and administrators at a conference of the Regional Initiative in Science and Education, or RISE, in Johannesburg this month.
It was inspiring to see the next generation of African leaders beginning to emerge through science, said Philip Griffiths, chair of the Princeton-based Science Initiative Group, SIG - leading scientists who share a passion for fostering science in developing countries. He was speaking at the close of a four-day Regional Initiative in Science and Education conference held in South Africa this month.
Challenging developments in South Africa, particularly in universities, have led to confusion around position-taking on political and other issues. Every now and then events in society bring position-taking to a point of crisis, and one such crisis is unfolding in the 'resolution' of the crimen injuria case against four former Reitz hostel students from the University of Free State who were at the centre of a racism controversy nearly three years ago. Who is to take responsibility? asks CRAIN SOUDIEN in an article in the South African Journal of Science.