In spite of warnings and a conciliatory gesture by Morocco’s Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane, medical students maintained pressure on the government by staging a mass demonstration against proposed legislation to make them carry out two years’ compulsory service in the countryside.
A season of disturbances is continuing at the Copperbelt University, Zambia’s second largest institution based in Kitwe. Lecturers embarked on a go-slow last week in a bid to persuade the government to install new management and in protest against late salary payments – and police engaged in running battles with students demonstrating against the academic stoppage.
For many years, cases of sexual harassment and rape were swept under the carpet by Nigerian universities. But times have changed. Female students, supported by parents and civil society groups, are hitting back and universities have introduced rules to combat sexual assault.
Medical students across Morocco are continuing a strike, begun on 1 September, against proposed legislation on compulsory medical service in the countryside.
The African Development Bank has released US$98 million for the establishment of four East Africa centres of excellence in biomedical sciences, to be established at universities in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. A fifth centre will be created later in Burundi.
Universities and other post-school institutions in Tanzania have been ordered to remain closed as the East African nation gears up for a general election on 25 October, according to media reports quoting higher education authorities.
Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande has issued guidelines for student housing at public universities, aimed at expanding and improving sometimes dire accommodation through minimum standards. South Africa previously had no policies governing housing at universities.
The Nigerian Medical Association and academics are once again at loggerheads over criteria for selecting vice-chancellors. The controversy is over the status of medical fellowships versus non-medical PhDs, and it has refused to go away.
Morocco has unveiled a strategy to tackle a shortage of teachers specialised in mathematics and foreign languages. It includes new initiatives that will be implemented by universities and other higher education institutions.
Independent engineering schools in Tunisia are awaiting the introduction of new, tougher specifications that should ensure the quality of their diplomas is up to standard. But some are accusing the higher education ministry of deliberately impeding development of the private sector – although the move follows a strike by engineering students complaining that private schools are favoured.
The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture, RUFORUM, has launched an ambitious crowd-funding campaign to raise money to train more postgraduate students over the next five years.
Higher education institutions have a key role to play in helping Africa to meet new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, academics told a European conference recently. Representatives from the African Network for Internationalisation of Education also called on the international community to develop “responsible partnerships” with African universities.
Algeria’s parliament has adopted a new framework scientific research law that Tahar Hadjar, the minister for higher education and scientific research, says will give priority to the country’s socio-economic needs.
One of Kenya’s foremost business education institutions, Strathmore University, is partnering with leading mobile network operator Safaricom Limited and innovation hub @iLab Africa to offer a masters degree in mobile telecommunications and innovation – a first in Africa.
The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa – CODESRIA – has stepped up initiatives to boost academic research, with two mega grant facilities meant to mobilise support for the continent’s universities.
Although Sub-Saharan African countries have allocated large shares of government spending to education, the region’s university enrolment rates are among the lowest in the world and a severe mismatch still exists between the skills young Africans have and those employers need, according to a new ‘State of Education in Africa’ report.
Tunisia, in cooperation with Germany, has officially opened the first centre for guidance and professional re-training, aimed at matching and adapting the university qualifications of young job seekers to the future needs of the job market.
A new academy of sciences and technologies of Algeria will be opened this month, Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research Tahar Hadjar has announced. He also stressed the importance of the role of universities within the economy.
Tensions rose at the University of Antananarivo in Ankatso, Madagascar, when a student was badly beaten by police during a violent demonstration against striking lecturers. The industrial action has halted courses for nearly two months.
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.