Lack of student accommodation, and severe financial difficulties leading to threatened strikes by supply teachers and withdrawal of medical treatment for staff, are among problems at Senegal’s leading University Cheikh Anta Diop, according to local newspaper reports.
Research remains the poor relation of universities south of the Sahara, in particular those in West and Central Africa. This finding was repeatedly and bitterly stated at a forum held in Dakar, Senegal, from 2-4 July.
Zimbabwe has failed to reintroduce grants and loans due to the looting of diamond funds that the treasury had earmarked to go towards funding student support.
Malawian President Joyce Banda has said her government will abolish the controversial university quota system, among far-reaching higher education reforms including the abolition of draconian legislation.
Tanzania’s government has ordered two private universities not to charge fees and other contributions in foreign currency, following student protests. It is also introducing degree assessment, validation and harmonisation processes.
Madagascar has launched an online research network, the Research and Education Network for Academic Learning Activities, iRENALA, which aims to boost science, technology and education in the country as well as internationalise its science.
The University of Zimbabwe’s fundraising initiative has raised more than US$12 million and has led to companies ‘adopting’ some faculties and pledges to support scholarships.
The medical brain drain that had stripped South Africa of efficiency in running its public hospitals is continuing. The country is losing 17% of its qualifying doctors every year and, in the four years since 2005, nearly 1,000 new doctors did not register to work , according to government figures.
The innovative NextEinstein Initiative providing postgraduate training in mathematics and computing skills to super-bright African graduates is spreading its wings. The first African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in South Africa will be joined in 2011 by a new AIMS in Senegal, followed by institutes in Ethiopia and Ghana. Within a decade the AIMS NewEinstein Initiative plans to launch 15 institutes across Africa.
Ahmed Abdel Hamid scored 94% in Egypt's secondary school certificate examinations and wants to fulfil his lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. But his aspiration could be shattered because a 15% cut in the number of new students accepted this year by the medical schools of state-owned universities has raised the entrance bar to 98% - and private universities have raised their fees. Becoming a doctor, said Abdel Hamid sadly, "will cost me a fortune".
The strike that has paralysed Nigeria's public universities for eight weeks is yet to be resolved. The government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have adopted uncompromising positions, prolonging industrial action that has angered students. The government has put in play the age-old strategy of weakening opponents using a divide and rule "No work, no pay" plan.
The Teachers Service Commission in Kenya has announced that primary teachers should be barred from direct admission to universities for bachelor of education studies because they do not meet entry requirements - a setback for primary teachers just ahead of a workshop at which education stakeholders called for them to be empowered and recognised alongside other education professionals.
The Gambia - resource-poor, under-developed and the smallest country in Africa - has launched a 10-year higher education strategy to build its human resources and strengthen tertiary infrastructure. The aim is to produce the high-level intellectual and technical skills essential to drive socio-economic and technological development.
The outcome of the 2008-09 academic year remained uncertain last week at the University of Koudougou, as the National Association of Burkina Students continued its strike against conditions of study and against the university management's refusal to lift a collective 'zero' for students who had boycotted coursework.
The Minister for University Education, Leonard Mashako Mamba, has intervened to try to restore order at the medical faculty of Unikin, the University of Kinshasa, following operational malfunctions including overlapping academic years, abnormal length of courses, absent teachers and programmes that are not followed.
More than 350 students from Côte d'Ivoire studying in Mali are experiencing overcrowded living conditions and no grants or state aid. They have set up a self-help association whose members spoke to Ousmane Diallo of Nord-Sud Quotidien of Abidjan.
Canada's International Development Research Centre has announced that it is closing two of its six regional offices – including one in Africa – and terminating support for its Innovation for Inclusive Development programme, as it seeks to absorb an 11% cut in its annual budget.
Egypt is to launch an e-library on university freedoms aimed at promoting and supporting academic freedom, improving awareness of the concept and shedding light on legal and social aspects of human rights.
The biggest problem with vocational education in Tunisia was finding jobs for its graduates, and the government was going to try yet again to modernise the system to fit the needs of the economy, reported La Presse of Tunis. Meanwhile, a competitive initiative aiming to instil entrepreneurial skills in young people took place in Tunis this month.
Stellenbosch University in South Africa has raised R2 billion (US$256 million) since launching a fundraising campaign 20 months ago aimed at boosting research and driving the ‘science-for-society’ approach of its Hope Project.
The University of Zimbabwe has mounted a major fundraising campaign aimed at restoring its status as one of Africa’s premier higher education institutions, in a programme backed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.
Students from the universities of Cairo, Ain Shams and Helwan marched on the Ministry of Defence in Cairo on Tuesday to protest against continued military rule.
Kenya plans to start ranking its universities based on their performance and the quality of graduates they are producing, to raise their profile globally. The move, which begins in April, is intended to boost the faltering quality of education in the country.
Ghana’s union of students has promised demonstrations if necessary to reverse the government’s decision to shorten the duration of senior high school from four years to three. The new system is likely to put huge pressure on university admissions this year, as double the usual number of school-leavers vie for limited places.
Zimbabwe has outlined plans for every university lecturer to be in possession of a PHD by 2015, and is reconsidering salary discrepancies between university and college lecturers. And the country’s higher education regulator has cracked down on state-run and foreign universities deemed to be offering sub-standard programmes.