Almost seven years after the idea was floated at an Arab-Japanese forum in Tokyo, Japan and Egypt last month celebrated the launch of the first Japanese university in Africa and the Middle East. The Egypt-Japan University for Science and Technology, E-JUST, is an Egyptian public university, in partnership with Japan, based near the coastal city of Alexandria.
A new institute to strengthen the governance and management of African universities has been officially inaugurated in Yaoundé, Cameroon. The Pan-African Institute of University Governance aims to improve and modernise practices for the competent running of higher education institutions throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
Kenya has been selected as the East African host of the planned Pan-African University, a specialised institution comprising a network of universities that is being created to help supply the continent's high-level human capital. This ends a five-month stalemate between countries in the region that had been squabbling over who the host would be.
The Malaysian government has deported two Nigerian postgraduate students who were among 10 people from various countries detained in January for alleged links with the terrorist organisation Al-Qaeda. The Nigerians had been studying at the International Islamic University near the capital Kuala Lumpur.
Egypt plans to promote higher education cooperation with seven upstream Nile Basin states in a diplomatic move to strengthen strategic, economic and cultural relations. The aim is to ease tension sparked by a new pact calling for equitable water use, which Egypt perceives as being against its interests.
A number of international initiatives have been launched in Africa recently to develop research and innovation across the continent, and to transform new ideas generated by higher education and research into improved products, processes and businesses. The projects include a technology development and transfer network, a continental research framework programme and a science-to-business challenge.
An Online Observatory for African Inventions and Discoveries has been launched, aimed at encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship to help meet the continent's development challenges.
Kenya's universities are rolling out foreign language programmes as nations and investors, especially from Asia, increasingly turn to the East African country for resources to boost their industrial growth. In the past month Kenya's biggest universities - Nairobi and Kenyatta - have announced new courses in Korean and Chinese respectively. They both host branches of China's Confucius Institute.
Perhaps it is a fear that aid from the financially tumultuous North might be squeezed. Perhaps it is a growing frustration at rich countries' failure to keep their promises to the world's poor. Whatever the cause, a wave of idealism is sweeping through the innovation policy debate, accompanied by that idealist writ - the manifesto.
Students at Zimbabwe's National University of Science Technology went on the rampage recently and set a lecture theatre on fire, destroying property worth more than US$10,000 in protest against stringent conditions for accessing government loans. Nationwide around 41,000 students, unable to pay fees, have applied for loans so far this year.
Police used excessive force against scores of students, beating and injuring some of them, while quelling a protest and lecture boycott against lack of equipment at the state-run Mzuzu University in northern Malawi. The students were mainly angry about the unavailability of a photocopier and printing machines.
"The internet flattens hierarchy, reduces social distance, makes me closer to you and, paradoxically, makes all our serious connections more authentic. I witness how this helps young people in the process of learning values and how it assists in the planning of positive community actions." This year's eLearning Africa conference started with a stirring speech by the Right Reverend Dr S Tilewa Johnson, Bishop of Gambia.
Kenya will spend an extra US$293 million on its seven public universities during the next financial year beginning in July, potentially easing a biting admission crisis plaguing the institutions and improving a dwindling quality of learning. Subsidies to universities will nearly double, from $360 million to $640 million.
The Unesco executive board has postponed a decision on whether to award or abandon a controversial science prize named after and funded by the dictatorial President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea.
Nigeria's Committee of Vice-chancellors and the Joint Matriculation Examination Board, JAMB - an examination board for all tertiary institutions - are at each other's throats once again over the holding of separate university entrance exams. The national assembly wants one of the two entrance exam systems cancelled and neither group wants it to be theirs.
The University of Namibia recently launched the country's first schools of engineering and medicine and is planning two more firsts: schools of veterinary science and pharmacy are to open next year. The country suffers serious shortages of professionals in both fields.
The Algerian parliament has approved a bill to spend 100 billion Dinars (US$1.48 billion) on science over five years. The budget - unusually high for the Arab world - "aims at reversing brain drain and bringing our scientists back home", Abdelhafid Awrag, head of the scientific research department at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, told SciDev.Net.
Creaking under strains of limited state funding, dilapidated infrastructure and insufficient personnel, the University of Zambia has handed over land for private development by a consortium called Graduare Property Development Limited.
Zambia's two major public universities will soon have access to more research and learning materials, via a link between them using Japan's XVD video conference technology. The e-learning programme, launched in the capital Lusaka recently, is the first step in a government initiative that aims to provide higher quality, more affordable education to all citizens.
Plans to set up a science and technology park are taking shape in Swaziland in a drive to increase the country's scientific competitiveness and create links between researchers and industry. The park, to be built outside the main industrial centre Manzini, will have research and development facilities for biotechnology and information and communication technologies.
The African Development Bank is joining forces with the countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union to invest in higher education for the first time. Mohamed H'Midouche, the bank's regional representative, told a meeting in Dakar that the bank's funding would total FCFA30 billion (US$55.8 million).
The first evaluation of an experimental distance training project for primary school French teachers in three African countries and Haiti has taken place. Ifadem, the francophone initiative for distance training of teachers, is a joint collaboration between the French-speaking University Agency, AUF, and the International Organisation for Francophonie, OIF.
Set up to bridge the digital North-South divide, the African Virtual University has also proved a success in the education of women and of students living in areas of conflict, said university Rector Dr Bakary Diallo.
Police intervened this month at the University of Lomé's faculty of arts and economic sciences where students were demonstrating against the new higher education system based on Europe's Bologna process.
The Chinese government will fund the construction of a new science university in Malawi as part of the country's ambitious initiative to open five new institutions of higher learning in the next decade, President Bingu wa Mutharika has said.