A Malawian Court has ruled in favour of reintroducing a controversial higher education admissions system that obliges universities to enroll students according to district quotas rather than straight merit. Disgruntled students have vowed to appeal against the judgment.
Representatives from more than 20 countries this month adopted a policy guide for promoting multilingual and multicultural education throughout general education systems in Africa, with a view to transforming societies.
A committee leading the drafting of a new constitution in Zambia has adopted a clause that requires any future president to have a degree from a reputable university. The move has sparked a raging debate in the media about whether an academic background is critical in conducting affairs of state.
Zimbabwe student leaders held a crisis meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week after it emerged that 28% of students had dropped out of the country's leading university because of a lack of foreign currency to settle tuition fees.
A proposal by President Paul Biya to award nearly three billion FCFA (US$6.4 million) as 'bonuses for excellence' to the best students of Cameroon's seven state universities has divided students and academics and provoked accusations of corruption against university managements, according to a series of reports published in Le Messager of Douala.
Following the world's largest international clinic trial into an HIV preventative gel, scientists have concluded that it is not effective. The four-year trial was conducted in four African countries, ended in September last year, involved 9,385 women and proved controversial in Zambia.
The University of Cape Town (UCT), one of South Africa's top institutions, is undertaking an ambitious programme to balance race relations on campus. The university is accelerating its pace of transformation in the light of a government-commissioned probe into racism in higher education. "The report forced universities to think about these issues and to respond, which is what its real benefit has been," said Crain Soudien, chair of the committee that oversaw the investigation and head of the transformation programme at UCT.
One of Dr Blade Nzimande's first moves as South Africa's new Minister of Higher Education and Training was to institute a review of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, a step that heralded his concern with ongoing inequalities in the system and his intention to widen access to higher education for the country's poorest, mainly black students. It was also a sign that he intends to honour the African National Congress' election manifesto commitment to begin the process of providing free undergraduate study to financially needy students.
Rioting students caused damage estimated at more than 13 million FCFA (US$28,000) at Ensa, Senegal's national school of higher agricultural studies in Thiès, reported Le Soleil of Dakar.
A professional masters degree in epidemiological intervention and laboratory management started this month at the University of Ouagadougou, a joint initiative between Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Togo, four countries with high incidences of recurrent epidemics, reported Le Pay of Ouagadougou.
The Zenas University Trust, a grouping of lawyers and academics, intends to facilitate the setting up of a new university for law studies under the auspices of the Christian Legal Society of Zimbabwe after the trust's launch this weekend.
The Christmas Day attempt by a Nigerian student to set off a bomb on a Northwest Airlines plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit has raised fears the incident will adversely affect foreign students, academics and researchers hoping to pursue their education in American and European universities. US President Barack Obama has ordered a comprehensive review of visa policy, including tightening regulations for Nigerians - especially students and those aged between 20 and 60.
Increased numbers of South African school-leavers eligible for university study, but with poor pass rates in mathematics and science in the 2009 national 'matriculation' examinations, mean universities will increasingly battle to provide academic support for under-prepared students.
Telemedicine has finally arrived in Nigeria via a pilot project recently launched at Lagos University. This interactive electronic mode of teaching, research and provision of medical services has been embraced by lecturers, students and patients. Its efficiency and cost-savings have encouraged other universities to consider partnerships with IT companies that provide telemedicine infrastructure.
Malawian clerics have embarked on a last-minute attempt to stop a controversial university quota system from taking effect. Planned demonstrations were blocked by the police who said they were illegal, but a petition was sent to President Bingu Wa Mutharika urging him to annul the system that directs university entry to be based on place of origin and not on merit.
Agricultural research and development projects have been highlighted in La Presse of Tunis. The newspaper has interviewed Amor Chermiti on the activities of Inrat, the National Institute of Agronomic Research of Tunisia, of which he is Director General, and it has published reports on the Bizerte competitive research cluster and its Agri-tech business centre and the research assessment area of the Institute of Arid Regions, which became fully operative in 2009.
A University of Namibia project to domesticate a nutritious wild bean to save it from extinction, improve people's nutrition and reduce poverty has received a funding shot in the arm. The marama is a resilient plant that does well in the poor soils of the Kalahari sand region and other dry parts of Southern Africa where most crops fail to thrive.
African educators will be helped by Michigan State University in the US to develop free and open access agriculture education materials for students, in a project made possible by a US$1 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Angry teaching assistants at Unikin, the University of Kinshasa, who have not been paid for the past 10 months have threatened to down tools and take to the streets in an attempt to make ministers carry out their responsibilities, reported Digital Congo of Kinshasa.
A statement that appeared in the press calling for the repatriation of Zimbabwean graduates of South Africa's University of Fort Hare, has been dismissed as a hoax. But last week a dozen students who had presidential scholarships withdrawn by Zimbabwe's government for engaging in political activity, slammed the university for "allowing them to be victimised", London-based SW Radio reported.
Students at UCAD, the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar, started the new year with violent demonstrations demanding back payment of their grants, reported Wal Fadjri of Dakar.
Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world. More than three-fourths of the nation's primary economic activity involves small-scale agriculture, not only highly inefficient but extremely vulnerable to variations in climate and international market prices. To move from an agrarian to a modern economy, Ethiopia requires citizens with more education. This necessity is especially critical in a country with the 15th-largest population on the planet and a median age of barely 17 years. Accordingly, the government has expanded the higher education system while growing enrolment, both at breakneck speed.
Since the middle of the 20th century universities across the world have 'massified', dramatically opening access to those previously denied it - but, strangely, this access has done very little to change inequality, both within universities and the societies they relate to. The inequality conundrum was placed at the heart of the second Southern Africa-Nordic Centre (Sanord) conference held at Rhodes University in South Africa from 7 to 9 December.
Canada has put out a call for research proposals to try to solve some of the developing world's most pressing agricultural needs. The Canadian International Development Agency recently launched the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund, a five-year C$62 million (US$58.5 million) envelope that will support research partnerships between Canadian and developing country organisations.
The Carnegie Corporation of New York has announced that it will commit US$30 million over the next three years to a new higher education in Africa strategy that will prioritise strengthening the next generation of academics and university leaders. The foundation has spent more than US$100 million supporting higher education in Africa in the past decade.