With its basic education system in a shambles, the South African government is rolling out easy-to-read workbooks to the poorest schools. But it may be wasting millions of Rand - more rigorous research is needed to test the efficacy of such books before they are handed out to children, according to a new study by researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand and JET Education Services. The study has infuriated the book project leaders.
As universities prepare to integrate the degree structure known in French-speaking countries as 'LMD' (licence-master-doctorat), based on Europe's Bologna process, Professor Jean Couldiaty explained in a newspaper interview how he is dealing with the aftermath of crises at the University of Ouagadougou, where he is president - and why some student habits must change.
A ministerial council meeting presided over by President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali met to discuss putting into effect measures for higher education under the president's Together let's meet the challenges plan for development.
Ethiopia is moving very rapidly from an elite towards a mass public sector higher education system. The considerable challenges raised by 'massification' include teaching quality, funding, the need for a more professionalised leadership, staff shortages and institutional structure and mission. The operation of the Ethiopian system, where innovation is highly centralised, also makes local responsiveness difficult.
Struggling to rebuild its infrastructure after years of civil war with Somalia, Somaliland saw its first university inaugurated in 1998 and has been steadily building its higher education system ever since. While significant challenges remain, higher education is booming as each year thousands of school-leavers pin their hopes on the country's universities and colleges.
Angola's Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technologies, Maria Cândida Teixeira, has called on the heads of institutes of science education to create centres of excellence in their regions.
Africa is a step closer to setting up its own space agency, with the approval of a planned feasibility study by the 53 member states of the African Union earlier this month. The African Space Agency, as it would be known, would be intended to help ensure the continent becomes an important player in the global space programme.
The President of Ben-Gurion University of Negev has pledged to ignore threats by a right-wing political group to incite a boycott by international and other donors if staff and curriculum changes are not made. "We should never surrender to these pressures," said Professor Rivka Carmi.
To many academics and students in Egypt, Minister of Higher Education Hani Hilal is the minister of controversy. Months ago, citing security concerns, he banned female students wearing the niqab (full-face veil) from staying in low-cost dormitories or sitting exams. He triggered another uproar when he decided not to build new law schools, saying that the country already had sufficient. His latest controversial decision is to ban the use of textbooks.
South Africa's inability to produce enough doctoral graduates to build the 'knowledge economy' it aspires to, or simply to replace the existing cohort of academics in the higher education system, is a challenge widely acknowledged by government departments, their agencies and universities. But fixing the problem is a lot harder.
A body formed to help curb ethnicity and boost cohesion in Kenya in the wake of a 2008 post-election crisis wants top administrators in public universities moved over tribalism. It claimed that most vice-chancellors had been appointed along tribal lines or on the basis of dominant ethnic affinities in the regions where universities were located, rather than on merit.
Academics at Nigerian universities have once again condemned the use of public funds for Nigerian lawmakers to attend university seminars in the US. This comes after a seminar offered by Kansas University to Nigerian legislators became embroiled in charges of financial irregularity involving the university, a Nigerian-born staff member and top Nigerian presidential officials.
In recent updates to parliament, lawmakers heard of plans to strengthen mathematics and science education, that construction work on Zambia's most prestigious university had remained unfinished for 45 years, and that government was funding collaborative research with a South African institute on testing traditional HIV-Aids medicines.
The University of Namibia has pulled together a multi-disciplinary team of scientists to conduct research into malaria, amid concerns over the growing global problem of drug-resistant malaria. The Malaria Research Project aims to make more malaria treatments available in the country and monitor emerging resistance to drugs.
Ethiopia is radically expanding its higher education sector: from two federal universities to 22 in just over a decade and another 10 to open soon. Even so, the percentage of the available cohort that attends higher education is still low at about 3%, compared with a Sub-Saharan average in 2007 of 6%, according to Unesco. The huge expansion of student numbers is mainly in new regional universities and a vibrant private system.
North-South partnerships between educational institutions are viewed as an important way in which the human and institutional capacity of African universities can be improved. But building and maintaining successful partnerships that can work within and challenge the tenacious asymmetries of global power, resources and capabilities often require sensitive planning and attention to detail.
The Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa, CARTA, aims to foster multidisciplinary research capacity in population and public health by teaming African universities, African research institutes and northern partners. One of the latest universities to join the consortium is the National University of Rwanda, where CARTA was officially launched on 31 March this year.
New students from areas of Algeria's interior have been enrolling for German and other subjects they have never learnt at school because they want to attend university in Algiers, according to La Tribune .
The commission in Cameroon responsible for assessing higher education qualifications issued abroad has exposed more than 300 cases of fraudulent diplomas, reported QuotidienMutations.info of Yaoundé.
A recent decision by Egypt's Ministry of Higher Education has landed Fathi Mokhtar, a 45-year-old employee at a telecommunications company in Cairo, in a dilemma. Over the past two years, Mokhtar has been studying commerce at Cairo University, a prestigious public institution. He was registered under a 'non-regular' system, which allows students to pursue studies without having to attend classes regularly.
Kenya's higher education authorities have cautioned students against enrolling in five international universities purporting to offer degrees and diplomas without government approval. There is growing concern over declining quality in higher education and the mushrooming of institutions offering un-vetted courses.
An initiative to fight the brain drain from Zimbabwe is beginning to pay off, with 31 university lecturers having returned to the African country ravaged by a skills flight to teach in health faculties at higher education institutions and in hospitals on a short-term basis.
Tunisia has launched a plan to help university graduates face the challenges of finding a job in their own field. This is in a context of widespread unemployment and intense competition in a job market ravaged by the global economic crisis. Students also have few academic choices and university autonomy is limited.
A recent study that measures the scientific performance of Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries over the past 15 years throws doubt on the capacity of the region to meet its own development goals.
Several universities in South Africa, worried that continuing high failure rates among students will erode their global competitiveness, have raised admission requirements for 2011. Not surprisingly, students are unhappy.