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Africa News
NIGERIA: Striking academics close public universities
Striking academics have once again shut down Nigeria's public universities, and students have been sent home. Leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, or ASUU, have accused the federal and regional governments of deliberately failing to execute a memorandum of understanding on funding, salaries and conditions signed two years ago.
EGYPT: Tough challenges for new universities minister
He is Egypt's fourth higher education minister in 10 months. His predecessor held the post for four months and was forced to quit along with the rest of the government after clashes between pro-democracy protesters and security forces left 45 people dead. When named universities minister this month, Dr Hussein Khaled said he would handle the job regardless of when he might leave it.
TUNISIA: Debate on higher education problems and future
The future of higher education in Tunisia following the revolution in January has been under debate in the media. In a series of articles, La Presse questioned whether the sector "truly responds to the commonly accepted demands on universities?" Are there links coordinating teaching with the job market, have higher education's problems been identified and what should reform priorities be?
AFRICA: Universities rethink internationalisation
The African Network for Internationalisation of Education, ANIE, held its third annual conference recently in Abuja, Nigeria. Among the trends identified were growing collaboration between African universities, which is driving far greater mobility of students and staff across the continent, and increased use of information and communication technologies.
KENYA: Paralysing lecturer strike suspended, for now
Lecturers in public universities in Kenya have suspended their paralysing nine-day strike for two weeks to pave the way for negotiations with the government. The tussle has triggered a debate over who should pick up the wage bill.
SOUTH AFRICA: Campaign to support SKA bid
Minister of Science and Technology Naledi Pandor (pictured) this week launched a national campaign to drum up support for the bid to host the Square Kilometre Array in South Africa. The campaign, aimed at stimulating interest and showcasing Africa as an emerging global astronomy hub, comes in the months leading up to the international announcement of the bid winner in the first half of 2012.
NIGERIA: VCs protest move to end screening test
Once again Nigeria's national assembly and some officials of the examination agency, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, have made moves to dismantle the screening tests carried out by universities around the country. They argue that any test additional to the one conducted by the admissions board itself is unnecessary - even illegal - and places a financial burden on parents.
GLOBAL: World's largest gathering of Africa experts
More than 1,000 scholars and researchers from around the globe converged on Washington DC on Thursday for what the US African Studies Association said was the world's largest gatherings of experts on Africa.
EGYPT: German University in Cairo reports arson threat
The German University in Cairo, a private Egyptian institution established in partnership with German universities, has reported receiving a threat from an anonymous arsonist. The alleged threat was made just days after the university announced suspension of classes due to a dispute with the student union over regulations for elections.
SENEGAL: Second university to offer teacher training
The Université Gaston Berger, Senegal's second largest academic institution with 7,000 students, will add teacher training to its offerings to meet the rapidly growing needs of middle and high schools. Demand for quality teachers is intense as a result of Senegal's resolve to accelerate the provision of universal education.
AFRICA: New medical schools seek strength in numbers
New medical schools in Africa have formed an unusual consortium in partnership with well-established medical schools in the United States and Finland, as they strive to avoid re-inventing the wheel and instead focus on strengthening teaching, learning and research.
SOUTH AFRICA: New dynamics in student politics
A convincing win for the opposition-aligned Democratic Alliance Student Organisation in recent student representative council elections at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University suggests that South African students may be tired of having their interests overshadowed by intra-party politics in a more complex post-apartheid political environment.
CHAD-CONGO: Students protest over grants and fees
Student protests against non-payment of grants have broken out in N'djamena, Chad, while in Kinshasa, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, students angered by fee increases demanded the resignation of their university's management committee, according to press reports.
MADAGASCAR: Student unrest, and research unused
Unrest has erupted again in universities in Madagascar, with a new strike and demonstrations at Ankatso campus in Antananarivo and three students arrested at the University of Maninday Toliara in protests against non-payment of grants. Meanwhile, an official of the Academy of Sciences for Developing Countries has claimed that much Madagascan academic research "remains in drawers" and is wasted because the state does not make use of it.
TUNISIA: Alarm over attacks against 'incorrect' clothes
University staff and students in Tunisia have raised the alarm over verbal and physical attacks against academics and students that happened because they were wearing clothing considered unsuitable by their attackers.
TANZANIA: Aga Khan University plans major new campus
Aga Khan University, the international multi-site higher education institution, is planning to open a new campus in Arusha in northern Tanzania. The campus will house arts and science faculties and educate up to 3,000 students annually from across East Africa.
AFRICA: Call to translate research spend into results
African governments have been called on to make it mandatory for higher education institutions to have policies on research. There also needs to be increased focus on the link between research spend and results, and on making research findings available to policy-makers and the general public to inform their decisions.
SOUTH AFRICA: Young scientists' academy launched
An early-career scientists' academy aimed at nurturing the development of top young academics and unlocking their collective potential to tackle national and global problems, has been launched in South Africa. It is the latest offshoot of the rapidly growing Global Young Academy.
ZIMBABWE: Lecturers disciplined, bonded students freed
The Zimbabwean government has suspended 18 lecturers from state-run polytechnics and colleges, and instituted disciplinary proceedings against a further 200, for participating in a strike that the authorities said was illegal. And on the medical education front, government has announced its intention to unconditionally release 2,000 nursing students it had 'bonded'.
ZIMBABWE: New institute for development opens
The National University of Science and Technology has started a specialist institute for development, in Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo. It offers extensive research as its core business, with teaching as a secondary focus.
MADAGASCAR: Protests still disrupting universities
Strikes, protests and disputes between students, sometimes violent and ethnically based, have continued to disrupt universities in Madagascar - notably Maninday-Toliara, Antananarivo-Ankatso and Barikadimy-Toamasina - report local papers.
AFRICA: Dilemmas of development work
I recently finished writing the book Higher Education in Development: Lessons from Sub-Saharan Africa with my colleague Dr Philip Rayner. We have worked in Sub-Saharan African countries for a number of years in higher education at the government level and within institutions.
NIGERIA: Terror agenda sparks debate on campuses
The political and ideological agenda of Boko Haram (pictured), a Muslim fundamentalist group that opposes 'Western education', has ignited debate at Nigerian universities. The group has attacked buildings and threatened to send suicide bombers onto campuses. The university community has roundly condemned terror, but is polarised over Boko Haram's intentions.
DR CONGO: Minister sets out plans for academic year
The Democratic Republic of Congo's minister for higher education and university education, Léonard Mashako Mamba (pictured), presented his plans for 2011-12 to heads of higher education institutions in the run-up to the academic year that starts this weekend. Among issues he raised were efforts to achieve international standards and extending the teaching of English in higher education, reported Le Potentiel of Kinshasa.
EGYPT: Elections reinstate some university leaders
Four university presidents in Egypt have kept their posts in unprecedented elections, just weeks after they were forced to step down. The elections were held recently at the public universities of Cairo, Beni Suef, Benha and South Valley.