South Africa was ranked the first in Africa and 51st globally in the 2010 Global Innovation Index released last month by the international business school INSEAD and the Confederation of Indian Industry. The country finished 26th for investment in education and 29th for the quality of scientific research institutions.
The Association for the Development of Education in Africa will launch a new prize to promote excellence in educational research in African universities and research institutes and networks, and among the African diaspora working and studying throughout the world, reported Sudonline of Dakar, Senegal.
A new international centre for training local authority officials and elected councillors of 15 West and Central African countries has been inaugurated in Ouagadougou, reported Sidwaya of Ouagadougou.
Students at the Université des Sciences et Technique of Massuku who bullied freshers have avoided dismissal from the university, reported Gabonews of Libreville.
Mauritania and Mozambique hope that Algeria will increase the number of grant quotas it makes each year for their students and widen its collaboration with them in higher education and research, reported La Tribune of Algiers.
The University of Nairobi in Kenya has been sued after a male cat in its possession for treatment vanished. The cat's owner, Tawhida Yakub, filed a suit against the university seeking compensation. Yakubsaid she had taken Fifi to the College of Veterinary Science at the Kabete campus in Nairobi in December for treatment of wounds and castration - but he subsequently disappeared without trace.
Some of the most sophisticated mechanisms for tackling fraud in admissions applications have been developed by West African countries Nigeria and Ghana, the British Council conference was told.
Teachers in Benin's three state universities have suspended industrial action that lasted for five months.
The University Academic Staff Union has lashed out at a proposal to merge 'regular' and 'parallel' degree programmes offered at Kenya's public universities, and accused the World Bank of "sabotage".
A security guard at Makerere University in the Ugandan capital Kampala allegedly shot and killed two Kenyan students this month, sparking riots on the campus. The two Kenyans, first year law student Brian Livasia Amuoga and third year commerce student Ignatius Nyongesa, were killed at a hostel while campaigning for student elections.
Following two decades of tumultuous change, universities in South Africa were warned of much more to come when Minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blaze Nzimande, delivered his budget vote in parliament on Thursday. Universities will receive R17.5 billion (US$2.4 billion) this year - the lion's share of a R32 billion post-school budget.
The newly-appointed chief executive of South Africa's Council on Higher Education, Ahmed Essop, will tackle organisational turmoil that has been undermining the work of the statutory policy advisory body when he takes up the post in May.
Zambia is considering introducing a higher education levy and a law compelling beneficiaries of state loans to pay back, as the costs of running universities is proving unsustainable for the state. The government has also slapped a ceiling on what universities can pay lecturers due to financial constraints in the poor Southern African country.
Zimbabwe has put in place plans to construct four more universities, one of them a private initiative of former Kutama High School students who include the country's long-time autocratic leader, President Robert Mugabe. Three other public universities are to be built in provinces that currently do not have one.
It has been called a "monumental disappointment" by South Africa's official opposition. But student groups have predictably welcomed a review of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, which represents a "first step" towards realising the ruling African National Party's plan to progressively introduce free higher education for poor undergraduates.
Mozambique is to receive US$40 million to support implementation of a Higher Education Science and Technology (HEST) project, the World Bank announced. The project's aim is to support the government's policy goals of economic development and poverty alleviation by increasing the number and quality of graduates and improving national research capacity.
I support the ideal of free higher education. I also support the idea that health care should be available free of charge to all in need, just as I believe that South Africa's economic and social policies should prioritise full employment through which all can enjoy the dignity that is associated with leading economically and socially productive lives.
Science and education development can only flourish in Africa through support for home grown institutions. The Regional Initiative in Science and Education, RISE, has been striving to achieve this for the past 18 months through university-based networks that train science and engineering academics for African universities.
North African countries are planning to boost higher education and scientific capacity by establishing a University of the Maghreb and an Academy of Sciences of the Maghreb as well as forging partnerships with the United States.
At my workplace, Ashesi University, we aim to educate the future leaders for Africa. Part of that goal is worked on through discussing ethics with students and practising it on campus. After much debate, it was decided that students should themselves take responsibility for fair procedure and take exams without proctoring lecturers.
Free higher education for poor South African students and the scrapping of race in favour of class as a mechanism to identify those in need of financial assistance could be on the cards if recent media reports based on a leaked version of a ministerial review of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, NSFAS, are to be believed.
Lecturers in Zimbabwe have been awarded salary hikes, prompting them to return to work more than a month after engaging in a wider civil servant strike that is still raging. Top-paid academics will now earn US$800 a month - up from $290. Only lecturers have been awarded a pay rise so far, out of a striking civil servant pool that includes health workers and teachers, who continue to take home less than $200 a month.
Egypt has vowed to "maintain momentum" in building African science and technology capacity after it takes over as chair of the African Ministerial Council on Science and Technology, AMCOST, this month. The two-year role passed to Egypt from the current chair, Kenya, when AMCOST met in Cairo from 7-10 March.
Egypt's higher education budget has been increasing by 10% a year to reach LE11 billion (US$2 billion), Minister of Higher Education Hani Helal told a seminar recently. "But it is still limited compared to the growing numbers attending universities every year," Helal said, adding that shortage of money remained the "key challenge" to improving quality in universities.
Zambia's government is planning to open a new higher learning institution for training doctors as part of efforts to fight the brain drain. Deputy Minister of Health Dr Solomon Musonda told parliament that intakes of health professionals - doctors, nurses and others - at four other institutions would also be doubled this year in a country said to have 27,000 health workers instead of a required 56,000.