Zimbabwe’s public universities are reeling under a US$100 million government debt after the authorities failed to pay student support funds following the looting of diamond revenues.
A row over disciplinary measures taken against 16 students – 14 of whom have been expelled – has been mounting at the University of Koudougou in Burkina Faso. Government intervention has failed to restore order, and last week saw more strikes and demonstrations by supporters of the students demanding that the severe punishments be cancelled.
The decision to demolish accommodation blocks at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) of Dakar, Senegal’s leading university, has caused violent protests by students who demanded to be rehoused before they were moved out, saying they had nowhere to go and were not consulted about the move.
Global partnerships between higher education institutions and the information and communication technologies industry could reduce the distance between collaborators and help tap experts in the diaspora, a UNESCO official told the Innovation Africa summit held from 5-7 October in Cape Town.
Mauritius’ higher education space is set to expand with the establishment of the island’s first open university, which will start enrolling students in January next year, a senior official has confirmed.
Nigeria’s National Universities Commission has taken an unprecedented step by withdrawing the licences of seven private universities accused of non-compliance with the statutory provisions establishing them. But politicians have intervened to reverse the decision.
African nations are working to boost the use of space technology by setting up a continental space agency, to be called AfriSpace.
Turmoil threatens to return to Malawi’s higher education sector as the country’s President Joyce Banda has been confronted by a new challenge: the first strike by lecturers since she assumed power in April.
Tanzania’s government has earmarked about TSh326 billion (US$208 million) to finance higher education student loans in the 2012-13 academic year, Minister for Education and Vocational Training Dr Shukuru Kawambwa told parliament, with 98,772 students set to benefit.
Engagement in North-South research partnerships can benefit the career prospects of a developing country scientist, according to a survey of the alumni of a major Swiss-funded research programme.
A new annual award to promote and recognise quality African research in education aims to strengthen links between researchers and policy-makers.
The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa, CODESRIA, is calling for proposals for a new research programme supporting university-based academics in six African countries to undertake studies into higher education leadership and governance.
The American Political Science Association held its fourth African Workshop at the University of Botswana during the last two weeks of July, on the theme “Local Communities and the State in Africa”, with a focus on field research methods and delivery.
Lack of student accommodation, and severe financial difficulties leading to threatened strikes by supply teachers and withdrawal of medical treatment for staff, are among problems at Senegal’s leading University Cheikh Anta Diop, according to local newspaper reports.
Research remains the poor relation of universities south of the Sahara, in particular those in West and Central Africa. This finding was repeatedly and bitterly stated at a forum held in Dakar, Senegal, from 2-4 July.
Zimbabwe has failed to reintroduce grants and loans due to the looting of diamond funds that the treasury had earmarked to go towards funding student support.
Malawian President Joyce Banda has said her government will abolish the controversial university quota system, among far-reaching higher education reforms including the abolition of draconian legislation.
Tanzania’s government has ordered two private universities not to charge fees and other contributions in foreign currency, following student protests. It is also introducing degree assessment, validation and harmonisation processes.
Madagascar has launched an online research network, the Research and Education Network for Academic Learning Activities, iRENALA, which aims to boost science, technology and education in the country as well as internationalise its science.
The University of Zimbabwe’s fundraising initiative has raised more than US$12 million and has led to companies ‘adopting’ some faculties and pledges to support scholarships.
The medical brain drain that had stripped South Africa of efficiency in running its public hospitals is continuing. The country is losing 17% of its qualifying doctors every year and, in the four years since 2005, nearly 1,000 new doctors did not register to work , according to government figures.
The innovative NextEinstein Initiative providing postgraduate training in mathematics and computing skills to super-bright African graduates is spreading its wings. The first African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in South Africa will be joined in 2011 by a new AIMS in Senegal, followed by institutes in Ethiopia and Ghana. Within a decade the AIMS NewEinstein Initiative plans to launch 15 institutes across Africa.
Ahmed Abdel Hamid scored 94% in Egypt's secondary school certificate examinations and wants to fulfil his lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. But his aspiration could be shattered because a 15% cut in the number of new students accepted this year by the medical schools of state-owned universities has raised the entrance bar to 98% - and private universities have raised their fees. Becoming a doctor, said Abdel Hamid sadly, "will cost me a fortune".
The strike that has paralysed Nigeria's public universities for eight weeks is yet to be resolved. The government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have adopted uncompromising positions, prolonging industrial action that has angered students. The government has put in play the age-old strategy of weakening opponents using a divide and rule "No work, no pay" plan.
The Teachers Service Commission in Kenya has announced that primary teachers should be barred from direct admission to universities for bachelor of education studies because they do not meet entry requirements - a setback for primary teachers just ahead of a workshop at which education stakeholders called for them to be empowered and recognised alongside other education professionals.