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Africa News
WEST AFRICA: Universities debate keeping campus peace
Governments and university communities must take measures to prevent recurrent violent incidents breaking out on campuses, representatives of higher education institutions concluded at an international conference on keeping the peace in West African universities.
SWAZILAND: Students regroup after long boycott
Higher education students in Swaziland have resumed classes after weeks of boycotts. But unhappiness with the government's handling of their grievances has prompted the national students' union to call for a mass meeting in April to regroup and decide a course of action.
NAMIBIA: Rice research blossoms into national venture
What began as a small-scale experiment by a University of Namibia associate professor to grow rice in areas where it had not previously been possible, has metamorphosed into a thriving rice-growing venture that has been declared a national project by the government.
SENEGAL: School risks closure over fee-paying courses
Amadou Tidiane Bâ, Minister for Higher Education, Universities, Regional University Centres and Scientific Research, has threatened to close the Ecole Polytechnique de Thiès if lecturers continue to ignore a government order banning them from teaching fee-paying courses during the day, according to press reports.
FRANCE-AFRICA: Medical e-learning network launched
A vast e-learning programme based on the establishment of a North-South network of inter-university diplomas has begun operating, with the first batch of students successfully completing an online course in obstetrics ultrasound in Dakar, Senegal, 6,000 kilometres from Brest in France where the project originated.
EGYPT-UK: New international university agreed
Four universities in Egypt and the UK's University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, have agreed to establish an international university - the first higher education and research institution in Egypt to use a public private partnership model in an investment zone.
KENYA: University projects stalled, some for 20 years
A public university in Kenya requires at least 2.1 billion shillings (US$27.4 million) to complete stalled projects - some of them started nearly 20 years ago. The parliamentary investment committee, or PIC, established that Egerton University's projects had ground to a halt due to lack of funds.
GLOBAL: The poor as providers of innovative solutions
Economically disadvantaged people can trigger frugal, creative and re-combinable innovations that can stimulate the creation of new pedagogies, products and processes. The model I talk about is 'sink' to 'source'. Such people are not 'sink' - passive recipients of our advice, or clients of corporate social responsibility. Given a chance they can be providers of solutions that may need further value-added in some cases. Why is it that the designers of pedagogies and curricula the world over neglect the need for learning from knowledge-rich, economically poor people? Why are there so few papers on innovations by workers in the organised and unorganised sectors compared to managerial innovations?
AFRICA: Diarrhoea vaccine reduces deaths, study finds
Hopes in Africa of a decline in infant deaths from diarrhoea have been raised by a study that found a 61.2% reduction in deaths among babies given the RotarixTM vaccine. The research results were cited as one of the reasons why the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have committed US$10 billion over the next 10 years to vaccines.
NIGERIA: Minister proposes monitoring students abroad
Nigeria's Minister of Youth Development has proposed that the government monitor the religious and social activities of students abroad, and provide guidance counselling and "civic orientation". The controversial plan is a response to the attempted bombing of an American aircraft by a Nigerian student last December and the nation's inclusion on a US list of high security risk countries.
SOUTH AFRICA: OpenContent: Sharing teaching and learning
The University of Cape Town has launched an OpenContent Directory that allows academics to share teaching and learning materials and makes a body of knowledge accessible to all. It will contribute South African resources to the global Knowledge Commons, Vice-chancellor Dr Max Price said, and is the first step towards Open UCT - a broader initiative that will make a vast range of resources, including research and community work, available online.
ZIMBABWE: University's funds looted, intakes frozen
The University of Zimbabwe is battling to recover nearly US$5 million in research funds looted from its foreign currency account by the central bank during the country's economic crisis. Meanwhile, the institution has frozen intakes in some departments as the country's brain drain takes its toll - and a nationwide lecturer strike at public universities continues.
FRANCOPHONE AFRICA: Database of diplomas launched
CAMES, the 18-member African and Madagascan Council for Higher Education, has launched a database of recognised qualifications in francophone Africa. With a couple of clicks to locate country and institution, the database gives information about diplomas, their relevant department or faculty, any available options, and how many years of higher education they require.
NORTH AFRICA: Boost for Maghreb university cooperation
The five members of the Arab Maghreb Union - Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Libya and Mauritania - have agreed to create a website for all universities and research centers in the region and to re-activate a union of Maghrebi universities.
EGYPT: Academy for young scientists
Egypt plans to set up an academy of science for young researchers to support top up-and-coming scientists and encourage them to play a pivotal role in developing future strategies for socio-economic development.
TUNISIA: President's plans emphasise economic priorities
Tunisian higher education must conform to international standards and adapt to the demands of the labour market and knowledge economy, under the Presidential plan 'Together let's meet the challenges' that covers the period 2009-14, reported La Presse of Tunis.
SOUTHERN AFRICA: A regional tertiary collaboration model
Five years since its establishment the Southern African Regional Universities' Association, Sarua, has made considerable headway in establishing itself as a credible platform for leadership 'conversations' and a model for collaboration in the region's tertiary sector.
ZAMBIA: Participation rate still only 6%
Only 6% of Zambians access higher education after completing school in a country with a population of nearly 11 million, a higher education body has said.
DR CONGO: Professors who exposed frauds sacked
Two professors at the University of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who alerted the law about embezzlement of funds, are facing the sack on the orders of the Minister of Higher and University Education.
ZIMBABWE: Desperate universities launch income projects
The Zimbabwean government last week cancelled the academic year as universities and schools found it impossible to continue operating with the collapse of the country's economy. At the University of Zimbabwe, the country leading tertiary institution, a notice on a faculty building told students lectures would begin "on a date to be advised". But university vice-chancellor Levy Nyagura was quoted as saying the university had no water, no electricity and no funds.
ALGERIA: Start of new academic year
Nearly 1,160,000 students have started the new academic year in Algeria, including 260,000 freshers, according to the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. But despite the assurances of the Minister, Rachid Haraouabia, La Tribune of Algiers questioned whether universities had the capacity to cater for so many students.
NIGERIA: Top medical college rejects PhD directive
The governing council of Nigeria's National Postgraduate Medical College has rejected moves by the National Universities Commission to undermine its autonomy on the issue of academics needing doctoral qualifications. Many lecturers at the country's only postgraduate medical college possess post-degree fellowship qualifications from the institution rather than PhDs.
ZIMBABWE: Brain drain bites, academics strike
Science departments in Zimbabwe's universities have been hardest hit by a brain drain that has been blamed mostly on poor salaries. Last week low pay prompted lectures at all state-run higher education institutions go on strike as part of wider civil service industrial action.
SOUTH AFRICA: Cost woes spark student protests
Two things never disappear from the grievance lists of South African students - fees and accommodation. No sooner had the 2010 academic year begun than students at some universities clashed with administrations and the police over fee hikes and lousy residences. Students renewed their call for free higher education while universities reported that student debt now tops R2.8 billion (US$363 million).
ZAMBIA: University rocked by protests
The University of Zambia was rocked by violent protests last week over the government's failure to pay student allowances. Riot police were called in as students' barricaded roads and stoned vehicles, and had to seal the institution to restore order. The country's oldest university has been disrupted by unrest every year for the past decade.