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Africa News
MALAWI: Students injured in clashes with police
Police used excessive force against scores of students, beating and injuring some of them, while quelling a protest and lecture boycott against lack of equipment at the state-run Mzuzu University in northern Malawi. The students were mainly angry about the unavailability of a photocopier and printing machines.
AFRICA: Fifth eLearning Africa conference
"The internet flattens hierarchy, reduces social distance, makes me closer to you and, paradoxically, makes all our serious connections more authentic. I witness how this helps young people in the process of learning values and how it assists in the planning of positive community actions." This year's eLearning Africa conference started with a stirring speech by the Right Reverend Dr S Tilewa Johnson, Bishop of Gambia.
KENYA: Funding boost for public universities
Kenya will spend an extra US$293 million on its seven public universities during the next financial year beginning in July, potentially easing a biting admission crisis plaguing the institutions and improving a dwindling quality of learning. Subsidies to universities will nearly double, from $360 million to $640 million.
UNESCO: Decision on controversial prize deferred
The Unesco executive board has postponed a decision on whether to award or abandon a controversial science prize named after and funded by the dictatorial President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea.
NIGERIA: Power tussle over entrance examinations
Nigeria's Committee of Vice-chancellors and the Joint Matriculation Examination Board, JAMB - an examination board for all tertiary institutions - are at each other's throats once again over the holding of separate university entrance exams. The national assembly wants one of the two entrance exam systems cancelled and neither group wants it to be theirs.
NAMIBIA: First schools for vets and pharmacists
The University of Namibia recently launched the country's first schools of engineering and medicine and is planning two more firsts: schools of veterinary science and pharmacy are to open next year. The country suffers serious shortages of professionals in both fields.
ALGERIA: Major science funding boost approved
The Algerian parliament has approved a bill to spend 100 billion Dinars (US$1.48 billion) on science over five years. The budget - unusually high for the Arab world - "aims at reversing brain drain and bringing our scientists back home", Abdelhafid Awrag, head of the scientific research department at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, told SciDev.Net.
ZAMBIA: Private development for top university
Creaking under strains of limited state funding, dilapidated infrastructure and insufficient personnel, the University of Zambia has handed over land for private development by a consortium called Graduare Property Development Limited.
ZAMBIA: New Japanese technology links universities
Zambia's two major public universities will soon have access to more research and learning materials, via a link between them using Japan's XVD video conference technology. The e-learning programme, launched in the capital Lusaka recently, is the first step in a government initiative that aims to provide higher quality, more affordable education to all citizens.
SWAZILAND: Science and technology park planned
Plans to set up a science and technology park are taking shape in Swaziland in a drive to increase the country's scientific competitiveness and create links between researchers and industry. The park, to be built outside the main industrial centre Manzini, will have research and development facilities for biotechnology and information and communication technologies.
WEST AFRICA: Bank to fund higher education
The African Development Bank is joining forces with the countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union to invest in higher education for the first time. Mohamed H'Midouche, the bank's regional representative, told a meeting in Dakar that the bank's funding would total FCFA30 billion (US$55.8 million).
FRANCOPHONE AFRICA: E-training for primary teachers
The first evaluation of an experimental distance training project for primary school French teachers in three African countries and Haiti has taken place. Ifadem, the francophone initiative for distance training of teachers, is a joint collaboration between the French-speaking University Agency, AUF, and the International Organisation for Francophonie, OIF.
AFRICA- SENEGAL: Virtual University successes
Set up to bridge the digital North-South divide, the African Virtual University has also proved a success in the education of women and of students living in areas of conflict, said university Rector Dr Bakary Diallo.
TOGO: Protesting students reject Bologna system
Police intervened this month at the University of Lomé's faculty of arts and economic sciences where students were demonstrating against the new higher education system based on Europe's Bologna process.
MALAWI: China to fund new science university
The Chinese government will fund the construction of a new science university in Malawi as part of the country's ambitious initiative to open five new institutions of higher learning in the next decade, President Bingu wa Mutharika has said.
CANADA-AFRICA: New project links universities to industry
Canada is partnering its universities with members of the Association of African Universities in a programme that aims to forge links between higher education and the private sector. The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada has launched an initiative that will create 27 new university-industry partnerships, with Canadian and African researchers conducting projects aimed at integrating the chosen African university into a local or regional industry.
SOUTH AFRICA: Aid disbursement fails many students
Eligible but financially needy students continue to be excluded from South Africa's higher education institutions. More than 16,000 students failed to access government funds last year alone - a 45% increase over the previous year - according to government figures.
KENYA: Funding crunch deepens admissions crisis
The biting admissions crisis in Kenyan universities could soon worsen, should a proposal to barely increase state funding for public universities from July be accepted. The Ministry of Finance said in estimates for the 2010-11 financial year it could only raise university subsidies by 4% yet student enrolment has leapt by 40%.
ZIMBABWE: New higher education reforms
Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has drafted a programme to reform higher education and re-engage with the international community in a move likely to benefit universities after a decade of isolation. But rising anger against exorbitant fees saw students last week assault a polytechnic principal.
NIGERIA: University for the police sparks controversy
The Nigerian government has approved the establishment of a university for police. The aim is to improve the working tools, skills and operation of the police, along the lines of a similar academy that serves the armed forces.
TUNISIA: Universities to act against high-tech cheating
Tunisia's Ministry of Education plans to counter student cheating with measures including cell-phone jamming and campaigns that warn of dishonesty's consequences. The battle will begin by preventing wireless cheating during baccalaureate examinations, which are the passport to higher education.
EGYPT: Fish college to cut reliance on red meat
A recent hike in prices of beef products in Egypt has angered many in this country of 80 million people, 40% of whom are believed to live below the poverty line. Pro-consumer groups are pushing for a boycott of beef, traditionally a key dish on the menu. The creators of a new college, majoring in fish sciences, have promised a drastic change in food patterns.
EGYPT-FRANCE: Boost to higher education cooperation
Egypt and France have agreed to boost collaboration between higher education institutions in the fields of science and technology. An agreement was signed by Egyptian Higher Education Minister Hani Helal and his French counterpart, Valérie Pécresse, at the 25th Africa-France summit held in the south-eastern French city of Nice from 31 May to 1 June.
SOUTH AFRICA: Call for research grant applications
A developmental initiative that includes universities in South Africa, India and Brazil and seeks to promote South-South cooperation, is calling for applications from South African researchers. Designed to support development of cooperation activities in science, technology and innovation, it aims to sustainably contribute to technological development.
CÔTE D'IVOIRE: Human rights institute to open soon
The Université Atlantique in Abidjan is opening an institute of human rights in September, and last month it held a conference to prepare its operations.