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.
The Democratic Republic of Congo's Minister for Higher Education, Léonard Mashako Mamba, is introducing legislation with the aim of boosting the country's higher education system and enabling universities to meet the challenges of globalisation, reported Le Potentiel of Kinshasa.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.