This month has been action-packed for the American University in Cairo, Egypt's oldest independent higher education institution founded 90 years ago. At high profile ceremonies attended by Egyptian and foreign dignitaries, the university launched three new schools - of global affairs and public policy, business, and graduate education.
The European Union will offer EUR20 million (US$27.3 million) to Egypt to promote research and innovation initiatives as well as establish technology-based industries. This was announced by the Ambassador of the European Delegation in Egypt Marc Franco at the first Euro-Mediterranean Innovation Marketplace held in Heliopolis, Egypt, from 26-28 January.
Private universities began to be established in Nigeria about a decade ago. They have refused to permit trade unionism among students and staff, allowing only loose associations with very strict guidelines. But there is a growing call for unions to be able to operate in private higher education, to promote democratic governance. Opponents are preparing to resist such a move.
In a recent report, the Southern African Regional Universities' Association, Sarua, started on the complex subject of regional integration and what it means for higher education. The Challenges of Regional Integration and its Implications for Higher Education aims to "set the background for engagement" around regional integration rather than provide definitive answers or proposals.
Universities are set to cash in on the 2010 Fifa World Cup with some institutions expected to earn up to R20 million (US$2.6 million), primarily from renting accommodation to some of the participating teams, their fans and media contingents following the competition. Universities have ploughed substantial investments into student residences and sporting facilities to take advantage of the huge event, and ultimately students will benefit.
Professor Diane Hildebrandt was one of two South African winners of the inaugural African Union Scientific Awards for basic science, technology and innovation, announced during an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Hildebrandt said she represented "scientists and engineers in Africa - men and women - who are doing research in often very difficult conditions and always with too few resources".
Students in Douala are facing increasing housing problems as landlords prefer to rent to more lucrative tenants, as well as burglaries when they do find student accommodation, according to newspapers Douala's area of Bonamoussadi contained buildings composed of bedsits intended for housing students, said Quotidienmutations.info of Yaoundï¿½. But it was clear that many of these rooms were occupied by workers and their families. Baby clothes were hung out to dry and shrieking children ran along the corridors said the publication, which interviewed students living in the area.
The Arab Women Organization has announced five research grants for young researchers in women's studies, and a prize for higher academic and scientific research into questions related to women. Candidates must be nationals of one of the organisation's member states.
A campaign to replace English with Arabic as the language of instruction for medical studies in Egypt has worried academics, who have warned of the negative impact on medical education.
A Malawian Court has ruled in favour of reintroducing a controversial higher education admissions system that obliges universities to enroll students according to district quotas rather than straight merit. Disgruntled students have vowed to appeal against the judgment.
Representatives from more than 20 countries this month adopted a policy guide for promoting multilingual and multicultural education throughout general education systems in Africa, with a view to transforming societies.
A committee leading the drafting of a new constitution in Zambia has adopted a clause that requires any future president to have a degree from a reputable university. The move has sparked a raging debate in the media about whether an academic background is critical in conducting affairs of state.
Zimbabwe student leaders held a crisis meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week after it emerged that 28% of students had dropped out of the country's leading university because of a lack of foreign currency to settle tuition fees.
A proposal by President Paul Biya to award nearly three billion FCFA (US$6.4 million) as 'bonuses for excellence' to the best students of Cameroon's seven state universities has divided students and academics and provoked accusations of corruption against university managements, according to a series of reports published in Le Messager of Douala.
Following the world's largest international clinic trial into an HIV preventative gel, scientists have concluded that it is not effective. The four-year trial was conducted in four African countries, ended in September last year, involved 9,385 women and proved controversial in Zambia.
The University of Cape Town (UCT), one of South Africa's top institutions, is undertaking an ambitious programme to balance race relations on campus. The university is accelerating its pace of transformation in the light of a government-commissioned probe into racism in higher education. "The report forced universities to think about these issues and to respond, which is what its real benefit has been," said Crain Soudien, chair of the committee that oversaw the investigation and head of the transformation programme at UCT.
One of Dr Blade Nzimande's first moves as South Africa's new Minister of Higher Education and Training was to institute a review of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, a step that heralded his concern with ongoing inequalities in the system and his intention to widen access to higher education for the country's poorest, mainly black students. It was also a sign that he intends to honour the African National Congress' election manifesto commitment to begin the process of providing free undergraduate study to financially needy students.
Rioting students caused damage estimated at more than 13 million FCFA (US$28,000) at Ensa, Senegal's national school of higher agricultural studies in Thiès, reported Le Soleil of Dakar.
A professional masters degree in epidemiological intervention and laboratory management started this month at the University of Ouagadougou, a joint initiative between Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Togo, four countries with high incidences of recurrent epidemics, reported Le Pay of Ouagadougou.
The Zenas University Trust, a grouping of lawyers and academics, intends to facilitate the setting up of a new university for law studies under the auspices of the Christian Legal Society of Zimbabwe after the trust's launch this weekend.
The Christmas Day attempt by a Nigerian student to set off a bomb on a Northwest Airlines plane flying from Amsterdam to Detroit has raised fears the incident will adversely affect foreign students, academics and researchers hoping to pursue their education in American and European universities. US President Barack Obama has ordered a comprehensive review of visa policy, including tightening regulations for Nigerians - especially students and those aged between 20 and 60.
Increased numbers of South African school-leavers eligible for university study, but with poor pass rates in mathematics and science in the 2009 national 'matriculation' examinations, mean universities will increasingly battle to provide academic support for under-prepared students.
Telemedicine has finally arrived in Nigeria via a pilot project recently launched at Lagos University. This interactive electronic mode of teaching, research and provision of medical services has been embraced by lecturers, students and patients. Its efficiency and cost-savings have encouraged other universities to consider partnerships with IT companies that provide telemedicine infrastructure.
Malawian clerics have embarked on a last-minute attempt to stop a controversial university quota system from taking effect. Planned demonstrations were blocked by the police who said they were illegal, but a petition was sent to President Bingu Wa Mutharika urging him to annul the system that directs university entry to be based on place of origin and not on merit.
Agricultural research and development projects have been highlighted in La Presse of Tunis. The newspaper has interviewed Amor Chermiti on the activities of Inrat, the National Institute of Agronomic Research of Tunisia, of which he is Director General, and it has published reports on the Bizerte competitive research cluster and its Agri-tech business centre and the research assessment area of the Institute of Arid Regions, which became fully operative in 2009.