The recent ‘zero draft’ of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals document directly references the need to improve science and technology skills and capacity in developing countries, with developing country delegates to the UN hoping that those will not be sidelined or weakened in subsequent negotiations.
As joblessness rises across Africa, Ghana’s President John Dramani Mahama has identified the refusal of graduates to accept jobs they consider below their status as one problem that has to be solved if the dream of getting more graduates into employment is to materialise.
Tawfik Jelassi, Tunisia’s minister with responsibility for higher education and scientific research, gave an assessment of the sector for the previous 100 days, setting out progress and priorities including university elections, high graduate unemployment, and planned new institutions and research departments. Meanwhile, a report has found that women are under-represented in Tunisia’s highest university posts.
The Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, known by its French acronym UEMOA, is offering support for higher education to member countries so they can achieve international standards. And a partnership between UNESCO and the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie will develop educational ICTs in eight universities in UEMOA countries.
A network for Sudanese women researchers has been formed, to highlight the successes of women in science and to enhance their contribution to innovation and economic growth.
The University of Namibia has admitted its first batch of students into a new masters degree programme in gender and development studies, kindling hope of new solutions to gender-related problems that include violence in which scores of women have been murdered.
A US$2.6 million grant to support the training of postgraduate students in population sciences and public health in 10 universities across Africa has been made by the Carnegie Corporation of New York.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Fifteen graduates of the digital Campus Numerique Francophone of Kinshasa have received their awards for successful online studies, including certificates for completing massive open online courses or MOOCs.
Zimbabwean prosecutors have charged 11 student leaders for breach of the peace or bigotry following protests held in the capital Harare in February. The trial has highlighted possible divisions between moderates and hardliners in President Robert Mugabe's government.
A law that allows the authorities of the University of Ghana to prevent people who are not members of the institution from entering its premises has come under attack on several fronts, after a booth was erected at the main entrance to control road use.
Student unrest has broken out in Burundi, where students went on strike over reform of their grant system. And in Cote d'Ivoire, students have been protesting over lack of housing - 18 months after universities reopened after two years of closure.
Nearly 100 staff at the University of Dar es Salaam have benefited from a German government-supported initiative to assist staff to obtain postgraduate degrees, as the institution pushes to improve the qualifications of its academics.
Senegal's higher education union SAES has written a letter of protest to the president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, after the bank's country director claimed salaries of Senegalese lecturers were five times higher than those of academics in the United States, and called for them to be reduced.
Two animal rights and anti-vivisection organisations, the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection and Animal Defenders International, have called on the Mauritius government to halt the export of macaque monkeys to laboratories abroad for experimentation.
Public universities in Benin were recently closed in protest against human rights abuses and corruption. The country's three academic unions joined an indefinite strike by civil servants that paralysed the public sector from late last year.
An alumni association has been launched by Botswana's newest private university, with the aim of linking its staff and students to the country's well-do-to resource-based economy.
A middle-level private college is set to make history in Kenya later this year when it transforms into a university – a first for a private college in the East African country.
The University of the Witwatersrand will from this year host five new chairs in the areas of migration, diversity and health under the prestigious South African Research Chairs Initiative.
This year James Ngugi, a primary school teacher, should have begun enjoying the fruits of his ‘labour’ and recouping some of the money spent studying for a diploma in early childhood development, a popular course for teachers keen on improving their lot.
Tanzania’s government has spent Sh61.2 billion (US$38 million) on rehabilitating agricultural research institutions and on the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology. The aim is to increase higher education and research capacity so that the country can become self-sufficient in scientific expertise.
Kenya is set to begin construction of the facility that will house the East Africa satellite campus of the Pan African University – the higher education flagship project of the African Union – at the host Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
Zambia is to start constructing a military university by the end of this year, as the country prioritises defence and security studies. The decision follows the establishment of a military university in September last year by neighbouring Zimbabwe.
The Regional Initiative in Science and Education, RISE – a major project aimed at boosting higher education in Africa in sciences and engineering through postgraduate training in university-based networks – has been granted US$5 million for three years from its major donor.
The Dar es Salaam campus of Tanzania’s Mzumbe University, in collaboration with Stellenbosch University in South Africa, is preparing masters degrees in managing huge projects in mining, gas and oil. Tanzania is exploring gas deposits found recently, and has sent students to Brazil for oil- and gas-related studies.
Malawi has crafted a Higher Education Students' Loan Bill that will benefit students attending both public and accredited private universities. Previously, only students at state-run universities could access loans.