Following the suspension of student loans and a week-long ultimatum, 15 universities in Tanzania have responded to a ministerial directive to pay back loans issued to them for thousands of ‘ghost’ students.
Photo: Abdul-Razaq Badru, head of the student loans board
Photo: Abdul-Razaq Badru, head of the student loans board
Kenyan universities are facing a fresh financial crisis following revelations contained in a recent national audit that they are operating at a deficit of over US$100 million, with serious consequences for education quality.
A crisis is looming in Kenyan universities over the shortage of professors, low numbers of qualified lecturers and low numbers of PhD students in both public and private universities, according to a recent report.
Academic activities at all five campuses of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa have been suspended after two weeks of violent protest which saw the torching of one of the country’s finest law libraries on the Howard College campus in Durban.
The African Union has launched an African passport, signalling visa-free access to all 54 of the continent’s nations. But if this free passage is to benefit higher education and science, it must be accompanied by harmonised qualifications, bureaucratic efficiency and infrastructure to support academic mobility.
Tanzania has suspended student loans amounting to TZS3.2 billion (US$1.5 million) affecting over 2,000 students, some of whom are believed to be non-existent as they failed to show up during a verification exercise.
South Africa’s battle over tuition fees is far from over, generating instability across the sector and simmering student protests. Last week the government revealed that 16 out of 26 public institutions – including Africa’s top universities – could face financial distress if fees do not rise, and could have a nearly R4 billion (US$279 million) funding shortfall for 2017-18.
Unemployed graduates in Zimbabwe have held protests while wearing graduation gowns, calling on President Robert Mugabe to create the jobs he promised in his election manifesto, as a wave of demonstrations rocked the country.
Kenya’s university students are facing a defining moment following a stand-off between the government and university administrators over a plan to raise tuition fees from next year.
South African students, universities and colleges as well as banks and investors have been urged to assist in the search for “smarter solutions” to an ongoing, chronic shortage of student accommodation.
Ministers of education have agreed on a draft declaration for implementation of a harmonised higher education system for the East African Community. From next year students will be able to transfer credits to higher education institutions in five partner states.
The Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities has proposed reforms to deal with the increasing number of individuals being promoted to professorships without apparently following due process.
Egypt’s main state-run Cairo University has suspended – for alleged corruption – six professors linked to the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, as a crackdown on Islamist academics persists.
The government of China is investing a massive US$20 million in the University of Nairobi’s Confucius Institute, one of the big education projects by the Chinese in Africa.
While some have welcomed it, many academics, business representatives and civil society groups in Nigeria have rejected Federal Minister of Education Mallam Adamu Adamu’s recent scrapping of the post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination admissions system.
The French Development Agency has given a US$30 million concessional credit line to commercial banks in Kenya to finance new and ongoing university infrastructure investment initiatives in strategic faculties.
Poor investment, weak capacity and security, as well as political instability and onerous bureaucracy in war-torn Libya have produced a higher education system characterised by inadequate infrastructure and graduates poorly prepared for jobs, according to a new report.
The World Bank Group’s board of executive directors has approved a US$140 million credit for eight Eastern and Southern African countries to set up 24 centres of excellence in universities to strengthen postgraduate training and research in priority sectors.
Benchmarking as a tool for improving quality in African universities was the focus of the first regional benchmarking and capacity building workshop organised by the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology – PASET – and held in Abuja, Nigeria last week.
University leaders, higher education policy-makers and experts from the Middle East and North Africa have called for stronger measures to improve university governance and teaching quality, in order to increase the competitiveness and employability of graduates.
Uganda’s nine public universities are set to undergo substantial restructuring as the government prepares to implement reforms recommending the formation of ‘innovation universities’.
A bill by the Nigerian parliament’s upper house to curb sexual harassment on university campuses – which carries jail sentences of up to five years for offenders – has successfully passed a second reading. A third and final reading of the bill is expected soon.
Kenya’s total university student enrolment rose 22.8% last year, marked by increased female enrolment and driven by massive infrastructure development, the introduction of new courses and the opening of more satellite campuses.
Egypt’s state-run Beni-Suef University has expelled three students after they were found to have painted slogans on campus criticising the country’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, over the controversial transfer of two strategic islands to Saudi Arabia.
Universities across Africa must move away from liberal arts courses in order to make higher education relevant and ensure the continent is not left behind in today’s technological world, Ghana’s Vice-president Kwesi Amissah-Arthur said while opening the second Times Higher Education Africa Universities Summit in the capital Accra.