16 January 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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AFRICA
First regional masters in research and public policy
A new collaborative masters degree to develop Africa’s next generation of public policy leaders has been initiated by the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research, in cooperation with 12 universities in seven African countries.
MAURITIUS
More foreign students, more Mauritians study abroad
The number of international students studying in Mauritius increased during 2014 to more than 1,500 from 65 countries, while the number of Mauritians studying abroad also rose, according to the 16th annual Participation in Tertiary Education report. The well-off Indian Ocean island is positioning itself as a higher education hub – a destination for foreign students and for international universities.
AFRICA
UNESCO, African Union push continental ‘Bologna process’
The African Union Commission is pushing for all of its 54 member countries to ratify the UNESCO-backed 2014 Addis Convention – the Revised Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Certificates, Diplomas, Degrees and Other Academic Qualifications in Higher Education in African States. The new protocol replaces the 1981 Arusha Convention, which had only been endorsed by 20 countries.
AFRICA
New centres of excellence for East and Southern Africa
The World Bank-backed African Centres of Excellence initiative is expanding from Central and West Africa to East and Southern Africa. A call for universities that can develop highly skilled personnel and conduct applied research to meet the economic and developmental needs of the region was made in Uganda last month.
KENYA
MPs may ease loan repayment load on jobless graduates
There could be major relief on the way for Kenyan graduates as parliament mulls over a law that will bar the state-funded student loans agency from imposing interest and penalties on loans to graduates who remain jobless after completing their studies.
EGYPT
Mass violations against university students – Report
Egyptian university students are suffering from a sharp rise in harsh actions taken against them by security forces and university administrations. A new report documents a total of 1,552 violations against students arrested during the past academic year.
NIGERIA
President orders payment of lecturer salary arrears
Calls for the payment of salary backlogs by staff in state universities resumed after the recent elections in Nigeria. There had been a lull during pre-election campaigns, when soon-to-be President Muhammadu Buhari had promised to pay all salary arrears of public servants if his party was voted into power.
GHANA
Foreign institutions warned over PhD admissions
Foreign tertiary institutions in Ghana have been directed by the National Accreditation Board to ensure that only students with certificates awarded by institutions accredited by the board be admitted to PhD courses. It is also concerned about a spate of honorary degrees awarded to personalities by some unaccredited or unqualified institutions.
AFRICA
Talent war intensifies across Africa – Report
A tight competition for professional and technical skills is emerging in Africa with most companies experiencing volatile labour mobility of highly skilled persons, according to a new study by EY, one of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited.
KENYA
German scholarships for 300 Garissa massacre survivors
Just months after a terror attack killed 148 people at Garissa University College in northeast Kenya, 300 of its surviving students have been awarded scholarships to complete their studies by the German Academic Exchange Service.
KENYA
US firm to build student hostels in US$11 million project
Kenyatta University – Kenya’s largest institution by student numbers – has teamed up with New York-based private equity firm Integras to build hostels with a total of 10,000 beds. The US$11 million project is to be executed under a public-private partnership.
GLOBAL
Francophone higher education pledges digital cooperation
French-speaking higher education ministers and other representatives from more than 40 countries have agreed to cooperate in developing a global digital francophone university area, including a common website for sharing and distribution of common resources.
EGYPT
National university ranking system planned
In an effort to boost quality and make institutions more globally competitive, Egypt is planning to launch a national university ranking system. The step will place Egypt at the forefront of African countries producing rankings, along with Nigeria and Kenya.
AFRICA
Vice-chancellors agree need for international-isation
African university leaders overwhelmingly agree that forging ahead with the internationalisation of higher education is a matter of urgency. At the 2015 Conference of Rectors, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of African Universities in Rwanda, they even neared consensus on how to get there.
NIGERIA
Lecturers urge new president to solve security crisis
University lecturers in Nigeria are increasingly concerned about the destruction of lives and property on campuses and the disruption of academic activities by the extremist Islamic sect Boko Haram, especially in the northeast. The university community has urged President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, a former general, to find urgent short- and long-term solutions to security challenges in the region.
SOUTH AFRICA
Government to accelerate transformation in universities
South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande has announced that he is paying close attention to “accelerated transformation in universities, including setting concrete targets and transformation indicators”. The demographics of the professoriate needs to be radically changed, discrimination eliminated and student success and support improved.
AFRICA
UK foundation launches health research excellence fund
Britain’s Medical Research Foundation has launched a new £2.7 million (US$4.2 million) health research fund for Africa. The fund will support scientists to pursue projects at centres of excellence outside their current places of work. The Africa Research Excellence Fund will promote outstanding health research by Africans in Africa.
KENYA
Security chiefs ignored intelligence on Garissa attack
Almost a month after al-Shabaab Islamist militants stormed Garissa University College and killed 148 people, Kenya’s government has admitted that there was actionable intelligence that the college would be attacked – but security chiefs ignored the threat.
KENYA
International collaboration could land academics in jail
Kenyan universities entering into collaborations with foreign higher education institutions without express permission from the country’s university education authority risk severe punishment – including up to two years in jail or a US$11,000 fine, or both.
EGYPT
US$250 million US-Egypt higher education initiative
Egypt and the United States have launched a US$250 million, three-year initiative to enhance university partnerships and provide nearly 2,000 scholarships and exchanges for high-achieving Egyptians to study at home and in America.
NIGERIA
Academics urge reform of university leader selection
Members of Nigeria’s Academic Staff Union of Universities are demanding a review of processes used to select vice-chancellors and councils in public universities with a view to enhancing university autonomy.
KENYA
One student killed, 141 hurt in campus ‘terror’ stampede
One student died and 141 others were injured in a stampede at the University of Nairobi’s Kikuyu campus on Sunday 12 April after a transformer exploded – the result of an electrical fault that caused an underground cable to burst. Students jumped from hostels to the ground after mistaking the 04h00 explosion for an attack by al-Shabaab Islamist militants.
NIGERIA
Controversy over the role of academics in 2015 election
Nigeria’s recent general election witnessed high involvement of vice-chancellors as returning officials and new graduates as polling officers. The election was judged to be free and fair, but the participation of the university community has been enmeshed in controversy.
EGYPT
Islamic university pledges reform to fight militancy
Egypt’s Islamic Al-Azhar University has unveiled a plan to revise its curricula as the country cracks down on violent militancy. Al-Azhar is the world’s oldest, and a highly respected, Islamic seat of learning that attracts students from around the world.
EAST AFRICA
Kenya to drop visas in international student drive
The government is to abolish visas and special entry conditions for East Africans wishing to study at any university or college in Kenya, in a move that could see the country outsmart other regional states in the race to attract international students.