24 April 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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MOROCCO
Academic suspends hunger strike as travel ban is lifted
Moroccan academic Maati Monjib has suspended his three-week hunger strike after authorities ended a travel ban imposed on him. But he has been accused of destabilising state security and might face up to five years in prison.
MOROCCO
Academic on hunger strike over travel ban, harassment
In an apparent violation of academic and other freedoms, Morocco’s government has allegedly prevented historian Maati Monjib from travelling to take part in conferences in Europe. Now the academic, human rights activist and writer is struggling for his life, more than two weeks into a hunger strike protesting against the government’s treatment of him.
EGYPT
New higher education regulatory body to boost autonomy
Egypt is to establish a Higher Education Regulatory Funding Authority in collaboration with the United Kingdom. The aim is to create an improved and more autonomous higher education system.
EGYPT
Ban on niqab-wearing lecturers sparks academic row
A ban by Cairo University, Egypt’s biggest public higher education institution, on women lecturers wearing the full-face veil – the niqab – has sparked controversy among academics in this mostly Muslim country.
SOUTH AFRICA
President announces task team to probe student funding
South African President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday announced the creation of a national task team “to explore solutions to short-term student funding challenges”. The decision was taken during a meeting with vice-chancellors and university council leaders increasingly concerned about issues such as student violence, politicisation of campuses and insufficient financial aid.
GLOBAL
New head for international francophone university agency
The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie, which promotes higher education and research in French-speaking universities throughout the world, has appointed a new director, Jean-Paul de Gaudemar.
NIGERIA
Protests greet downgrading of upgraded universities
Students and lecturers in four colleges of education that were upgraded into universities by former president Goodluck Jonathan just before he left office earlier this year, staged peaceful protests against alleged attempts by Nigeria’s new president to return them to colleges status.
AFRICA
Initiative to strengthen 16 African science councils
A US$15 million initiative to strengthen science granting councils in Africa held its inaugural forum in the Kenyan capital Nairobi this month. Initially science councils will be supported in 12 countries – Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
EGYPT
Controversial higher education minister replaced‬
Egypt’s controversial minister of higher education has been replaced in a cabinet change unveiled recently. The sacking of El-Sayed Abdel Khalek, who got the portfolio in June last year, followed a series of disputed decisions that angered the country’s lecturers and students.
AFRICA
Alliance for accelerating science excellence launched
The African Academy of Sciences and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development have launched the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa, with the ambition to raise the quality and quantity of the continent’s research output. Two new research initiatives were also announced, including a US$70 million grant to develop world-class researchers.
SOUTH AFRICA
‘Flagship’ to advance critical thought in humanities
The study of how people process and document the human experience in order to understand and record the world is set for growth with a new ‘flagship’ programme in humanities at the University of the Western Cape. The ‘flagship’ is a new institutional form aimed at responding to gaps in the framework of higher education in South Africa.
NIGERIA
Presidential promise to increase university funding
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has reportedly pledged top priority for an increase in university funding, and has instructed the National Universities Commission and the federal education ministry to work out how this might best be done. The populous country’s leader is said to be disturbed by the poor performance of Nigerian universities in rankings.
EGYPT
Students, academics oppose new university entry system
Some academics and students have slammed as unfair a new admissions system for public universities in Egypt, based on where students live. Which university a student is allowed to attend will be linked to the student's hometown.
GLOBAL
First global conference on HE internationalisation
The first Global Conference on Internationalisation of Higher Education will be held in August next year, in South Africa’s huge Kruger Park game reserve. The event flows from the first inclusive Global Dialogue held in Port Elizabeth in January 2014, attended by 24 international education organisations from across the world.
AFRICA-JAPAN
Second group among 1,000 African students off to Japan
Hundreds of African students are leaving for Japan this year, the second group to join the African Business Education Initiative for Youth, a five-year plan to provide 1,000 young Africans with opportunities to study for masters degrees at top universities and do internships at leading Japanese companies.
KENYA
Campuses promised police to boost anti-terror security
Police officers will be deployed on request to Kenyan universities to boost security and guard against possible future attacks by religious extremists, the government has said.
NIGERIA
‘No’ to privatising university-based schools
A government plan to withdraw funding from university-based primary schools and demonstration secondary schools on all campuses in Nigeria has met with sharp resistance. The schools were created and funded as an integral part of faculties of education to research methods of improving teaching and learning.
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.