Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is tightening his grip on the country's institutions of higher learning by scrapping elections to choose student leaders. The Zimbabwe National Students Union, Zinasu, said authorities at Harare Polytechnic had done away with student representative council elections and imposed people they could manipulate.
A new national agency to promote research and innovation in Tunisia was established in August, under the supervision of the Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Technology, La Presse of Tunis reported.
Two African universities have slipped from the top 500 identified by the Academic Ranking of World Universities, leaving only three - the universities of Cape Town, the Witwatersrand and KwaZulu-Natal - in the elite global list for 2008. South Africa follows Ireland into 25th place in terms of percentage distribution of top universities by country, ahead of Europe's Greece, Hungary, Poland and Portugal as well as India.
Academics in Zimbabwe have warned President Robert Mugabe that all state-controlled higher education institutions face closure as a result of poor working conditions, the brain drain and other problems arising from the country's political and economic crises. With inflation now at 42 million percent, lecturers said their salaries no longer covered transport costs and that they had not been working since June.
The Botswana government has deported a media studies lecturer at the University of Botswana who is on the latest Zimbabwe sanctions list of the European Union. Ceasar Zvayi, former political editor of the Harare-based state-owned newspaper The Herald, had moved to Botswana to take up the lecturing job shortly after President Robert Mugabe's controversial re-election in a one-man poll on 27 June - prompting a public outcry in Botswana.
President Paul Biya has fulfilled an 11-year promise and the University of Maroua, Cameroon's seventh, is about to open. The new institution will consist of faculties yet to be created, and two grandes écoles, the Ecole Normale Supérieure and the Institut Supérieur du Sahel.
Parents of students have been relieved of a heavy financial burden - they will no longer have to buy or hire expensive gowns for their children's university graduations, says Le Phare of Kinshasa. A ministerial decree has banned students from wearing the ceremonial robes which will in future be reserved for academics only. The prohibition also covers infants leaving nursery school.
Nine University of Zambia students have been arrested following rioting aimed at pressing the government to resolve a crippling strike by lecturers at the country's oldest institution. Similar protests two months ago resulted in police shooting and injuring two students.
Fifteen students at the University of Ziguinchor have been punished for protesting against the Minister for Higher Education, Professor Moustapha Sourang, during his visit in July. The most severe penalty was immediate exclusion from the university for up to two years.
The South African Students Congress - the country's biggest student union - has called for students "to take up arms and fight racism" on campuses, for the sacking of the Minister of Education, a five-year plan to deliver free education and the renaming of Rhodes University because of its "imperialist" associations.
CAMES, the Conseil africain et malgache pour l'enseignement supérieur (African and Malagasy Council for Higher Education) - which represents 17 francophone African states - has approved a record number of candidates applying to join its register of qualified personnel at all levels of higher education and research, reported Le Pays of Ouagadougou.
The former Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), Dakar's elite teacher training college, has been transformed into the Faculté des sciences et techniques de l'éducation et de la formation (Fastef). Moustapha Sourang, the Minister of Higher Education, says the move will ensure that all teachers in the education system are properly trained and will put an end to short-term contractual work. Meanwhile UCAD, the country's leading university, has received a visit from Google executives looking for a site for an African research development centre.
Although he came top of his class in this year's secondary school certificate examinations Hassan Abdel Fatah, 19, is unlikely to achieve his dream of attending medical school. An Egyptian court recently upheld a request from the Doctors' Association, an independent union, that the number of new medical students be slashed because of pressure on standards and an over-supply of doctors. In line with the ruling, the number of new enrolments at medical schools will be cut by 14%, from 7,800 to 6,700.
A media studies lecturer at the University of Botswana has been slapped with targeted sanctions by the European Union for his role in propping up the government of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Ceaser Zvayi, a Zimbabwean citizen and former political editor of the government mouthpiece The Herald, is among 37 individuals added to a list of 168 people who face travel restrictions and a freeze on their assets in EU countries.
Scotland's University of Dundee has launched a pilot project aimed at reducing Africa's medical brain drain, through a partnership with the University of Malawi's college of medicine that will see selected final year students undergoing four-month placements in the southern African country.
Tunisian Higher Education Minister Lazhar Bououni has stressed the need to instil an entrepreneurial culture in students and to implement higher education reforms passed in February, reported La Presse of Tunis. The reforms include raising the quality of education, decentralisation and improving management efficiency, as well as strengthening the systems of evaluation and allocating posts.
Government plans to open public universities in different regions of Angola should resolve a number of issues in these areas, said Joao Saveia, Vice-rector of the Université Technique d'Angola (Utanga), according to the Angola Press Agency of Luanda.
Zimbabwean students are turning to Asian universities following Australia's decision to deport eight youngsters whose fathers are accused of propping up the government of President Robert Mugabe - and more students might yet be deported. The United States has also said five students involved in "anti-democratic" activities would be deported, but has not said when or given their names. Unlike in the past, local papers are now awash with advertisements offering students places at Asian universities, mostly in Malaysia.
More than a million Nigerian youngsters wrote qualifying tests conducted by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, hoping to clinch a university place. But universities can accept only 153,000 out of 448,000 successful candidates, meaning that 295,000 qualified would-be students will be denied admission to higher education when the 2008-09 academic year begins in October.
Mozambique is planning to increase the number of scientific institutions as part of a strategic bid to enable better use of trained staff and to fight grinding poverty currently affecting half of its 20 million people. The Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Heath have formalised a five-year memorandum of understanding aimed at promoting science and technology research.
Mohamed Abdel Moneim, a lecturer in the faculty of commerce at the southern Egyptian University of Beni Sueif, was shocked when he came across a book carrying the name of a fellow lecturer - it had the same title as a book he had authored dealing with purchase and warehouse management. "That was not all. The alleged author had plagiarised a large chunk of my book," Moneim recalls. His case was one of many instances of plagiarism that have been uncovered in recent years, and which experts say have come to plague research in Egypt.
A University of Zimbabwe student appeared in the Harare High Court last week on charges of plotting a coup against the government of long-time ruler President Robert Mugabe. Rangarirai Mazirofa, 21, a second year agriculture student, was arrested in May last year with six other men for allegedly plotting to assassinate the ageing despot with the help of the security forces. He has been tortured in prison. The men all face a death sentence.
Moustapha Sourang, the new Minister for Higher Education, visited the University of Ziguinchor this month with promises of substantially increased funding - but found himself greeted by the boos of protesting students, according to several sources. Meanwhile, three of Dakar's higher education institutions have signed an agreement to harmonise research and develop teacher exchanges.
Students in Ouagadougou faced severe hardship following sudden eviction from their halls of residence and closure of canteens at the end of June, reported L'Observateur Paalga and Le Pays of Ouagadougou. Dangers to which they were exposed included criminal attack, disease, hunger, rain and being forced into prostitution.
Teachers at the University of Bouaké have gone ahead with their decision to work to rule, and are demanding back payments owed to them since 2006-07 before they will resume extra teaching duties, reported Notre Voie of Abidjan (see "Academics feeling the pinch", University World News, 6 July 2008).