The French-speaking University Agency, AUF, has 'adopted' 13 open and distance learning projects initiated by institutions in seven African countries. The projects represent 15 new degree courses which will be on offer through the AUF website. The involvement of higher education institutions in developing countries is a recent innovation in the agency's distance education system.
Angry students in Cotonou, capital of Benin in West Africa, barricaded the main entrance of the National University and scuffled with police in a surprise protest that started off about lack of facilities but turned violently against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. He was in town to attend the summit of a 26-member regional organisation called CEN-SAD, and was due to visit the campus to lay the foundation stone for a modern information and communication centre Libya has donated. Some students were hurt and some were arrested.
Teachers at the Côte d'Ivoire University of Bouaké's faculties of medicine, law, economics and humanities gave two weeks' notice of a work-to-rule because they have not yet been paid overtime and other bonuses due for 2006-07. Meanwhile in Angola, the Minister for Higher Education is planning to legislate to prevent academics holding more than one job.
The University of Mauritius is planning to cater for more than 4,500 new students in the new academic year - 1,388 more than last year. It is also offering more courses, with an extra 23 bachelors and seven masters degrees.
Supporters of imprisoned students in Marrakesh, Morocco, held a solidarity procession while most of 35 students on trial in Burkino Faso's capital Ouagadougou for criminal damage and wounding law officers were discharged - and four who were found guilty avoided closed prison sentences.
An African Network for the Internationalisation of Education, or ANIE, is to be launched in Kenya in November along with a new book, African Higher Education - The international dimension. ANIE will comprise a network of scholars, policymakers and professionals involved in international higher education in Africa and will have a secretariat based at Moi University in Kenya. The network will operate special initiatives, including one already established - a capacity-building programme aimed at young 'new generation' researchers and called the Network of Emerging Scholars on Internationalisation (NESI).
A new law governing higher education institutions in Zimbabwe, soon to become operational, has been dismissed by critics as draconian. Minister for Higher and Tertiary Education Stan Mudenge announced that the government was in the process of appointing a nine-member board that will exert control over institutions under the legislation - the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education Act.
Yasser al-Dakrouri, manager of a project to set up Egypt's first electronic university, doubts it will happen any time soon. He has secured approval from various agencies, including the governmental Higher Council for Universities which licenses institutions: "But the electronic university cannot operate without a presidential decree, for which we are still waiting," al-Dakrouri told University World News. "I think the state is not yet convinced of the idea of learning via the internet."
The Zimbabwe National Students Union, which represents students at 40 tertiary institutions across the country, has passed a resolution supporting Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai against 28-year ruler President Robert Mugabe in the country's fraught 27 June presidential election run-off. The resolution continues a tradition of student opposition to Mugabe's rule since 1990 - and many senior opposition figures are former student leaders or academics.
British universities have visited N igeria on a recruiting drive to attract rich N igerians who can afford high fees for their offspring to enrol as private students. A London-based company, British Canadian International Education, organised an education fair recently in two cities, Abuja and Lagos, on behalf of 15 British institutions. The fair gave parents the opportunity to prepare for the future of their children in the hope they would eventually secure, with internationally recognised university degrees, lucrative jobs as employees in multi-national companies in the highly competitive global economy.
The functions of the former Ministry of Education, Technical Education and Professional Training have been reallocated between three new ministries, including one which covers secondary and higher education. Meanwhile, a group of senior academics has called for greater priority for research, and some students risk losing the opportunity to sit their end-of-year examinations because of protest action by teachers on short-term contracts.
Nearly 50 computer scientists from four Francophone West African countries have just graduated as a result of a Canadian development project aimed at reducing poverty in Africa by producing high-level skills. A further 125 students should graduate next year from a distance learning degree programme, run as a partnership between Université Laval in Quebec and nine African universities. The project is being funded by the Canadian International Development Agency and managed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and the African Virtual University.
Seven students were sentenced this month to a year in prison and fined 1,500dh (US$203) following violent demonstrations at the halls of residence of Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakesh in May. Meanwhile, last week there were clashes at the University of Ouagadougou when police confronted students protesting about unsatisfactory conditions.
Malawian president Bingu wa Mutharika is to construct a private university in his home village. The institution will be called Kamoto University, a name derived from the village in the Thyolo District. "Land for the infrastructure has already been acquired," the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training said in a brief response to University World News.
The recently established faculties of medicine and pharmaceutical sciences and of industrial engineering at the University of Douala should have their own new campus by 2010, according to the Cameroon Tribune of Yaounde.
Teachers in 145 private higher education grandes écoles voted to strike from 5 June, claiming nine months' back pay. Their action threatens to lead to a boycott of exams in July, reported Nord-Sud in Abidjan.
N igerian sociologist Dr Omotade "Tade" Akin Aina has been selected as programme director of higher education in Africa for the Carnegie Corporation of New York. It was announced last week that Aina - whose widely recognised research has investigated urban poverty, governance and development - would "refine and implement the corporation's strategy to accelerate economic and social development in Africa by strengthening teaching, research, scholarship and leadership".
The Italian government will offer Gabonese students grants to enable them to follow certain courses in Italy, Gabonews reported from Libreville. Raffaele De Benedictis, Italy's ambassador to Gabon, told Minister of Education and Civic Instruction Michel Menga M'Essono that the grants would be available to undergraduates who had already studied the Italian language and wanted to continue their studies in Italy.
France's Institute of Research for Development (IRD) and the University Cheikh Anta Diop of Dakar (UCAD) have furthered their cooperation with two recent agreements which should lead to creation of an incubator for innovative companies, reported the Agence de Presse Sénégalaise.
Debate is raging in Nigerian universities about the need to integrate information and communication technology learning into the curriculum, in response to growing demand for computer skills in the labour market. The engineering faculty at Lagos State University has clinched senate approval to integrate certified ICT courses into its programmes - the most radical approach yet taken to ICT learning by a university in the country - but many in the sector still argue that computer literacy is the responsibility of students.
The University of the Free State has announced it will close the Reitz student residence on campus on 20 June. The residence, dubbed the 'hostel of hate', attracted worldwide notoriety in February after a video of black cleaners being humiliated by white students became public. An 'institute for diversity' will replace the residence. The university's credibility hinges on whether the move is 'window dressing' or creates an outstanding academic institute that works honestly to combat discrimination and promote transformation.
Two Zambian university students were shot and wounded by police during protests aimed at forcing the government to increase student allowances. Some students were arrested, police confirmed. The demonstrations at two public institutions - the University of Zambia and Copperbelt University - followed industrial action by lecturers who are demanding better pay.
Botswana's parliament recently approved a new tertiary education policy, Towards a knowledge society, for the stable and rapidly growing southern African nation. The major goals of the new approach to tertiary education are to enhance relevance, ensure quality, maintain diversity of choice and increase access - including more than doubling the ratio of young people entering tertiary education within two decades. The country's capacity for research and innovation is to be expanded from a single national university to other tertiary institutions and a second public university.
South Africa has 72 'A rated' researchers who are "unequivocally recognised by their peers as leading international scholars in their field", according to the rating system of the National Research Foundation. The great majority are in three universities - Cape Town, Stellenbosch and the Witwatersrand. There are now 1,686 rated researchers in six categories that cover experienced, young and 'disadvantaged' academics, and all receive 'glue' funding for their research.
In the week before striking lecturers at the University of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, voted to return to work, police used brutal force to break up a demonstration of angry students who were demanding resumption of their courses.