22 October 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Terrorists kill 148 people in university attack
As many as 148 people – most of them reportedly Christian students – were killed on Thursday after militants stormed a university in northeast Kenya, in one of the country’s worst Islamist attacks. Several other universities had warned of terror threats and stepped up security in the week before the attack. Photo: Jeff Angote, Daily Nation.
New institute to train international engineering elite
Groupe INSA, the French group of national institutes of applied sciences, and the University Euro-Méditerranéenne of Fes in Morocco have launched INSA Euro-Méditerranée, which will open in September. This first INSA outside France aims to train an internationally mobile, multilingual and multicultural, entrepreneurial engineering elite, and to contribute to development and consolidation of the Euro-Mediterranean region.
Ministerial nod for SKA telescope readiness plan
Nine African countries partnering in the Square Kilometre Array, or SKA – the massive international radio telescope research initiative – approved the readiness strategy and plan of action at their second ministerial meeting in Pretoria last month.
Top business schools forge entrepreneurship partnership
Six of Africa’s top business schools have forged a new association through which they will share resources and expertise, promote academic and student exchanges and conduct research aimed at boosting entrepreneurship, job creation and economic development on the continent.
New initiative to boost African leadership skills
The Global Young Academy, an international society of young scientists, has launched an initiative to support African academics aiming to take leading roles in projects. The Africa Science Leadership Program will be run by the University of Pretoria in South Africa in partnership with the academy.
Better school marks send record numbers to universities
Kenya’s students and higher education institutions are eyeing a storm. In the coming nine months, institutions will need funds and infrastructure to enrol tens of thousands more students, following the best-ever performance in school-leaving examinations.
Plummeting oil price, terror to hit HE budgets
The plummeting price of crude oil on the international market is already affecting the operations of Nigerian universities. In addition, the fight against the Islamic sect Boko Haram and sudden postponement of general elections, with anticipated financial implications, have raised fears of severe cuts to higher education funding.
HE Summit to call for more graduates, PhDs and research
Expanding tertiary education enrolment and postgraduate training, and improving low graduation rates and conditions of service for academics, are among the priority issues to be debated at the major African Higher Education Summit being held in Senegal next month, says Dr Beatrice Njenga, head of education at the African Union Commission.
New global network for research in citizenship education
An International Network for Research in Citizenship Education has been launched at a conference held in Marrakech, Morocco, earlier this month. The network’s aim is to advance the contributions of higher education to democracy on campuses and in wider society.
Land-grab thwarts Kenyatta academic hospital plans
Plans by one of Kenya’s biggest universities to establish a fully-fledged college of health sciences are being frustrated by an ongoing land-grab by more than 2,000 squatters who are occupying property on which Kenyatta University plans to build a teaching hospital.
TV exposé reveals diploma mills and corruption in HE
A TV exposé last week unearthed a certificate and diploma mill at one of Kenya’s leading aviation colleges. It also uncovered widespread rot in higher education institutions, many of which engage in academic malpractices and some of which are dishing out qualifications without requiring a person to step into a classroom or study.