21 August 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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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.
Call to improve Africa health and citizenship education
Ebola and HIV-Aids may have disappeared from the agenda of many international news organisations, but they are critical issues for teachers and health experts in Africa working to use education to combat epidemics and improve the health of citizens, said participants at the Second UNESCO Forum on Global Citizenship Education held in Paris from 28-30 January.
Turkey and Sudan announce higher education initiatives
Turkey and Sudan have unveiled a higher education cooperation plan that includes setting up a joint institution, networking among universities in the two countries and mutual recognition of degrees aimed at enhancing student and academic mobility.
Danish boost for research and PhDs
The University of Ghana has been awarded DKK9 million (US$1.4 million) in funding under the second phase of the Danish Building Stronger Universities programme – a partnership between universities in developing countries and in Denmark.
War-torn nation’s universities desperately need support
Somalia’s higher education sector has been growing rapidly. However, lack of government oversight, low quality, high levels of poverty, political instability and security challenges have been hindering reforms. A new prime minister has raised hopes – but is likely to be distracted by numerous other pressing problems.
Some students expelled over protests are reinstated
Egypt’s higher education authorities have started reviewing the cases of scores of students expelled from universities for alleged participation in violent anti-government protests. More than 50 students have already been reinstated.
Lucrative international education fairs draw scrutiny
Education fairs held annually in Nigerian cities are attracting attention for potentially harbouring fraudsters. The fairs, aimed at students seeking admission to universities abroad, have mushroomed in response to the exodus of Nigerian students seeking quality education in other countries. According to the British Council, in the UK alone there are nearly 18,000 Nigerian students.
MOOC, gender support for French-language universities
The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie has launched two higher education initiatives aimed at French-speaking African and other developing countries. They are to introduce massive open online courses in partnership with the Swiss École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and to establish an ‘equality for women’ network to counter gender discrimination in universities. The agency has also extended to Senegal a distance teacher-training venture to improve the skills of schoolteachers of, and in, French.
Kenya pumps US$2.7 million into Pan African University
Kenya has extended an extra US$2.7 million to the Pan African University for the construction of facilities at its campus near Nairobi – the Institute of Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation, or PAUSTI – one of five regional ‘nodes’ being developed across the continent. Last month the campus graduated its first ever masters students.
Four specialist regional universities to be created
Niger is seeking to enhance higher education by opening four new universities, each specialising in an area key to development. The West African country’s universities continue to face challenges, but experts hail the development as a boost to the education system.