Kenyan university students resumed studies in late September after highly disruptive, countrywide street protests over an unprecedented delay in the disbursement of student loans.
The Zimbabwe National Students Union has demanded the withdrawal of a PhD awarded last month to the wife of President Robert Mugabe, arguing that it is not credible. First lady Grace Mugabe stands accused of having registered at the University of Zimbabwe in July this year and completing her PhD thesis last month, in a record two months.
Tunisia has officially unveiled an economic development mega-project that will house research and science, university and medical ‘cities’ and will include a range of research centres, science institutes and branches of foreign universities.
A private university in Kenya is facing an auction of some of its prime property by banks and several other institutions are in financial trouble, in what some fear is a signal that the rapid expansion of higher education in the country has reached a sustainability limit.
The deaths in Nigeria of two medical doctors associated with teaching hospitals, both victims of the dreaded Ebola virus in the horrifying outbreak of the disease in West Africa, has created panic and unsettled nerves on campuses.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, once a student of the arts but now a champion of science, has advised universities funded by the government to develop more science courses and to drop many in the arts and humanities.
The decision by Egyptian authorities to postpone the start of the new academic year by two weeks has drawn sustained criticism from lecturers and students. Minister of Higher Education Sayed Abdel Khaleq said universities would open their gates on 11 October instead of 27 September as scheduled.
Foreign students from large, fast-growing cities in emerging markets who are enrolled in universities and colleges in the United States contribute significant financial and social benefits and skills to their new metropolitan destinations, according to the Global Cities Initiative, a groundbreaking joint project of the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.
Five cities – Lagos, Nairobi, Accra, Addis Ababa and Cairo – are the home towns of the largest contingents of African foreign students studying in universities and colleges in the United States, according to a report from the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.
A highly selective system of tracking students into general and vocational secondary education quite early, based on high-stakes national examinations, has significantly contributed to inequities in access to higher education and learning achievement in Egypt, says a new World Bank study.
Following the massive failure of students in pre-university examinations, Nigeria’s influential daily newspaper The Guardian – in a rare front-page editorial – urged the authorities to declare a state of emergency in education. The vast majority of university lecturers supported the newspaper’s call.
Kenya is seeking private investors to set up an ambitious online university to ease an enrolment crisis. After a three-year shortfall in funding – which saw the government raise only US$282,300 for the US$36 million project – it has changed course regarding finance.
Egypt’s professional unions have warned against an increase in numbers of new students attending the country’s schools of pharmacology and dentistry, saying that graduates of both majors already surpass the market needs.
The Botswana International University of Science and Technology is now operating at its permanent home in the country’s central district, having moved from temporary premises near the capital Gaborone. It has bold ambitions, and is luring research students from around the world to drive a strong postgraduate and research agenda.
Senegal’s leading university, Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar was in crisis last week after a student was killed in a violent confrontation with police during protests over non-payment of grants and other grievances linked to government reforms.
In the wake of 20 years of democracy celebrations, two occurrences in universities starkly reminded South Africans of how far the country has yet to go to overcome apartheid. The death of popular Stellenbosch Vice-chancellor Russel Botman sparked accusations that he had been ‘killed’ by Afrikaner conservatives, while Cape Town was fiercely attacked by black intellectuals after unveiling a new student admissions policy.
The German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD, has signed an agreement with the Association of African Universities, Ghana’s National Accreditation Board and the Nigerian National Universities Commission to promote internal quality assurance in higher education in a new project for the West African region.
Kenyatta University has become the first in East Africa to have a fully-fledged digital school, offering a wide range of courses through virtual and open learning. A free tablet uploaded with course materials for every student is expected to be a huge drawcard.
The five East African Community member countries have taken the biggest step yet towards harmonising higher education by crafting a draft credit transfer system and a qualifications model. The new qualifications system – which awaits several approvals before being rolled out – means Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda will harmonise the courses offered in their universities.
The United Nations Environment Programme has produced a 50-hour masters module climate change MOOC – massive open online course – that will be taught through the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability and is expected to reach a large global audience.
South Africa has reportedly been selected to host the southern, space sciences node of the Pan African University – after initial rejection, a five-year wait and much politicking. But the African Union Commission has not yet been officially informed.
With the need for Côte d’Ivoire to rebuild its higher education and research system following violent crises that closed public universities for two years, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has asked the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie to lead a project to modernise and reform the system.
A first round of 33 African-born academics working in North America have been selected for 31 projects at 24 universities across Africa under the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program – and a deadline for new applications is looming. Scholars in the diaspora are supported to return to Africa for academic collaborations initiated by African institutions.
Kenya has upped spending on public universities by a meagre 5% for the new fiscal year starting in July, potentially slowing down expansionary projects. Allocations to universities will increase from US$624 million to US$658 million, according to new budgetary estimates.
Harmonisation of the governance systems of higher education institutions in the eight countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union is among recommendations of a report on how improved governance in the sector could boost socio-economic development.