20 November 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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AFRICA
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.
KENYA
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.
NIGERIA
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.
AFRICA
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.
GLOBAL
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.
KENYA
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.
KENYA
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.
GLOBAL
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.
GLOBAL
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.
GHANA
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.
SOMALIA
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.
EGYPT
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.
NIGERIA
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.
GLOBAL
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.
AFRICA
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.
NIGER
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.
EGYPT
Students suffer following unrest at Islamist university
On arriving in Cairo from his village in Egypt’s Delta last month to start studies as a medical freshman at the state-run Al-Azhar University, Omar Mahrus was in for a shock. On asking when he could move into the university's state-subsidised dormitories, Mahrus was told that no date had been set for re-opening the facility.
NIGERIA
Summit – ‘Spend cash on education or be left behind’
The four university-based unions in Nigeria recently held their first joint national education summit in Abuja, the federal capital. The main objective was to take stock of education and training since independence 54 years ago, and by the end of the summit a realistic ‘road map’ had been produced to tackle problems in the sector.
AFRICA
Second round of diaspora scholars in US head for Africa
There has been an enthusiastic response to the two-year Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program, which connects African-born academics working in North America to universities in six African countries. The second round of diaspora academics will begin travelling to Africa next month.
KENYA
Government issues legitimate university courses list
Kenya’s Commission for University Education has published a list of more than 1,000 approved programmes at universities, in an effort to end rows over unaccredited courses and learners obtaining degrees that are not recognised. But the move has not resolved a row over professional bodies rejecting some degrees, which has led to violent student protests and the closure of three institutions.
KENYA
Eyebrows raised as politicos breeze through degrees
Questions are being asked about the quality and integrity of an undergraduate degree being offered by a Kenyan Christian university, which is popular with politicians and adult learners and can apparently be completed in a couple of years.
EGYPT
Military trials for students spark concerns
A new law in Egypt allowing military trials for students accused of attacking university facilities has raised concerns among academics and rights advocates about freedoms in the country. Universities have been rocked by violent protests blamed on Islamist students since the new semester began on 11 October.
NIGERIA
Private universities campaign for public funding
Private universities in Nigeria have stepped up efforts to secure financial support from both the federal and regional governments. The private institutions argue that they are fulfilling responsibilities similar to those of public universities that have access to government funds.
MOROCCO
More students and universities – But underlying decay
Higher education in Morocco continues to attract an increasing number of students and new universities have opened. But a critic of government policies has highlighted problems including lack of lecturers, stagnation of research, and reforms that have not been carried out.
MOROCCO
Minister announces ‘hubs’ and other university changes
Morocco is considering a number of higher education reforms, including grouping big universities together into ‘hubs’ to increase their visibility, promoting research and making mastering English compulsory for students wanting admission to science universities.