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.
A trial of isoniazid preventive therapy plus antiretroviral therapy to prevent tuberculosis has shown safety and efficacy in patients with HIV, say researchers at the University of Cape Town in a study published in The Lancet. Tuberculosis is the biggest cause of morbidity and mortality in people infected with HIV in Africa.
Following violent confrontations between police and students at the University Cheikh Anta Diop – Senegal’s leading university – the Minister of Higher Education and Research Mary Teuw Niane told the media the crisis was “necessary” and “even predictable”.
The recent deaths of some Nigerian students in Ghana shattered the ‘Eldorado’ perceptions of Nigerian parents towards Ghanaian tertiary institutions. Subsequent critical assessment of Ghana’s institutions has highlighted their good, bad and the ugly sides – along with the extraordinary news that there are now some 75,000 Nigerians studying in Ghana.
A three-year higher education Tuning Middle East and North Africa – T-MEDA – initiative was launched last month in four fields including tourism, nursing, law and architecture. The project was unveiled at an event in Jordan and outlined by the Association of Arab Universities.
Kenya is set to boost its pool of desperately needed high-level health care professionals after the Ministry of Health approved seven public and private higher education institutions to train doctors. It is hoped that expanding medical training will stem a shortage that has been frustrating the country’s health care plans.
There were hopes for a return to calm a week after violent confrontations between police and students led to severe damage to property on the campus of Senegal’s top Université Cheikh Anta Diop. Students were continuing an indefinite strike, although 22 who had faced charges in court were released.
The gates of universities in Benin have been thrown open after a more than three-month public sector strike ended. Lecturers had come under pressure to resume work, and some of their demands had been met, with the rest being investigated by the government.
The Senegalese government is satisfied with progress in carrying out its reforms under the Presidential Council on the Future of Higher Education and Research. But there are delays in accomplishing some important measures, according to press reports.
Administrators at Derna University in Libya have agreed to build a wall across the campus to segregate women and men students, following threats from radical Islamists.
Recognition that universities - and research universities in particular - are critical to development and to building knowledge economies will enable Africa to grow its prosperity for the next 50 years, African Union chair Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said last week.
Egypt's state-run universities, hit by months of anti-government protests, have brought forward end-of-year examinations by three weeks - drawing angry reactions from students.
Egyptian lecturers and academic freedom groups have called on international human rights organisations to support the release of detained academics and students and a halt to violations of rights in universities, in a report that also records the deaths, arrests or fleeing of 212 academics.
Kenya is seeking to audit its science and technology offering, hoping to ride on its growing role as a regional hub for emerging technologies.