ISSN 1756-297XAFRICA: 0001 30 March 2008
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N igerian university lecturers face the sack if they don't gain PhDs.

The European Parliament is pushing for more concrete collaboration between African and European Union researchers. Photo: University of the Witwatersrand.


This week University World News launches a fortnightly Africa Edition, a niched regional edition of our global publication. The Africa Edition aims to generate greater coverage of universities in Africa and to improve communication between people working or interested in higher education on the continent. It will feature reporting on higher education news, issues, analysis and developments across Africa and will also include many of the stories published in the global edition. Any reader wishing to receive both the Africa and Global emailed editions of University World News should write to

AFRICA: News from across the continent

N IGERIA: Lecturers without PhDs to lose their jobs
Tunde Fatunde
Public and private universities in N igeria were recently reminded by Professor Julius Okojie, Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, that by 2009 all lecturers must possess a doctoral degree – or lose their jobs. This directive, supported by the federal government, has generated a great deal of controversy in and outside higher education. But both supporters and opponents of the idea are unanimous about one thing – to prevent instability and uncertainty in the fragile university system, the qualifications deadline should be extended to allow affected academics to obtain their PhDs.
Full report on the University World News site

KENYA: Universities back in business after violence
Stephen Ndegwa
Kenya’s eight public universities have fully resumed normal academic programmes after the unprecedented violence that hit the country in January and February this year. For the University in Nairobi, the nerve centre of academic pursuit in Kenya, peace could not be more welcome – the institution lost two staff members and a student to the violence. The university’s public relations manager, Charles Sikulu, says none of the institution’s six colleges opened on 7 January as scheduled. The first to open was the College of Health Sciences, including all postgraduate students, on 21 January. The rest of the university’s students resumed learning on 18 February.
Full report on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Student anger over unused loan money
Karen MacGregor
Students in South Africa have reacted with anger to news that universities have returned at least R50 million (US$6.2 million) in funding earmarked for study bursaries and loans to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, or NSFAS. The money could have helped secure a funded university place for some 5,000 additional poor students last year. But universities are not entirely to blame, says NSFAS chief executive officer Pragasen Naicker – with growing numbers of bursaries tied to scarce-skills courses, and some bursary funding coming in late, it is extremely difficult to match all bursaries with needy students at all universities.
Full report on the University World News site

EU-AFRICA: Push for more research cooperation
Keith Nuthall
The European Parliament has pushed for more concrete collaboration between African and European Union researchers, amid concerns that grand declarations of altruistic intentions are failing to deliver cash or expertise. A formal resolution passed by parliament members, or MEPs, called for a “special emphasis” to be placed on research into AIDS in African countries within the EU’s ongoing seventh framework programme on research, which commands a huge €53.2 billion budget, nearly three times the total GDP of Kenya.
Full report on the University World News site

MALAWI: Dispute in university over student quotas
Muyanga Ziba
Academics and the council at the University of Malawi have been at loggerheads over a controversial quota system that the institution agreed to use this year when selecting students. At a recent meeting the senate decided not to implement the district-based quota system as is, with one member saying that it was overwhelmingly rejected by all but one person. The senate agreed to a quota system if it was to take poverty and disability into consideration – but not the districts students come from.
Full report on the University World News site


BOTSWANA: Second public university to open in 2010
Special correspondent
The Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), which will enrol its first students in 2010 to become the country’s second public university, has been planned over the last five years. After six months of work, a Task Force on the Establishment of the Second University in Botswana reported to the Minister of Education in May 2004. The report favoured the new university being located in Francistown, in north-east Botswana. But for political reasons the government chose Palapye, a small town 180 kilometres south of Francistown and 260 kilometres north of the capital Gaborone. Locally it is being billed as ‘Palapye University’ and a blog with that name is promoting it. The idea is to develop a research-oriented university with postgraduates comprising one in five of 10,000 students within a decade.
Full report on the University World News site

CANADA: Training Botswana academics for new university
Philip Fine
Almost two dozen graduate students, more accustomed to a baking southern African sun than a late-winter freeze, have been hunkering down in Canada. They are hoping to play an important role in the early history of a new university in Botswana. The 18 men and five women, all studying in eastern Canada, along with five others enrolled in an American university, form a first cohort of potential professors needed for the nascent Botswana International University of Science and Technology. If they graduate with good academic standing, the masters students will likely find a spot on the BIUST faculty, beefing up the numbers of qualified domestic teachers for an institution that will open its doors in early 2010.
Full report on the University World News site

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report

FRANCE: Researchers protest against Sarkozy's reforms
Jane Marshall
Researchers in France are uniting in protest against planned reforms they claim will lead to political control of public research and loss of autonomy for the nation's research organisations, such as the multi-disciplinary National Centre for Scientific Research. More than 600 directors of laboratories and members of national scientific authorities gathered in Paris earlier this month to express their fears for the future of public research.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Booming private sector
Diane Spencer
The private higher education market is burgeoning. It is already worth an estimated $400 billion worldwide – around 17% is spent globally on the sector and about a quarter of all higher education students are in private sector institutions. Dr Neil Kemp, visiting fellow at London's Institute of Education and adviser to the Association of Independent Higher Education Providers, points to a huge increase in numbers of students being educated outside their home countries: 2.7 million or a 50% rise since 2000. By 2025, almost eight million students would be educated internationally, Kemp told a "Rethinking higher education" conference held in London this month.
Full report on the University World News site

CHINA: Major reshuffle at key universities
Michael Delaney
A series of appointments at high-ranking universities across China, timed to coincide with the annual meeting of parliament, has set the direction for the next generation of leaders and academics. With no major legislation planned for this year’s session of the ‘two meetings’ – the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference – the government is said to be ‘fine tuning’ its policies and personnel for the years ahead. In the academic sphere, this includes turning out the right sort of graduates. China has high and rising graduate unemployment yet still suffers from a lack of qualified managers, forcing Chinese companies to look overseas. But universities are also important politically.
Full report on the University World News site

EUROPE: EIT clears legislative hurdle
Alan Osborn
The proposed new European Institute of Innovation and Technology cleared another legislative hurdle this month when the EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament jointly agreed a “common position” for stabilising the institution. The next step will be appointing the governing board later this year and formal establishment of the institute. A major question is the location: Vienna, Budapest, Wroclaw and Munich have all put in bids.
Full report on the University World News site


AUSTRALIA: Confronting brain-drain migration
The trend for students to study abroad looks set to continue and with it the strong likelihood that many will remain in the country in which they study. Success in the knowledge economy rests on the availability of highly skilled and qualified people, and the loss of the highly educated can have a deleterious effect on the social and economic development of sending countries. Although the education and migration policies of receiving countries are clearly a powerful force in determining the movement of students, sending countries also have the potential to shape international student flow, writes Cate Gribble, a researcher with the Globalism Institute at RMIT University in Melbourne, in the Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management.
More on the University World News site


US: Goldman Sachs offers training for 10,000 women
Brendan O'Malley
The Goldman Sachs business group is to provide 10,000 women, mainly in developing countries, with a business and management education via partnerships between universities in the United States and Europe and business schools in emerging and developing economies. The ‘10,000 Women Initiative’ was inspired by Goldman Sachs research showing the powerful effects on societies and economies of greater participation in the workforce by women. It could help ease concerns about the fact that Africa’s student population is the most internationally mobile in the world, a factor contributing to the poorest continent's brain drain.
Full report on the University World News site

EU: Universities and businesses must work together
Renée Cordes
Europe's universities and companies must work together as a matter of urgency to ensure a more productive and mobile workforce, European Union Education Commissioner Ján Figel told the first European University-Business Forum in Brussels. Figel said that Europe had been too weak for too long in bringing the worlds of academia and business enterprise together to achieve successful commercial exploitation of academic excellence. "Universities here have tended to shy away from 'getting their hands dirty with business'. That is totally inappropriate in the 21st century," he said.
Full report on the University World News site


BOTSWANA: Africa mourns Swedish educator
Obituary: Ulla Kann, educator
4 April 1938 –22 February 2008
Dorcas Molefe, Owen Pansiri and Sheldon Weeks*
Africans are mourning a Swedish educator who devoted her life to empowering the isolated and disadvantaged. Ulla Kann, who trained as a psychologist before moving into international aid and development, left a particular mark on education in Botswana and Namibia. She believed in promoting girls' education, encouraging women in science, developing remote areas, minority empowerment and education for all. She died of a heart attack at her home in Stockholm on 22 February, just short of what would have been her 70th birthday on 4 April.
Full report on the University World News site

UNI-LATERAL: Off-beat university stories

GREECE: Third time lucky for jailed chancellor
Makki Marseilles
Former chancellor of the Athens Pandio University, Emilios Metaxopoulos, will be released from prison after his third successive application to be freed for health reasons was accepted by the National Parole Board. Metaxopoulos was jailed for 25 years following a trial in which he was accused of mismanaging university property in a celebrated €4 million misappropriation of funds case involving several academics and other university staff ( See University World News, 13 January 2008 ). He is suffering from a liver complaint and has been treated for the last three months in the prison hospital under guard.
Full report on the University World News site

UK: Prisoners paid £730,000 in university grants loophole
Prisoners have been paid student grants and loans totalling £730,000 while taking university courses in jail, the Government has admitted. The figure is almost three times higher than parliament was told recently, reports The Times. More than 100 inmates exploited a loophole for a decade to get loans and maintenance grants even though they were already being housed and fed at taxpayers’ expense.
More on the University World News site


GHANA: Call for quality assurance in African HE
Professor Akilagpa Sawyerr, Secretary-General of the Association of African Universities, has called on higher education stakeholders to work seriously to ensure adequate quality assurance in higher education, reports Modern Ghana. With the establishment of more universities in Africa it was imperative to work seriously on quality assurance systems so that higher learning progressed, he said at a three-day validating meeting to discuss a strategies for executing African Rating Mechanisms for Higher Education and for moving the African Union higher education programme forward.
More on the University World News site

SOUTH AFRICA: Fee hike versus affordability tension
Fee increases and the lack of student funding at tertiary institutions are placing severe strain on disadvantaged students and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, according to South Africa’s Minister of Education Naledi Pandor, reports Independent Online. "There is a tension between the legitimate belief that charging higher fees is a reasonable way of raising university income and the certain knowledge that charging fees will deter qualified students from disadvantaged backgrounds from going to university," she said.
More on the University World News site

ANGOLA: History research commission announced
A commission for scientific research and divulging of the history of Angola, including battles fought for the consolidation of independence and achievement of peace, will be set up this year by the Ministries of Education, Culture and the State Secretariat for Higher Education, reports the Angolan Press Agency.
More on the University World News site

CHINA: Moves to develop higher education
China will invest 10 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) on creating around 1,000 key subjects between now and 2011 in the country's universities. This is the third phase of the ‘211 Project’, which is being implemented jointly by China's Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and the National Development and Reform Commission. It aims to concentrate resources to construct about 100 key higher education institutions and disciplines in the 21st century, reports
More on the University World News site

US: Online celebration of historically black colleges
The first digital collection of documents and materials chronicling the founding of America's historically black tertiary institutions is available online at 'A digital collection celebrating the founding of the historically black college and university' includes more than 1,000 scanned photographs, manuscripts, letters and publications from 10 institutions, reports The project, funded by The Andrew W Mellon Foundation, represents the first collaborative effort by libraries at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to make a historical collection digitally available.
More on the University World News site

US: The ‘double hit’ on women’s salaries
Surveys abound showing that women in academe (and the rest of society) earn less than men. Likewise, theories abound for why this is the case, so many years after it ceased to be acceptable for deans (or other bosses) to automatically assume a woman could make do with less, writes Inside Higher Ed. A scholar at the University of Iowa, who has been mining national data, told the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association that the results indicate – even using the most sophisticated possible approach to take into consideration non-s exist reasons for pay differentials – that the pay gap remains, based on gender. While this cannot be definitively tied to s exism, there are not a lot of likely alternative explanations – and the study suggests that the salary gaps may be here to stay.
More on the University World News site

AUSTRALIA: Push for overhaul of 'b astardised' loans
The Federal Government is under growing pressure to revamp the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS), as students seize on research suggesting it could contribute to reduced home ownership, low fertility rates and tax evasion, reports The Age. Less than two weeks after Education Minister Julia Gillard announced a sweeping review of Australian universities, the government has been urged to also examine the impact of the HECS debt on the national economy.
More on the University World News site

UK: Universities split on fast-track revolution
England’s universities follow “a teaching year that mimics the medieval agricultural and religious cycle”, as one professor puts it. “Anything outside Monday to Friday from late September to May – and three weeks off at Christmas and Easter – has to be the subject of special deals and usually higher pay.” But now, reports the Financial Times, Whitehall is trying to drag universities from the 11th century into the 21st, with a radical paper that speaks of courses with a timetable and content that suits business demands – reaching its apogee in a proposal for 48-week degrees. “This would require something of a revolution,” says the professor.
More on the University World News site

MALAYSIA: Market needs to dictate, says HE minister
Concerned about the large number of jobless graduates, Malaysia’s new Higher Education Ministry may limit the number of students enrolled in courses that do not fit market needs at public higher education institutions, reports The Star. Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said it would be necessary to ensure that courses offered were what the country needed, and it might be necessary to reduce the student numbers on “non-relevant courses”.
More on the University World News site
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