University World News Africa Edition
03 May 2015 Issue 151 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Kenyan security chiefs ignored intelligence on planned university attack

In Africa News, Wachira Kigotho reports on security failures ahead of the al-Shabaab massacre of students at Garissa University College and, also in Kenya, Maina Waruru finds harsh penalties facing people who breach the law in forging international degree programme collaborations. Tunde Fatunde writes about academic discontent over vice-chancellor and university council selection processes and appointments in Nigeria.
In Africa Features, Wachira Kigotho finds progress in building capacity and investment in agricultural research in Sub-Saharan Africa, but also serious constraints.
In Commentary, Simon Marginson explores the link between wealth and access to the upper reaches of higher education and calls for mass education to be shored up through government guarantees and funding mechanisms.
Ly Tran and Catherine Gomes say overuse of stereotypes of international students as victims, cheaters or permanent residence hunters is harming Australia’s attempts to create an inclusive environment for all students. Patrick Prendergast asks what has to be done to ensure research in Europe is supported in ways that can promote the development of innovative products and the engagement of entrepreneurs.
And in World Blog, Hans de Wit says the relationship between academic disciplines and internationalisation of the curriculum is poorly understood.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
Wachira Kigotho

Almost a month after al-Shabaab Islamist militants stormed Garissa University College and killed 148 people, Kenya’s government has admitted that there was actionable intelligence that the college would be attacked – but security chiefs ignored the threat.
Maina Waruru

Kenyan universities entering into collaborations with foreign higher education institutions without express permission from the country’s university education authority risk severe punishment – including up to two years in jail or a US$11,000 fine, or both.
Wagdy Sawahel

Egypt and the United States have launched a US$250 million, three-year initiative to enhance university partnerships and provide nearly 2,000 scholarships and exchanges for high-achieving Egyptians to study at home and in America.
Ashraf Khaled

Cairo University recently became the first academic institution in Egypt to launch an initiative against sexual harassment, amid an alleged rise in the offence on campuses across the country. The university’s President Gaber Nassar said the move was aimed at establishing a model for curbing on-campus harassment.
Tunde Fatunde

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.
Munyaradzi Makoni

South African institutions have performed well in the new QS – Quacquarelli Symonds – World University Rankings by Subject 2015. There are seven of the country’s universities in the ranking, South African institutions cumulatively appear 15 times among the top 100 across the disciplines and the University of Cape Town is seventh globally in development studies.
Kudzai Mashininga

Zimbabwe has established a fund for university graduates to start businesses to help stem the country’s high employment rate, currently pegged at 90%. Most graduates end up on the streets, with some even resorting to vending as Zimbabwe’s economic crisis deepens.

The Association of African Universities, the African Union Commission and the European Union have issued a call to African universities to join the second phase of their Harmonisation and Tuning initiative.

The first part of major research into “Building Academic Freedom and Democracy in Africa” has revealed that 14 African countries have explicit reference to academic freedom in their constitutions. Now academics across the continent are being called on to participate in a survey of academic freedom norms and practices on the ground.
Wagdy Sawahel and Jane Marshall

A Moroccan-German Institute of Applied Sciences is to open in Meknès under a partnership between Morocco’s University of Moulay Ismaïl and Germany’s Aachen University of Applied Sciences – one of a number of partnership initiatives set to revolutionise research in Moroccan universities and institutes. Another initiative is the establishment of an Egyptian-Moroccan research coalition.
Maina Waruru

Kenya has embraced the University Research Chairs – or URC – programme, a model that has already been adopted by countries such as Canada and South Africa.
Wachira Kigotho

Sub-Saharan Africa’s agricultural research capacity grew by 50% in the decade from 2000, to reach 14,500 researchers, and public agricultural research spending rose by more than one-third to US$1.7 billion. Still, the quality and quantity of agricultural research outputs is being constrained by underinvestment, inadequate human resources, poor infrastructure and lack of coherent research policies, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.

More than 120 students are waiting to find out if their qualifications will be recognised, following a ruling by the Tertiary Education Commission that some foreign higher education institutions based in Mauritius do not conform to its regulations.

A new framework research and technological development law for Algeria includes a review of the National Evaluation Council and strengthening and widening the scope of activities of thematic research agencies, Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister Mohamed Mebarki has told members of parliament.

Senegal’s University of Thiès is to benefit from a FCFA6.9 billion (US$11.8 million) renovation for the construction of quality facilities, Touty Diop, a representative of the regional education authority, has announced.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
David Jobbins

The US and the UK together dominate the rest of the world in the latest QS World University Rankings by Subject, released last week. The two countries together have 50% of the top 50 places, ahead of regions such as Asia (17%) and mainland Europe (15.5%). The US has 36.6% of top 50 places and the UK 14%.
Binod Ghimire

The devastating earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday 25 April has caused widespread damage to education buildings, including to the facilities and colleges of Nepal’s main university, and all colleges and schools have closed until mid-May.
Eugene Vorotnikov

The Russian government plans to increase the number of state-funded university places allocated to foreign students from 15,000 to 20,000, a rise of 33%, starting from January next year. The extra places will be set in the Moscow State University, the Saint Petersburg State University, the Higher School of Economics and other top universities.
Suvendrini Kakuchi

Japan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has announced it will extend some US$15 million this fiscal year starting in April to support Japanese studies in nine selected US universities, in a bid to counter the growing cultural influence of China and South Korea internationally.
Yojana Sharma

Collaboration between universities in Europe and Asia can help improve quality of education, student mobility and ultimately the employability of graduates, a conference of Asian and European higher education ministers held in Riga, Latvia heard last week.
Jan Petter Myklebust

The Centre for Justice is suing Mälardalen University College on behalf of a US student whose course allegedly did not match the level of quality promised, the first such case since tuition fees were brought in for non-EU foreign students.
Beckie Supiano, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Brookings Institution has released a new ‘value added’ ranking of colleges, which takes into account alumni’s mid-career earnings, student-loan repayment and average salary.
Brendan O’Malley

An independent investigator has found substantial evidence of mistreatment of workers engaged in the building of New York University’s Abu Dhabi campus. Its report shines a light on the complex challenges universities can face in setting up foreign campuses.
Paul Rigg

A town of 320 people in the mountainous area of Castellón, north-eastern Spain, has attracted considerable interest among Spanish universities because of its unique way of promoting culture and boosting economic growth.
Simon Marginson

Socially differentiated access to higher education overall, and in particular to its upper reaches, is contributing to growing social and economic inequality in English-speaking countries – and will continue to do so unless we rebuild a more egalitarian higher education system.
Patrick Prendergast

We need to stop creating artificial dichotomies between private and public or between blue skies and applied research and admit that each is dependent on the other.
Ly Tran and Catherine Gomes

Suggesting all international students are only interested in gaining permanent residence rather than pursuing an education in a country they highly respect leads to them being marginalised and unable to be a useful resource for their fellow students.
Hans de Wit

While there is still a strong focus on the ‘abroad’ side of internationalisation, there is an ever stronger call to pay attention to internationalisation of the curriculum at home, but studies are scarce and academic voices are rarely heard.
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Greek scientists are angry and incredulous at what they see as a double-pronged government attack on the country's research system: the confiscation of research funding to plug a hole in Greece's ever worsening finances, and a new reform of higher education that they say will make universities more politicised and less meritocratic, writes Edwin Cartlidge for Science.

Eurostat figures have revealed that the European Union is edging closer to its Europe 2020 target that 40% of 30-34 year olds should have completed a higher education course, writes Peter Taberner for Prague Post.

The Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani has stated in the Rajya Sabha, or Council of States, that the University Grants Commission is making an effort to deal with the issue of fake universities and has identified 21 fake universities across the country, reports India Today.

Universities are hiring more social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists as demand for campus mental-health services rises. But persistent budget gaps mean that students in some cases are footing much of the cost of the positions, write Melissa Korn and Angela Chen for The Wall Street Journal.

The fall in part-time students in the UK means lost opportunities for individuals and the economy, the new head of the Open University has warned, writes Sean Coughlan for BBC News.

Alternatives to higher education must be developed for school leavers, to alleviate the financial pressure on universities and institutes of technology, the chair of a third-level expert group has said, writes Joe Humphreys for The Irish Times.

The Columbia University student accused of rape by fellow student Emma Sulkowicz, who became a symbol of campus sexual assault with a high-profile campaign to bring awareness to her case, is fighting back in court, writes Irin Carmon for msnbc.

The Innovative Research Universities grouping has clashed with a key science and engineering body over how to encourage more links between university researchers and industry, writes Tim Dodd for Australian Financial Review.

Europe’s leading quality monitoring organisation in language education, EAQUALS, has seen growing interest from universities keen to accredit courses in foreign languages as they aim to internationalise campuses, writes Sara Custer for The PIE News.

An election year budget that focuses on investments in research infrastructure and partnerships with industry but flatlines funding for basic science is being lamented as a lost opportunity by Canadian research advocates, writes Ivan Semeniuk for The Globe and Mail.

South African Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande says he will call on all higher education institutions in his country to freeze their contacts with Israeli universities in response to Israel’s refusal to grant him an entry visa, writes Barak Ravid for Haaretz.

Corinthian Colleges will shut down all of its remaining 28 ground campuses, displacing about 16,000 students, less than two weeks after the US Department of Education announced it was fining the for-profit institution US$30 million for misrepresentation, reports Associated Press.

The School of Oriental and African Studies, or SOAS, University of London has become the first university in the capital and the third in the UK to commit to pulling its investments out of fossil fuels, in what campaigners called a historic decision, writes Emma Howard for the Guardian.

The cost of education rose by 9.3% in March compared to March last year. This is 5.3% higher than the headline inflation figure of 4% year-on-year for the same month, according to Statistics SA data, writes Ntsakisi Maswanganyi for BDLive.

The University of Alaska announced recently that scores of top university administrators will take five to 10 days of mandatory unpaid leave as part of a larger plan to pare spending, writes Jeannette Lee Falsey for Alaska Dispatch News.
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