University World News Africa Edition
14 August 2016 Issue 178 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
Defining the responsible university: Commonwealth HE leaders' conference

The Association of Commonwealth Universities leaders’ conference 2016 was held in Ghana last month. In a Special Report Brennan Weiss outlines a call by former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan for universities to promote democracy, as growing inequality and intolerance threaten higher education globally. He also examines the introduction of venture creation programmes in higher education and the role of the entrepreneurial university.
Tunde Fatunde reports on a ministerial panel that called for higher education to empower both women and men, roles for religions and dialogue in countering the radicalisation of students, historical injustices that universities are helping to overcome in South Africa and the Caribbean, and opportunities and challenges in African higher education.
In Commentary, Sean Gallagher writes that alternative qualifications experiments are blurring the boundaries between professional development, occupational credentialing and formal higher education. Yossef Ben-Meir, Mouhssine Tadlaoui-Cherki and Kati Roumani describe a non-profit organisation in Morocco that provides training for youth in vulnerable communities to help catalyse development and so counter violent extremism.
Bernhard Streitwieser and Simon Morris-Lange encourage Germany’s policy-makers and universities to lead the way in integrating young refugees and encouraging tolerance despite recent terror attacks, and Claudio Bifano hopes that Venezuelan science can overcome the underfunding, low wages and brain drain that characterised the era of Hugo Chávez.
Karen MacGregor – Africa Editor
Kudzai Mashininga

Unemployed graduates in Zimbabwe have held protests while wearing graduation gowns, calling on President Robert Mugabe to create the jobs he promised in his election manifesto, as a wave of demonstrations rocked the country.
Gilbert Nganga

Kenya’s university students are facing a defining moment following a stand-off between the government and university administrators over a plan to raise tuition fees from next year.
Munyaradzi Makoni

South African students, universities and colleges as well as banks and investors have been urged to assist in the search for “smarter solutions” to an ongoing, chronic shortage of student accommodation.
Esther Nakkazi

Non-teaching staff from Uganda’s six public universities have refused to heed a ministerial call to end their strike over a salary enhancement, thereby delaying the start of university for thousands of new students due to begin their first semester.
Francis Kokutse

The growing number of unemployed graduates in Ghana is not because the country is producing too many graduates but because there is no manpower planning to feed sectors of the economy, says Clement Dzidonu, president of the Accra Institute of Technology.
Wagdy Sawahel

Egypt’s cabinet has approved a draft bill to establish a space agency that will promote the development of space technology, science and engineering capacity, and space research and education in universities. It will be Africa’s fourth space agency.
Jane Marshall

Students in Cameroon were allegedly bribed to take part in a march to thank President Paul Biya for providing them with 500,000 Chinese laptops – an operation, said critics, that smacked of corruption and for which taxpayers would have to pay FCFA75 billion (US$127.5 million), a sum that could have been better spent.
The Association of Commonwealth Universities held its Conference of University Leaders 2016 in Ghana’s capital Accra from 27-29 July, under the theme “Defining the responsible university: Society, impact and growth". University World News was there, along with 250 university leaders, academics, officials and students from across the world.
Brennan Weiss

Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan called on universities around the world to promote democracy as growing inequality and intolerance threaten higher education globally, at this year’s Association of Commonwealth Universities leaders’ conference held in Ghana.
Tunde Fatunde

Higher education has a leading role to play in championing the kind of gender equality that empowers both women and men, according to high-level participants in a ministerial panel held on the final day of the Association of Commonwealth Universities 2016 conference.
Brennan Weiss

Venture creation programmes are still somewhat novel in higher education. Relatively few universities offer real-world entrepreneurial degrees and their implementation is often complicated by a lack of funding and faculty motivation.
Tunde Fatunde

The role of religious faith in combating extremism on university campuses was a central focus of two sessions at the Association of Commonwealth Universities conference, as participants reflected on the effects and implications of multiple terror attacks in 2015.
Tunde Fatunde

Historical injustice and reparations came under the spotlight at the recent Association of Commonwealth Universities conference, with calls made for greater support for student demands in South Africa and a ‘Marshall Plan’ to uplift the Caribbean region.
Brennan Weiss

Corporate social responsibility has been a fixture in the business world for decades, and has become embedded in many universities as higher education leaders seek alternative ways to achieve sustainability.
Tunde Fatunde

A major topic tackled at the recent Association of Commonwealth Universities conference was opportunities and barriers in African higher education. Access for more of the continent’s fast-growing young population turned out to be both an opportunity and a challenge, while low funding was identified as the major obstacle.
Francis Kokutse

The government of Sierra Leone has promised to provide more scholarships to students in higher education institutions to help cushion the effects of the Ebola disease, which led to an increase in fees, said former vice-chancellor of the University of Sierra Leone, Jonas Redwood-Sawyerr.

Algeria’s Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister Tahar Hadjar said his ministry had brought together “all necessary human and material resources” to ensure the enrolment process for new students would run smoothly. Meanwhile, the University of Ouargla has announced 156 new doctoral positions across a range of fields in the new academic year.

A partnership agreement to strengthen research and education has been signed between the regional council of Rabat-Salé-Kénitra, Morocco’s higher education and research ministry and three Rabat universities.
NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report
Ranjit Devraj

Internationalising higher education curricula is high on the agenda for India’s new Minister for Human Resource Development, Prakash Javadekar, along with the establishment of foreign universities in the country and collaboration between Indian universities and the world’s best.
Mary Beth Marklein

Alarmed by the growing frequency of news reports about academic corruption, an international panel of experts is calling for "action on a broad front" to combat the problem, arguing that dishonest practices are "undermining the quality and credibility of higher education around the world".
Mushfique Wadud

Bangladesh’s higher education regulatory body, the University Grants Commission, has ordered all private universities in the country to form a ‘monitoring cell’ to create awareness among students “against terrorism, extremism and militancy”. The new units will have to send monthly monitoring reports to the education ministry and the University Grants Commission.
Yojana Sharma

A survey of academics in the United Kingdom has found that some world-class scientists have already turned down posts at universities in the UK since the referendum in June that voted in favour of Britain leaving the European Union and one in five were planning to leave UK research posts, citing Brexit as the reason.
Brendan O'Malley

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed a decree enabling the closure of 15 universities and the Council of Higher Education ordered a crackdown on academics in the wake of the failed attempted military coup.
Michael Gardner

World University Service Germany fears that Turkey’s academics are being “systematically persecuted” and has made an urgent appeal to German universities to accommodate Turkish scholars and students under pressure from the government.
John Gerritsen

New Zealand’s government has launched a NZ$70 million (US$49 million) plan aimed at attracting world-leading researchers and their teams – particularly people with an established record in innovation and entrepreneurship in the top ‘maker’ disciplines – to the nation’s universities over the next four years.
Jan Petter Myklebust

Would any of our current systems have funded a young Albert Einstein or a Marie Sklodowska-Curie? The question was posed to the informal meeting of the Council of Ministers responsible for Competitiveness (Research) under the incoming Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union, last month by excellent young researchers calling for more diverse recruitment and freedom from stifling red tape.
Nita Temmerman

The academic board is at the core of academic governance and if it is not effective it calls into question the whole academic framework for verifying quality and integrity in teaching, learning and scholarship. So what makes for an effective one?
Yossef Ben-Meir, Mouhssine Tadlaoui-Cherki and Kati Roumani

A non-profit organisation is working with young people in Morocco through a range of training and capacity-building programmes that aim both to give them practical skills and improve the lives of their communities.
Bernhard Streitwieser and Simon Morris-Lange

Germany has been shocked by a series of terrorist attacks, but this should galvanise the country’s universities and policy-makers to address the barriers to the successful integration of many thousands of young refugees.
Sean Gallagher

Universities need to collaborate with employers who are the early adopters and opinion leaders in the world of new alternative credentials.
Claudio Bifano

The underfunding of science, very low wages for teachers and brain drain are a result of years of politicisation of higher education, under which peer review for financing research projects became no longer important and the award of scholarships and the equipping of research laboratories were subject to politics.
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The number of Indian students going overseas for undergraduate and postgraduate studies is expected to increase by 50% over the next five years due to a manifold increase in their family incomes, reports the Press Trust of India.

An Education Trust report shows that the top 4% of colleges and universities hold three quarters of all endowment wealth in higher education, yet four in five of those 138 institutions expect the neediest families to hand over more than 60% of their income to cover the cost of attendance, writes Danielle Douglas-Gabriel for The Washington Post.

Over a third of all international students who graduated from Dutch universities have remained in the Netherlands five years later, according to a report from EP-Nuffic on the rate of retention of foreign students, writes Natalie Marsh for The PIE News.

Data shows that private schools extended their lead over state schools in getting pupils into England's universities after higher fees were introduced, reports Hannah Richardson for the BBC.

South African universities are currently struggling financially and the situation is worsened by the huge, ballooning debt owed to the institutions by students, the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training chaired by Justice Jonathan Arthur Heher heard last week, reports Africa News Agency.

Finnish universities have agreed on common measures to protect Turkish researchers working in Finland from being purged in the aftermath of the coup attempt in Turkey, reports Xinhua.

The American University of Afghanistan was expected to reopen last week, days after being closed in the wake of the kidnapping of two teachers, reports Reuters.

Twenty-three universities are facing enrolment shortfalls this year, with six private institutions seeing only half of their expected numbers, a trend some experts said was a direct result of the nation’s declining birth rate, write Wu Po-hsuan and Willian Hetherington for Taipei Times.

The bill to convert six out of the 10 polytechnics into fully-fledged universities received the unanimous approval of Ghanaian legislators on 3 August, reports Ghana Web.

The heads of academic institutions warned last week that the opening of the upcoming academic year would be in jeopardy if planned budget cuts to the higher education system were to pass, reports The Jerusalem Post.

A new Grattan Institute report shows that while government and industry are urging more young people to study STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – courses, science graduates have a hard time finding their first job, writes Tim Dodd for the Australian Financial Review.

Elite universities are offering ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ degrees to lure A-grade students, it has emerged, as they ramp up their efforts to attract top-flight students, writes Javier Espinoza for The Telegraph.

Universities might appear to be on the back foot after a tumultuous year, but their scientific research work is booming, writes Tanya Farber for Times Live.

Scottish universities have called for urgent action to address fears of a £60 million (US$78 million) funding shortfall caused by the Brexit vote, writes Andrew Denholm for Herald Scotland.

Freshmen to universities with financial autonomy have called on the universities to publicise tuition fees so that they and their families can manage the sum actively, reports Viet Nam News.

United Arab Emirates University announced this month that it would start accepting applications from international students for admission to its undergraduate programmes which were previously limited to local students, writes Sami Zaatari for Gulf News.
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