University World News Africa Edition
26 March 2017 Issue 193 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


Curriculum redesign in the context of growing socio-economic inequality

   As part of our wide coverage on the recent Global University Network for Innovation’s sixth Higher Education in the World report, we feature an article by Ahmed Bawa in which he argues that university curriculum reform needs to tackle global challenges such as deepening socio-economic inequality.

   In Africa analysis Kwesi Kwaa Prah discusses the concept of intellectual sovereignty and what it means for African scholarship and transformation.

   In Africa features, Gilbert Nganga writes about the financial challenges facing Kenyan higher education, while Maina Waruru discusses an African Academy of Sciences initiative which is helping to make it possible for African scientists to pursue cutting-edge research in Africa rather than abroad.

   In Africa news, Kudzai Mashininga provides an update on the challenges facing student activists in Zimbabwe, while Wagdy Sawahel reports on the forging of ties between Turkey and North African universities.

   The 2017 Worldviews Lecture on Media and Higher Education, for which University World News is a media partner, will be presented on 5 April by Peter Scott. It is entitled “Populism and the Academy: On the ‘wrong side’ of history”.

   Also coming up is a free webinar on “International Student Mobility Trends: Shifting recruitment priorities and strategies”, to be held on 12 April, hosted by University World News in partnership with DrEducation and StudyPortals.

Sharon Dell – Africa Editor



Reinstated student vows to fight draconian powers

Kudzai Mashininga

The University of Zimbabwe has readmitted two student leaders suspended two years ago on the basis of draconian regulations that students say they will continue to challenge.


Turkey’s ‘soft power’ reaches North African universities

Wagdy Sawahel

A recently published higher education cooperation plan with Tunisia represents the latest milestone in Turkey’s plan to set up joint universities with North African Arab states in what is seen as an expression of cultural diplomacy or 'soft power' aimed at building regional alliances and partnerships.


Plagiarism – Ministry criticises lenient university heads

Laeed Zaghlami

The ministry of higher education and scientific research has sent a written notice to all university presidents, criticising them for non-compliance with a July 2016 ministerial decree which criminalised plagiarism, and urging them to deal with all irregularities in accordance with the rules.


Student violence derails higher education crisis meeting

Sungula Nkabinde

A two-day convention aimed at supporting the search for solutions to South Africa’s higher education challenges was called off last weekend after the event descended into chaos on the first day.


Ministry cracks down on ‘inadequate’ university offerings

Christabel Ligami

The Rwandan Ministry of Education has temporarily suspended the operations of four universities and courses in six other universities as part of a strategy to deal with sub-standard educational offerings.


Makerere to streamline courses to meet development goals

Christabel Ligami

Uganda’s flagship Makerere University has embarked on a process of phasing out, merging and scrapping of academic courses in order to reduce duplication and streamline courses in a move aimed at improving quality and aligning academic programmes with national development objectives.


Study calls for safeguarding of girls’ education at all levels

Gilbert Nakweya

New global data underscores the importance of policies that safeguard female children’s education at all levels and the need to encourage girls and women to pursue the highest levels of education.



Intellectual sovereignty – Shifting the centre of gravity

Kwesi Kwaa Prah

African academic endeavours must accept the fact that the centre of gravity of knowledge production about Africa and Africans must be situated in Africa, so that the ‘otherness’ of the subject of scholarship which Western hegemony has imposed on Africa and Africans is eliminated.


Preparing school leavers for what lies beyond

Onyi Nwaneri

A non-governmental organisation is helping to boost the eligibility of matriculants for university entrance and other further education and training opportunities.



Universities face tough times as budget hopes dashed

Gilbert Nganga

The vice-chancellor of the University of Nairobi has asked the government to review the budgetary allocation to his university after the treasury failed to meet public universities’ requisitions for the forthcoming fiscal year. The total allocation to all public universities, which is US$200 million less than the amount requested, has dashed the hopes of several institutions facing a crippling cash crunch.


Making it possible for young scientists to stay in Africa

Maina Waruru

Returning to the department of chemistry at Multimedia University of Kenya after completing his PhD studies at the State University of New York in the United States, Dickson Andala was frustrated by the lack of local laboratories that could analyse his samples he needed for his research.



Joint research projects to monitor Lake Kivu

Research organisations from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda are collaborating to intensify scientific research on Lake Kivu, thanks to funding of €1.3 million (US$1.4 million) from the government of the Netherlands.


Online training course launched for business managers

An online distance programme to train managers for small and medium businesses and industries has been officially launched in Dakar, Senegal, under a partnership between Centre Africain d’Etudes Supérieures en Gestion – the African Centre for Higher Studies in Management – and the Total Group.

NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report


Government recommits to long-term support for science

Brendan O'Malley

The Australian government has unveiled its new National Science Statement, which emphasises the long-term importance of science to the nation’s economy and society, and Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Arthur Sinodinos has reassured universities by pledging that the government will act “strategically and systematically” to support it.


University tuition fees back on the election agenda

Michael Gardner

With elections ahead in Germany, the issue of tuition fees in higher education has resurfaced. Across the board tuition fees were abolished for public-funded universities in all of Germany’s federal states by 2014, but while Social Democrats reject fees, views are split among, and even within, some of the other parties.


Dozens of academic journals appoint fake editor

Brendan O'Malley

Dozens of academic titles have offered a sham scientist a place on their editorial board during a sting operation by researchers investigating exploitation of academics by predatory journals. Their findings were published by Nature, the international weekly journal of science.


Education Department erodes student protections

Adam Harris, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Betsy DeVos, the new education secretary, hasn’t said much about her plans for higher education. But some observers already see a pattern in the department’s actions, deconstructing Barack Obama’s student loan protections and hiring employees from the profit sector.


Students end 150-day protest over for-profit campus

Aimee Chung

A five-month student protest over plans for a for-profit branch campus at South Korea’s most prestigious university came to an end after the university administration turned a water hose on the students the day after the country’s president Park Geun-Hye was ousted from office.


The Global University Network for Innovation or GUNi’s sixth Higher Education in the World report, entitled Towards a Socially Responsible University: Balancing the global with the local, deals with the dual responsibilities of universities at local and global scale. Some of the contributions to the report are republished in edited form in this special report.


Can universities be locally and globally engaged?

Brendan O'Malley

Lead editor of the Global University Network for Innovation's sixth Higher Education in the World report, Towards a Socially Responsible University: Balancing the global with the local, Francesc Xavier Grau, talks to University World News about the pressures mitigating against universities striving to be both locally competitive and globally responsible.


Redesigning the curriculum for the 21st century

Ahmed Bawa

In the face of debilitating cuts and new waves of student activism, universities around the world face scrutiny of their role in addressing the critical challenges facing the world. The curriculum needs to be transformed to address global challenges such as deepening socio-economic inequality.


Community engagement outperforms university rankings

Andrew Petter

Rankings serve as poor instruments for the vast majority of universities to distinguish themselves or to build their reputations. For most institutions, an ambitious campaign of community engagement is likely to produce much greater reputational dividends than the quixotic quest for an advance in the rankings.


Universities and civic engagement on a global scale

Barbara Lethem Ibrahim

How can universities link up globally to support civil society and learn from institutions in places of repression or conflict? Harnessing the strengths and guarding against the weaknesses of the digital revolution and spontaneous popular movements might be a good place to start.


Is the brain drain always negative?

Jamil Salmi and Katya Salmi

The brain drain is traditionally viewed as negative, but there can be positive effects if sending countries invest in diaspora initiatives, including collaborative arrangements between academics established in the North and universities in their home country.


For universities all global challenges are local

Budd L Hall, Nandita Bhatt and Walter Lepore

Curriculum change in higher education is an extremely complex process. In the search for excellence, engagement and social responsibility there is no contradiction between universities responding to local calls for action and global matters.



Seeking globally mobile students in a world in turmoil

The United Kingdom and United States are set on a path to creating more barriers to attracting and retaining international students. The two largest source countries of international students – China and India – have experienced economic changes that have decelerated the ambitions and ability of students to go abroad. What strategic options are higher education institutions considering in response to this turbulence?


The International Higher Education Forum organised by Universities UK on 21 March in London explored how universities in the United Kingdom can maximise the emerging international opportunities and overcome challenges resulting from the radical political shifts the UK has experienced over the last year. University World News covered the event.


Universities should make their own foreign policies

Nic Mitchell

Universities in the United States and United Kingdom need to call upon their “marvellous capacities for having their own foreign policies” in the light of Donald Trump being elected US president and Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, the 2017 International Higher Education Forum organised by Universities UK in London was told last week.


Driving up TNE is a key UK strategy post-Brexit

Nic Mitchell

Higher education will be a central plank in the strategy for boosting the export industry of post-Brexit Britain, the United Kingdom’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for International Trade, Mark Garnier, told the International Higher Education Forum in London. Transnational education or TNE provided a British higher education to more than 300,000 people in 2014-15, mostly in Asia.


Research partnerships must ‘match China’s ambitions’

Yojana Sharma

British universities’ partnerships in China need to ratchet up from academic research collaborations ending in published papers to a broader and more strategic approach to match China’s own national ambitions, an international higher education forum organised by Universities UK heard last week.


UK is best place to be a researcher, conference told

Nic Mitchell

British universities need to use one of the best weapons in their armoury to attract and retain international academic researchers in the era of Brexit and tighter visa restrictions, delegates to the Universities UK International Higher Education Forum were told last week.


Plea to universities to alleviate Syria’s brain drain

Nic Mitchell

The Institute of International Education has urged every one of the 15,000 universities around the world to offer a tuition-free place to one Syrian student and rescue one Syrian academic displaced by the civil war to prepare the country to rebuild after the conflict.



Why academics need to learn the art of storytelling

Frances Vavrus and Lesley Bartlett

In an era of ‘alternative facts’ academics need to ensure their research is accessible so that they can get their findings over to the general public. Two key ways to improve accessibility of scholarship are telling compelling personal stories about others and narrating stories about our own research.



Universities open their arms to returning ‘Dreamers’

Marion Lloyd

Mexican politicians and universities are preparing the way for many young Mexicans to return from the United States in the wake of President Donald Trump's threat to deport millions of illegal immigrants. Critics claim the easing of restrictions in university applications undermines quality controls, but one outcome could be greater student mobility in Mexico’s higher education system.



A 2040 vision of HE dominated by grand knowledge hubs

Jan Petter Myklebust

Indian and Chinese universities will expand one-hundred-fold and the future will be dominated by 'grand knowledge hubs' with four in Asia, two in North America, one in the United Kingdom and maybe others in Sweden/Denmark, Germany/Switzerland, Belgium/Netherlands and France, predicts Bert Van der Zwaan in his new book.



Populism – Is the academy on the wrong side of history?

How universities come to terms with the rising tide of populism highlighted by the election of Donald Trump in the United States and the United Kingdom's Brexit vote is the subject of the 2017 Worldviews Lecture on Media and Higher Education, "Populism and the Academy: On the 'wrong side' of history", for which University World News is a media partner.


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University applications up by 20%

At a time when many American universities are reporting declines in applications from international students, some universities north of the border are seeing increases on the magnitude of 20% or more, writes Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed.


Calls to name universities in China censorship deals

The Ministry of Education has come under criticism for not revealing the names of the universities it found to have signed agreements with Chinese institutions to censor course material, write Lin Hsiao-yun and William Hetherington for Taipei Times.


Government calls for transnational education strategy

A new report concludes that France is lagging behind in transnational education and needs a new national strategy to expand its market share of higher education programming abroad, reports ICEF Monitor.


What price will science pay for austerity?

Across Japan, early-career researchers face an uncertain future, as universities reduce the number of permanent staff positions and shunt more faculty into short-term contracts, writes Ichiko Fuyuno for NatureIndex.


Trump’s health budget may slash university payments

The Trump administration may be planning to help pay for a massive 18% cut to the National Institutes of Health by slashing payments to universities and research institutes for overhead costs, writes Jocelyn Kaiser for ScienceInsider.


Government acknowledges role for private universities

State Minister of Higher Education Mohan Lal Grero has said the government supports the establishment of private universities in light of the fact that over 150,000 students qualify for university admission annually, but only 27,000 or one-sixth can be accommodated in state-run universities, writes Dasun Edirisinghe for The Island.


Students told to drop safe spaces, no-platform policies

Students are being told to drop ‘safe spaces’ and no-platform policies as the universities and science minister is ordering universities to protect freedom of speech, writes Katie French for the Mail Online.


Melbourne University bows to pressure, renames building

The University of Melbourne has renamed the prominent Richard Berry building for maths and statistics at its main entrance. The move comes after a long anti-racism campaign by a group of staff and students, writes Marika Dobbin Thomas for The Age.


Higher education council enters PhD deal with Turkey

On the invitation of the Turkish Council of Higher Education, a two-member delegation of the Pakistani Higher Education Commission, led by Commission Chair Professor Mukhtar Ahmed, visited Ankara to sign a document of understanding for providing 80 PhD slots to Pakistani students in top ranked Turkish universities, writes Myra Imran for The News.


Publisher claims it had licence to sell theses online

In a new twist to the controversy over the suspected illegal online sale of University of Hong Kong theses, a publisher involved has told the press that the works in question were obtained under a licence which allows commercial use, writes Elizabeth Cheung for the South China Morning Post.


President declares anti-graft war on universities

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed a readiness to purge Nigerian universities of corruption and other related unwholesome practices damaging public higher institutions, reports The Guardian Nigeria.


Oxford at forefront of medical cannabis research

The University of Oxford will be at the forefront of a multimillion-pound research programme which hopes to help develop new therapies for acute and chronic conditions by examining the effects of medical cannabis, writes Alexandra Gibbs for


Nationalise higher education‚ says youth league

African National Congress Youth League Secretary General Njabulo Nzuza called for the nationalisation of higher education at the Fees Commission looking into the feasibility of fee-free higher education, in Pretoria last week, writes Michelle Gumede for the Sowetan.

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