University World News Africa Edition
18 June 2017 Issue 199 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


Outcry over Trump budget proposal to cut medical centre research funds

   In Africa Features this week, Andrew Green gives voice to the outcry from academics across Africa following a proposal by the US Trump administration to cut funding for the Fogarty centre, which is mutually beneficial to US and African collaborators, while Tunde Fatunde writes about a monarch’s intervention in a government proposal to ban agricultural colleges from offering management courses in Nigeria; and Gilbert Nakweya reports that a UNESCO-organised conference on higher education and research in Djibouti resolved that East African governments should work with universities on climate change.

   In the first of our two-part Special Report on the recent Association of African Universities 14th General Conference and Golden Jubilee Celebrations, Sharon Dell writes about the way in which an EU project is helping African universities to improve the employability of its graduates; while Francis Kokutse reports on Africa’s progress towards harmonisation in higher education, and Ard Jongsma highlights the importance of student voices in any university change process.

   Among our news reports from around the continent, Wachira Kigotho writes about new guidelines for academic appointments and promotions in Kenya which place heavy emphasis on publication in reputable, peer-reviewed journals, while Maina Waruru writes about a German-funded ICT centre of excellence planned for East Africa.

   In World Blog this week, Margaret Andrews says higher education institutions need to prepare themselves for an increasingly turbulent environment, and a bit of awareness, advance planning and knowledge can make all the difference.

Sharon Dell – Africa Editor



New guidelines set high publishing bar for academics

Wachira Kigotho

Kenya’s Commission for University Education has issued stringent new guidelines for the appointment and promotion of academic staff in a system that gives heavy emphasis to publication in reputable, peer-reviewed journals and discourages publication in so-called predatory journals. While the move is intended to raise academic standards, it has also raised concerns about the hurdles to publication facing many Kenyan academics.


Germany to fund new regional ICT centre of excellence

Maina Waruru

The government of Germany is set to deepen higher education cooperation with East Africa by funding the establishment of a centre of excellence in information and communication technology in the region to deliver a specialised masters programme in embedded and mobile systems.


New Episcopal university to help meet growing HE demand

Wagdy Sawahel

The Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan University Partnership is establishing a multi-campus university with a Christian ethos in a move aimed at meeting increasing demand for higher education in the country and improving quality.


New diaspora portal aims to turn brain drain into gain

Wagdy Sawahel

An academic diaspora portal has been launched in Mauritania in a bid to address the loss of local scholars and expertise in a country marked by serious brain drain.


University suspends 50 students for a year over protests

Kudzai Mashininga

The country’s Mulungushi University has suspended 50 students, including student union leaders, for a year following recent riots over fees that students say are unaffordable. At the same time the Zambian government has announced that all student union activities at the institution have also been suspended for a year.


Academy sends nine scholars to Nobel Laureate meetings

Sam Otieno

The African Academy of Sciences has nominated seven African scholars under the age of 35 to participate in this year’s prestigious Lindau Nobel Laureate meeting dedicated to chemistry, which takes place later this month. This will be followed in August by the sixth Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences – at which Africa will be represented by two young economists.



University gender affirmative action – Time for a change

Zachariah Mushawatu

Despite the fact that women outnumber men at the University of Zimbabwe, there are few female engineering students. It may be time to rethink the institution’s gender affirmative action policy.


The Association of African Universities marked its Golden Jubilee Celebration at its 14th General Conference held in Accra, Ghana from 5-8 June under the theme ‘AAU@50: Achievements, Challenges and Prospects for Sustainable Development in Africa’. We capture some of the highlights of the conference this week in the first of our two-part special report. The second part will run in next week’s Global edition.


The AAU – A continuous champion of higher education

Sharon Dell

The Association of African Universities, or AAU, was founded in Morocco in 1967 with 34 of the then existing 46 higher education institutions in Africa. Today the association has a membership of 386 African higher education institutions from 46 countries and has just celebrated its Golden Jubilee. University World News spoke to AAU Secretary General Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile about what the next 50 years holds for the organisation.


Higher education harmonisation – Not just a dream

Francis Kokutse

The higher education institution qualifications harmonisation project embarked upon by the African Union is part of attempts by the continental body to ensure that the integration of the people in Africa is not confined to the political level alone, the head of education at the African Union, Dr Beatrice Njenga, has said.


Tuning in to graduate employability

Sharon Dell

Among African universities, many of which are rooted in struggling national economies, the issue of graduate employability and entrepreneurship has taken centre stage over the past few years. An Africa-led European Union programme known as ‘Tuning’ is helping to improve graduate employability by facilitating the redesign of university programmes with an eye on student learning outcomes.


Student views – Keeping higher education tuned in

Ard Jongsma

Students must become full partners in higher education development to keep it tuned to current and changing demands, according to the two students who presented their cases at the 14th Association of African Universities General Conference and Golden Jubilee Celebrations held in Accra, Ghana, on 6 June.



‘US stands to lose as much as Africa if Fogarty closes’

Andrew Green

A proposal to cut funding for the John E Fogarty International Center from the upcoming United States federal government budget by President Donald Trump’s administration has prompted an outcry from academics and educators across Africa.


Monarch joins furore over new specialised college bill

Tunde Fatunde

An influential king in Western Nigeria has intervened in the ongoing controversy around the scrapping of management science courses in 25 federal universities of agriculture in a move aimed to correct what is perceived by the education minister as mission drift.


Governments must work with universities on climate change

Gilbert Nakweya

East African governments should work with universities to build knowledge on climate change with a view to building the capacity and resilience of local communities, who largely depend on rain-fed agriculture, to mitigate the consequences of climate change.



Students plan protest – This time over police ‘barbarity’

Students were last week planning a silent march, after police violently broke up a previous demonstration against university authorities’ refusal to meet students' demands for increased grants and permission to study in lecture halls outside course times, curtailment of Wi-Fi and bad living conditions, among other grievances.


Burkinabè students raise problems with visiting president

Students from Burkina Faso studying in Egypt took the opportunity to complain about their conditions to their president who was on a goodwill trip.


Older students benefit from University of the Third Age

Université du Troisième Âge – the University of the Third Age – of Mauritius was opened four years ago and today has about 500 students, all over 55 years old, studying more than 25 courses.

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


Vice-chancellors set out priorities for Brexit talks

Brendan O’Malley

Ahead of the formal start of Brexit talks on Monday, university leaders have said that the United Kingdom's world-leading university sector should help shape the negotiations and that UK universities provide the “antidote to the UK’s Brexit challenges”.


Cuts may force cap on Irish (but not foreign) students

Brendan O'Malley

The president of one of Ireland’s leading universities has warned that it is relying on recruiting non-European Union students to pay for staffing increases and may have to limit the number of places available to Irish students if the government fails to improve funding for universities.


Government to ban niqab at schools and universities

Jan Petter Myklebust

University and student leaders have voiced opposition to a government proposal, announced on 12 June, to outlaw the covering of the face in learning institutions, from kindergarten to universities, which would prevent the wearing of a niqab.


TNE and study abroad may perpetuate inequality – Study

Brendan O'Malley

Overseas study and transnational education, or TNE, may perpetuate social inequality because most of the students come from advantaged family backgrounds and attain their first job through their social network after graduation, according to a paper written by researchers at two universities in China.


Universities provide key contribution to economy – Study

Jan Petter Myklebust

Finnish universities make a “very substantial” contribution to Finland’s economy – more than 6% of economic output and 5% of employment – but this could increase or decrease in response to future changes in university funding, a new report has warned.


Open University set to go digital and shrinks budget

Brendan O’Malley

The Open University – the world’s first successful distance teaching university – is going digital and being streamlined in a bid to “radically reinvent itself” and find savings of £100 million (US$128 million) from its £420 million budget in the run-up to its 50th anniversary.


DeVos softens accountability for for-profit colleges

Adam Harris, The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Trump administration is rolling back on two of former president Barack Obama’s key protections for students against fraud and unscrupulous loan providers. For-profit colleges are hailing the change as an end to the ‘ideological assault’ on the sector – but so are black advocacy groups.


Claims of high drop-out rates are alarmist – Report

Geoff Maslen

Claims by critics in the Australian media that universities are facing a crisis of rising student drop-out rates because of poor admission standards, ill-prepared students and increasing enrolments have been rejected by a new report, which describes the claims as “unnecessarily alarmist and not borne out by the facts”.



Still a long way to go on internationalisation

Bruno Morche

While China has successfully coped with pressure to increase internationalisation and research outputs, India and Brazil face a number of issues if they are to improve their higher education systems, from widening access to boosting their international profile.


US student mobility trends in a global context

Rajika Bhandari

What are the key developments shaping student mobility in the United States and globally, what are the key concerns and how much impact are recent political developments, particularly the rise of nationalism around the world, having on higher education?


Mobilising students to add value to higher education

Simon Boehme

Student partnerships with universities, based on the recognition of the value of student contributions, provides a path forward for working together to ensure equity and enhance quality from within institutions rather than students protesting on the outside.


Trend of decentralised international student support

Yulia Grinkevich and Maria Shabanova

Worldwide the idea of decentralising support for international students has been gaining popularity in recent years as it allows for multiple solutions to challenges. But universities must balance this against the onus on them to provide quality support.


Fusion of Western rationality and Aboriginal knowledge

Andrew Vann

Charles Sturt University graduates 40% more indigenous students than any other university in Australia and strives to take on board Aboriginal values, seeking to find a way of living that honours both traditional knowledge and Western rationality and contributes to 'a world worth living in'.



On whitewater be prepared for aggressive self-rescue

Margaret Andrews

In times of trouble higher education institutions need to ready themselves for the turbulence ahead. That means everything from gathering intelligence and understanding the terrain to creating a viable plan and getting everyone working together.



Could this be Asia’s first world top 10 university?

If Asian universities are going to break into the world’s top 10, the most likely candidate is Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, at least according to the new QS World University Rankings 2018. Other rankings tell a different story.


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Brexit leaves EU students wary of UK universities

A month ago the United Kingdom government announced that all European Union students entering university this year or next will receive the UK national rate of tuition for the entirety of their studies – even after the UK leaves the bloc as expected in 2019. But, writes Dave Keating for Deutsche Welle, what about the EU students that start after 2018?


‘Xenophobia fears behind African student enrolment dip’

Fewer African students are coming to universities in South Africa due to xenophobia fears and long visa delays – and it could be affecting the future rating of the country’s universities, writes Carien du Plessis for News24.


Released student’s family adjusts to a different reality

The father of an American college student who was imprisoned in North Korea and was returned to his home state of Ohio in a coma says the family is "adjusting to a different reality", writes Dake Kang for Associated Press.


Predatory journal list author faces ongoing harassment

Months after an academic librarian deleted lists of ‘predatory’ journals and publishers from his blog, a website with derogatory comments about his academic qualifications and mental health remains online, writes Carl Straumsheim for Inside Higher Ed.


Minister defends bid to ban politics in universities

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, and a university professor he commissioned to write a code of ethics that would prevent academics from expressing political opinions, both defended the controversial document from harsh criticism, writes Stuart Winer for The Times of Israel.


Universities’ shutdown displaces 66,000 students

The Turkish government has since last summer closed down 15 universities across the country over their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, forcing 66,000 students to look for somewhere else to continue their education, reports Turkish Minute.


Universities urged to adapt in face of fewer enrolments

Thai universities need to move with the times to survive as they brace for declining enrolments, according to the president of the Council of University Presidents of Thailand, writes Dumrongkiat Mala for the Bangkok Post.


Oxford University under fire for take-home exam decision

Oxford University has been blasted for its “insulting” decision to allow students to sit exams at home in an attempt to close the gender gap, as a leading historian warns that the decision implies that women are the “weaker sex”, writes Camilla Turner for The Telegraph.


US universities in Qatar wary of diplomatic upheaval

A diplomatic crisis in the Persian Gulf has left US universities with campuses in Qatar wondering what will happen next, with a global rescue firm watching the situation closely and working on contingency plans, writes Susan Svrluga for The Washington Post.


Sex-for-marks lecturers could be ‘named and shamed’

Lecherous lecturers who demand sex in return for good marks could be named and shamed if students attending a Durban conference get their way, writes Barbara Cole for the Daily News.


Oxford University dons lose new vote over retirement age

Academics at Oxford University have failed in a new bid to challenge rules forcing them to retire at 67, reports the BBC.


Universities and big pharma embrace early-phase deals

Engineering new pharmaceuticals is risky, achingly slow and astronomically expensive. In search of better ways to defray those costs and speed the path to success, Chicago's elite research universities are partnering with the major pharmaceutical companies, ushering in a new era of early-phase collaboration, writes Brigid Sweeney for Crain’s Chicago Business.


Vote clears way for technological universities law

Lecturers at institutes of technology have voted for a deal with colleges and the Department of Education that should clear the way for new laws allowing the creation of technological universities, writes Niall Murray for the Irish Examiner.


Four universities get accreditation from France

Four universities in Vietnam have been evaluated and accredited for meeting international standards by the High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education in France, reports Viet Nam News.


National university in fresh round of restructuring

The University of Rwanda is in the process of restructuring to improve the quality of education, reduce expenses and create a friendly learning environment for students, writes Frederic Byumvuhore for The New Times.


Rolling Stone magazine settles with university fraternity

Rolling Stone’s disastrous and discredited campus rape story now has a price tag: US$1.65 million, after the magazine settled the defamation lawsuit filed by the University of Virginia fraternity at the centre of the 2014 blockbuster feature by Sabrina Erdely, which was retracted after key details in the story were called into question, writes Zach Schonfeld for Newsweek.

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