University World News Africa Edition
16 July 2017 Issue 201 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


University World News is taking a mid-year publication break. Our next Africa edition will appear on Sunday 13 August. Meanwhile our website will be updated with fresh articles.


Usable open data on universities means informed dialogue and policies

   In Africa Analysis, François van Schalkwyk argues that accessible, usable and relevant open data on South African universities makes it possible for stakeholders and the public to monitor, advise and challenge – from an informed vantage – South Africa’s universities and the policies that steer their transformation.

   In Africa Features, Tunde Fatunde writes that Nigeria’s University of Maiduguri will remain open in defiance of ongoing terror attacks by Islamic terror group Boko Haram, while Ochieng’ O Benny writes about the benefits of staff academic exchanges in Africa.

   In News from around the continent, Christabel Ligami writes about the rollout of a virtual university focused on regional integration in Eastern and Southern Africa, while Gilbert Nakweya interviews experts at the recent inaugural Africa-China World Bank Education Partnership Forum on the need for African universities to establish clear guidelines and timelines to ensure greater self-reliance when entering partnerships, especially with partners in the Global North.

   In our World Blog, Hans de Wit reflects on the discourse on higher education internationalisation, highlighting common misconceptions in the past and some major misconceptions he is likely to address in future.

Sharon Dell – Africa Editor



New university to produce experts on regional integration

Christabel Ligami

In a bid to hasten the slow pace of regional integration in Eastern and Southern Africa, the first cohort of students of a virtual university focused on the study of regional integration are to be admitted in September.


Self-reliance a key to successful academic partnerships

Gilbert Nakweya

African universities should establish clear guidelines and timelines to ensure greater self-reliance when entering partnerships, especially with partners in the Global North, according to higher education and policy experts attending the inaugural Africa-China-World Bank Education Partnership Forum.


Land conflicts highlight a critical role for universities

Gilbert Nakweya

African universities have a key role to play in developing technical and human capacities to support land policy development and implementation, according to experts attending a two-day meeting to validate a study on ‘Land, Ethnicity and Conflict in Africa’, held last month in Addis Ababa.


Country suffers loss of locally-trained graduates

Laeed Zaghlami

Concerns are high over the ‘haemorrhaging’ of Algerian academics and professionals to foreign countries following significant local investment in their training and education.


Pan-African food and biomass network launched

Michael Gardner

The first pan-African expert network on food and non-food biomass has been launched by Germany’s Center for Development Research and the Ghana-based Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa.


Farmers’ needs in danger of being neglected in research

Sam Otieno

An increase over the past decade in the overall number of higher education agencies involved in agricultural research in Sub-Saharan Africa has a downside: fragmentation of national research systems and a potential shift away from the applied needs of farmers, according to the authors of a new report on agricultural research on the continent.


Government turns to past students for scholarship funds

Kudzai Mashininga

The Zimbabwe government is crafting a law that will ensure that all people who received student loans since independence in 1980 repay a flat fee of US$1,000.



Open data on universities – New fuel for transformation

François van Schalkwyk

Accessible, usable and relevant open data on South African universities makes it possible for a wide range of stakeholders to monitor, advise and challenge the transformation of South Africa’s universities from an informed perspective.



Senate rejects closure of campus over terror attacks

Tunde Fatunde

The University of Maiduguri in north east Nigeria is to remain open despite ongoing terror attacks by Islamic terror group Boko Haram after Nigeria’s Senate resolved to push for tighter campus security and to keep the university open as a symbol of triumph over the extremist group and its ideas.


Building capacity and quality through academic exchanges

Ochieng’ O Benny

Enhancing regional collaboration among universities through staff exchanges has the potential not only to improve academic mobility on the African continent but to enhance higher education quality and ensure rationalisation of existing capacity in Africa, according to Dr Moses Osiru, deputy executive secretary of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture Secretariat.


Student loans under the spotlight in upcoming elections

Christabel Ligami

Increased loan allocations to university and technical college students in Kenya are among key promises made by political parties in their manifestos, launched ahead of the elections scheduled for 8 August.



Leaks lead to baccalauréat chaos and cancellations

Chaos due to widespread leaks has hit this year’s session of the baccalauréat, the end-of-school examination that gives those who pass it the right to higher education and is often regarded as the first university diploma.

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


Government cuts 40% of state-funded university places

Eugene Vorotnikov

The Russian government is pushing on with plans to cut 40% of state-funded places in domestic universities in 2018 and to cut teaching jobs at state universities.


Google accused of paying millions for research backing

Brendan O'Malley

Google, the global internet company, has paid academics at United States and United Kingdom universities millions of dollars to produce hundreds of papers supporting its policy interests, according to a report by the Campaign for Accountability, a non-profit watchdog, which has published a database of alleged beneficiaries.


Cash rewards soar for research published overseas

Yojana Sharma

Cash rewards to China’s scientists for research published in overseas journals have risen dramatically – reaching more than US$160,000 for papers appearing in the most prestigious Western journals, according to a just-published analysis, and dwarfing the average professor’s salary of US$8,600.


International students may have to renew visas yearly

Mary Beth Marklein

A change to foreign student visa policies reportedly being discussed at the United States Department of Homeland Security would require international students to reapply annually for permission to stay in the United States.


Sharp fall in university applications from UK and EU

Brendan O’Malley

Applications to United Kingdom higher education undergraduate courses for 2017 are down 4% on last year. This includes a 4% drop in applications from the UK and a 5% drop in applications from the European Union. But applications from other countries have risen by 2%.


Universities do not have genuine autonomy, report says

Anil Netto

Despite 17 of 20 public universities in Malaysia being awarded ‘autonomous’ status, academics have questioned whether there has been a real commitment by the government to devolve more powers to universities.


Strong punishment for misuse of the title ‘Professor’

Jan Petter Myklebust

The Ministry of Education and Research is proposing new legislation to punish unauthorised use of the title of professor. Those falsely using the title in full or in part will be punished by fines of up to NOK188,000 (US$22,700).



When the Syrian war ends, what is the plan for HE?

Raniero Chelli and Marco Di Donato

Universities and education organisations need to start preparing now for when the Syrian war ends. After six years of war, displaced young people fear becoming the under-educated generation and Syria will need an educated workforce to rebuild the country.


Is South Korea in a higher education access trap?

Patrik T Hultberg and David Santandreu Calonge

An educated workforce is important for economic growth and development and South Korea is leading the way on higher education access. But has spending on private after-school tutoring to ensure a university place is secured gone too far?


‘Muslim ban’ has wider impact on study in the US

Ruwayshid Alruwaili

The travel ban on citizens from six mainly Muslim countries is likely to deter students from across the Middle East because of a perception that the United States is now hostile to them. Universities will have to go out of their way to counter that perception.


England embraces the delusion of free tuition

Ariane de Gayardon

The United Kingdom’s main opposition party proposed to scrap university tuition fees in England in its general election manifesto, and saw its political fortunes soar in the popular vote. But how realistic is the international movement for free tuition?



Misconceptions of internationalisation still prevail

Hans de Wit

The last few years of debate on internationalisation of higher education have seen a lot of attempts to define it in terms purely of mobility for the few and to suggest that it ignores the local. Such ideas must be countered.



Purge of academics has reached a 'staggering' scale – SAR

Brendan O'Malley

In the year since the attempted coup in Turkey, a “staggering” number of academics have faced criminal investigations, detentions, prosecutions, mass dismissal, expulsion and restrictions on travel, according to the head of Scholars at Risk or SAR, the New York-based scholar rescue network.



Research could suffer as internet controls tightened

Yojana Sharma

Chinese internet restrictions, known as the ‘great firewall of China’, have often been an issue for Chinese academics who find their access to overseas research restricted. They have become more concerned as new internet controls – particularly on virtual private networks, which circumvent national censorship of the internet – look set to be introduced by February 2018.


Cultural factors at work in social inequality in HE

Mary Beth Marklein

Higher education scholars gathered in St Petersburg, Russia, recently to explore how they could improve the prospects of marginalised populations, be they Native Americans in the United States, indigenous students in Latin America or Austrians who are the first in their families to go to college.



Seeking global cooperation to fight corruption in HE

Brendan O’Malley

It is one year since global experts issued a wake-up call to higher education to fight academic corruption more aggressively and urged the sector’s quality assurance systems to take a leading role in the battle. So what progress has been made?


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Most Republicans say colleges are bad for America

America's colleges are harming the country, the majority of Republicans now say. It's a strong downward slide in public opinion that, some experts fear, could exacerbate growing divides among Americans and lead to higher levels of student debt, write Polly Mosendz and Shahien Nasiripour for Bloomberg.


Research universities obtain billions from investments

Investments amounting to MYR5.58 billion (US$1.3 billion) by the government in five research universities in the country from 2007 until 2015 generated returns of MYR7.17 billion, reports Bernama.


Private equity group builds pan-African HE platform

UK-based private equity firm Actis, which specialises in emerging markets, has created a US$275 million higher education platform spanning nine countries in Africa as it looks to cater to rapidly growing educational needs, writes Javier Espinoza for the Financial Times.


Details emerge on abduction, torture of protest student

Details have emerged on the abduction and torture of a student activist, Fanuel Kaseke, who took part in last month’s fees protest at the University of Zimbabwe, reports News24.


Government revamps Obama-era student protections

Step by step, the Trump administration is walking back policies and rules in higher education that its predecessor said were needed to protect students who rely on federal funding to pursue a degree, writes Danielle Douglas-Gabriel for The Washington Post.


Universities face criticism over use of public funds

Serious concerns about the way many third-level colleges spend taxpayers’ money were set out in a report about to be published by the Dáil Committee of Public Accounts, writes Carl O’Brien for The Irish Times.


China sets up first large-scale university in Malaysia

Beijing’s push for overseas influence extends to the education sector, with the opening of Xiamen University Malaysia outside Kuala Lumpur, write Vincent Bevins and Tom Phillips for the Guardian.


UK university plans post-Brexit campus in Germany

If plans proceed as reported, King's College London will become the first institution for higher education in the United Kingdom to establish a physical campus on the European continent in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, reports Deutsche Welle.


Kagame calls for more higher education investment

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame said recently that Africa still grapples with low numbers of graduates in tertiary education and research and called for heavy investment in the sector, writes Peter Mugabo for News of Rwanda.


Multimillion fund to boost science recruitment

The government is to invest £100 million (US$130 million) into recruiting skilled scientists from around the world. The Ernest Rutherford Fund will be used to provide fellowships for early career and senior researchers. They will come from not only developed economies but also India, Brazil and Mexico – emerging research powerhouses, reports Laboratory News.


Civil War-era law used to punish scientific fraudsters

Duke University is at the heart of a potentially blockbuster lawsuit involving three of its scientists. The suit is the latest attempt to use a 19th-century law for relatively new purposes: putting universities on the hook for grant money that went to researchers found guilty of fraud, write Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky for Stat News.


University returned to federal government after 10 years

The African Union Mission in Somalia last week handed back to the federal government a university which it has used as a military base over the last decade, writes Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban for Africa News.


Tuition fees architect calls for their scrapping

Tuition fees have become so "politically diseased" they should be scrapped, says one of the politicians who designed them, writes Caroline Mortimer for the Independent.


Opposition leader calls for autonomous universities

Greece needs modern, autonomous universities that will serve an open society, New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in an article published in Kathimerini newspaper’s Sunday edition, in which he urged people to block a government bill on universities that will "turn back the clock many years", reports


President unveils online education portal

President Pranab Mukherjee recently launched the SWAYAM – Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds – and SWAYAM Prabha platforms which offer digital classrooms at school, college and university levels with the help of internet and satellite connectivity to the remotest corners in the country, reports The Indian Express.


Politicians among those who have certificates revoked

A number of universities have revoked degree and diploma certificates awarded to students through fraudulent means, among them politicians, as they comply with tough requirements from the higher education regulator, writes Ouma Wanzala for the Nation.


Stressed students demand more time for exams, essays

New figures show that the number of university students demanding extra time in exams due to mental health problems has surged in recent years, writes Luke Mintz for The Telegraph.

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