University World News Africa Edition
22 October 2017 Issue 207 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


New framework offers support for online journals in the Global South

   As part of our African Scholarly Publishing series, Susan Murray and Sioux Cumming write about a new assessment framework which will reassure researchers and support journals in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

   In Africa Features, Stephen Coan unpacks the implications of the recent cuts by the National Research Foundation in South Africa to its funding for rated scientists, while Sam Otieno outlines some of the potential uses of social media platforms in the higher education context.

   In News from around the continent, Christabel Ligami reports on moves by the Kenyan authorities to tighten up, in the wake of terror and criminal activities, on regulations governing the access of foreign students to Kenyan universities, and Munyaradzi Makoni reports on reaction to the axing of South African Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande.

   In Africa Analysis, Damtew Teferra outlines how the African Higher Education Summit and subsequent national summits are helping to sustain momentum and progress in the sector.

Sharon Dell – Africa Editor



Authorities tighten rules for foreign student admissions

Christabel Ligami

Concerned by criminal and terror networks, Kenyan authorities are tightening up regulations relating to the entry of foreign students – all of whom will from January 2018 require police clearance before being considered for admission into a Kenyan higher education institution.


HE sector faces more uncertainty after axing of minister

Munyaradzi Makoni

The higher education sector faced further upheaval last week as Dr Blade Nzimande was dropped as minister of higher education and training in a mini cabinet reshuffle announced by President Jacob Zuma, a move which has elicited criticism and praise in equal measure.


Centres of excellence to bridge university-industry gap

Rodrigue Rwirahira

Universities from Southern and Eastern Africa are looking to partnerships between 'African Centres of Excellence' and the private sector to help promote relevant and quality education.


Critics take aim at new scholarships ministry

Kudzai Mashininga

Academics, student unions and opposition parties have condemned the creation by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe of a new ministry – of National Scholarships – against the backdrop of the country’s ongoing economic woes.


UN project aimed at TVET sector enters second phase

Gilbert Nakweya

Five African countries are set to benefit from the second phase of a United Nations project which seeks to strengthen national technical and vocational education and training, or TVET, systems and boost youth employment.


World Bank fellowship programme doubles its intake

Maina Waruru

The Africa Fellowship Program run by the World Bank is this year doubling its intake from 10 to 20 fellows, after the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development joined the initiative.


Applied sciences university agreement nears finalisation

Maina Waruru

The much-awaited bilateral agreement between Kenya and Germany, paving the way for the establishment of the planned Eastern African-German University of Applied Sciences, could be signed in the next month, signalling the possibility of setting up the institution before the end of 2018.



Taking HE forward – The importance of dialogue

Damtew Teferra

The African Higher Education Summit, which encouraged the revitalisation of the higher education sector started in 2000 through the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa, and the subsequent national summits are a means to an end – and not an end in themselves – to sustain the momentum and further consolidate the gains made so far in the African higher education sector.



New framework aims to assess and improve online journals

Susan Murray and Sioux Cumming

A new, robust assessment framework which enables a detailed assessment of journals’ transparency, peer review and quality control processes, and a wide range of other benchmarks will reassure researchers and support journals in Africa, Asia and Latin America.



Research funding cuts – A shift in priorities?

Stephen Coan

The recent announcement by the National Research Foundation of cuts to its funding for rated researchers has raised concerns about the value being placed on research and support for top researchers in South Africa.


Social media and higher education – Rich possibilities

Sam Otieno

Social media could be a useful tool for transforming governance, teaching, research and community outreach in African universities, according to Nickson Otieno. However, for this potential to be fully realised, African academia and policy-makers need to break the stereotypes that social networks are primarily for students interested in expanding their social lives and embrace them as critical tenets of the higher education transformative agenda.


Jobs for graduates – A shared responsibility

Laeed Zaghlami

The employment of university graduates and postgraduates has become a headache for successive governments in Algeria as the present job market has little to offer qualified or highly qualified candidates. Paradoxically, small and medium-sized enterprises are struggling to find appropriately skilled employees.



Grant introduced to promote science and technology

The government is to launch a national solidarity grant, with priority for students from poorer families, as part of its programme to promote scientific and technological studies.


Academics call for promotion of indigenous languages

Universities should promote the recognition of indigenous languages to support the cultural identities of people in the regions, according to Professor Pedro Miguel.

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


Senate rejects government’s university spending cuts

Geoff Maslen

The Australian Senate on Thursday rejected federal government plans to slash AU$2.8 billion (US$2.2 billion) from its grants to universities in a decision that knocks a gaping hole in its annual budget. Minor parties in the Senate joined with the Labor opposition to refuse to pass any of the clauses in the government bill and called for an entire review of the higher education sector.


Technology universities dominate regional ranking

Yojana Sharma

Asia’s universities of technology are dominating regional Asian rankings, propelled by determined efforts by a number of governments in the region to put universities at the forefront of innovation-driven future economic growth.


Three new leaders in four regional university rankings

There were three new leaders in the QS annual regional university rankings released last week, covering 1,000 universities in Asia, Latin America, the Arab region, and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Two of the rankings have new entrants in the top three.


Threat to cull elite Project 5-100 universities blocked

Brendan O’Malley and Eugene Vorotnikov

Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets has ruled out any imminent adoption of a proposal by the Minister of Education and Science to remove funding from 15 out of 21 institutions in the Project 5-100 elite universities programme to concentrate on six institutions.


Study identifies key challenges for foreign students

Brendan O’Malley

Nearly half of international students who return to their home country after graduation cite visa-related and work-related issues as the primary reason for returning, according to a new report on the career prospects and outcomes of international students.


Students hit by tax hike on higher education services

Shuriah Niazi

India’s new Goods and Services Tax being rolled out throughout the country in a far-reaching tax reform will mean applying to foreign universities will become more expensive, but the main effect will be on students at local universities who will have to pay more for accommodation and other essential campus services.


Universities face fines for not protecting free speech

Brendan O’Malley

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson has called on the new higher education regulator, the Office for Students, to champion free speech – and has warned universities they face fines, suspension or deregistration if they do not protect free speech.


Universities generate £100 billion, one million jobs

UK universities generate a knock-on impact of nearly £100 billion (US$131 billion) for the UK economy and support close to a million jobs throughout the United Kingdom – yet receive less than a third of their funding from public sources, according to new figures from Universities UK.


Closure raises doubts over university clinic treatment

Jan Petter Myklebust

The University of Oslo has closed down the outpatient clinic in psychology at its institute of psychology, where patients were treated by psychology students under supervision of their professors, a system that has been functioning well for more than 40 years.



A shift to the global common good in higher education

Lin Tian, Yan Wu and Niancai Liu

World-class universities need to be repositioned as a global common good, which confront the challenges facing the world for the benefit of all people – rather than being defined by whether higher education is delivered through a private or state university.


The menace of academic inbreeding is ubiquitous

Pushkar and Madhvi Gupta, The Wire

Academic inbreeding, which is common in India, accentuates existing biases in university hiring policies and means that it is not always the best staff who get posts. Universities seeking to become ‘Institutions of Eminence’ or India’s best should avoid hiring their own.


How many excellent universities does Russia need?

Andrei Volkov

A row over the number of institutions in Russia’s Project 5-100 programme for elite universities has opened up deep questions about how many world-class universities Russia should have, how that can be achieved, and what broader progress can be made for higher education on the way.


Chronic uncertainty prevails for UK and EU researchers

Athene Donald

Those who believe that post-Brexit problems for researchers will be resolved if only the United Kingdom government can find some funding to plug the gap in science research budgets – if excluded from the European programme – ignore the prestige that accompanies European research projects.


What international students say they need: quality

Adriana Perez-Encinas

The international student experience is gaining in importance for higher education educators. Universities need to find out what kind of support their international students want. Too often they are unaware of what their main concerns and perceptions are.



The challenges of international HE in a small country

Hans de Wit

There is no straight model for international education for small, developing island countries such as Curaçao. A long-term international higher education strategy, building on their innate strengths and needs and investments in quality is the way forward.


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Government funds aim to boost quality of 20 universities

Lamenting that no Indian university figures among the top 500 globally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said recently the government intends to unshackle these institutions and provide Rs10,000 crore (US$1.5 billion) to 20 universities to ensure that they are counted among the best in the world, reports PTI.


Limits on research chair terms aim to promote diversity

Many universities across Canada are introducing term limits for their Canada Research Chairs to get new academics into the jobs as the prestigious programme struggles to meet diversity targets set by a court settlement, writes Chris Hannay for The Globe and Mail.


Efforts to save leading university hit hurdle

The threatened Central European University in Budapest has been dealt a blow in its efforts to avert possible closure in Hungary. The country’s parliament voted on 17 October to postpone for a year a decision that would allow the university to keep operating there, writes Alison Abbott for Nature.


International students to face English language tests

International students will be tested on their grasp of the English language under a scheme to be introduced in 2018. Education Minister Simon Birmingham recently told an education conference in Hobart the government will introduce new English language standards for students from next year, reports Sky News.


Federal judge blocks third Trump travel ban

A federal judge in Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order last week blocking the implementation of a new iteration of the Trump administration’s travel ban. The ban intended to block all would-be travellers from North Korea and Syria, in addition to prohibiting all immigrant travel and imposing various restrictions on certain types of non-immigrant travel for nationals of Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Venezuela and Yemen, writes Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed.


Grant system may not offer a solution to poor students

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development lists three countries that have both ‘high tuitions’ and ‘loan-only scholarship systems’ for university study: Chile, South Korea and Japan. Starting in fiscal 2018, however, the Japanese government will do something about it, by launching a grant-type scholarship system for deserving higher education hopefuls, write Phil Brasor and Masako Tsubuku for The Japan Times.


African Leadership University opens second campus

On 29 September the African Leadership University opened the doors to its second campus on the continent of Africa, part of a long-term goal of educating three million young Africans on 25 campuses by 2060, writes Gaidi Faraj for Atlanta Black Star.


Company targets US universities in hunt for AI talent

Wind Information, China’s Bloomberg-like financial data services provider, plans to kick off a recruitment drive in the United States, as more tech firms step up the search for artificial intelligence or AI talent, writes Sarah Dai for South China Morning Post.


Chat groups in local universities help reduce food waste

Organised systems have sprouted up in universities in Singapore, namely Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore and Singapore Management University, to help mobilise armies of hungry students to clear up leftovers at buffets on campus, writes Fabian Koh for The Straits Times.


State to support technical universities, polytechnics

The government has pledged to give strong support to technical universities and polytechnics – to raise the quality of their training, to drive the nation’s industrialisation, reports Ghana News Agency.


Report card shows drop in university education quality

More Israelis are getting college degrees – nearly half of men and some 60% of women – but the quality of their education is decreasing, which will have significant implications in the future. That is the conclusion reached by a new study, Report Card on Israel’s Higher Education System, conducted by the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research, writes Linda Gradstein for The Media Line.


Academic calls for government support for universities

A university professor has said the government should provide long-term support for Taiwanese universities in order to boost the competitiveness of the country's higher education institutions, write Phoenix Hsu and Kuan-lin Liu for Focus Taiwan.


Lecturers struggle to make ends meet, and do research

The country’s Ministry of Education and Training requires university lecturers to spend at least one third of their working time on research but they are struggling to fit in both teaching and research, reports Viet Nam News.


BBC-universities partnership to unlock potential of data

BBC Research and Development has announced a five-year research partnership with eight United Kingdom universities to unlock the potential of data in the media, reports the BBC.


Protesters drown out white nationalist’s university speech

White nationalist Richard Spencer's speech at the University of Florida last Thursday was disrupted by dozens of protesters with raised fists who booed and chanted, "Go home, Spencer" and “We don’t want your Nazi hate”. The event was the latest example of a public university grappling with debates over free speech when it comes to visits from controversial far-right speakers and ensuing protests, writes Katie Reilly for Time.

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