University World News Africa Edition
5 November 2017 Issue 208 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


Strong local academic communities as resources for strengthening sovereignty

   In Africa Analysis, Mark Paterson discusses a new book which suggests that African governments need to nurture their local academic communities if they want to resist the imposition of policy prescriptions by foreign powers, and against the backdrop of the failure of knowledge transfer between donors and recipient countries, while Goolam Mohamedbhai says the repositioning and growth of private higher education and the blurring of the boundaries between the public and private higher education sectors mean that more attention needs to be paid to understanding the private sector.

   In Africa Features, Munyaradzi Makoni writes about a regional masters programme in public policy that is highlighting the innovative potential of African universities, while Wagdy Sawahel discusses the controversial issue of campus dress codes.

   In news from around the continent, Christabel Ligami reports on a new qualifications framework in Kenya which aims to crack down, inter alia, on the issuing of fake certificates; Ochieng’ O Benny reports on a partnership facilitated by the World Bank between a South Korean research institute and four African universities to improve research capacity; and Kudzai Mashininga reports on the announcement of a lifting of the freeze on academic appointments by Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe during a ceremony at which he received another honorary degree.

   In World Blog, Patrick Blessinger and Enakshi Sengupta say learning how to think and live as global citizens who are able to create a more globally sustainable, fair and just world is a top education priority confronting the world.

Sharon Dell – Africa Editor

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


New qualifications framework to curb fake certificates

Christabel Ligami

A higher education qualifications framework aimed, inter alia, at curbing the proliferation of fake certificates will be in place at the start of January 2018. The framework will also provide accurate graduate data to prospective employers.


University partnership taps lessons from South Korea

Ochieng’ O Benny

Four African universities have partnered with the Korea Institute of Science and Technology to promote applied science and technology research.


Mugabe announces lifting of academic appointment freeze

Kudzai Mashininga

President Robert Mugabe last week announced the lifting of a six-year freeze on recruitments at universities during a graduation ceremony of Lupane State University in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland North Province at which an honorary doctorate in agricultural sciences was conferred on him.


AAU workshop builds HE quality assurance capacity

Francis Kokutse

Higher education institutions across Africa must improve their quality assurance efforts in order to produce graduates that are fit for work instead of turning out graduates who cannot be employed because they lack the requisite skills, Secretary-General of the Association of African Universities or AAU, Professor Etienne Ehile, said.


Tension builds as HE sector awaits government’s fee plan

Sharon Dell

Tension is mounting as the higher education sector continues to await the official release of the Heher Commission report on the feasibility of fee-free higher education – mere weeks before the end of the 2017 academic year and following last weekend’s leak of the report by national newspaper City Press.



Universities – Critical partners in building sovereignty

Mark Paterson

African governments need to nurture the local knowledge base represented by their higher education systems if they are serious about resisting the imposition of policy prescriptions by foreign powers.


The changing landscape of private higher education

Goolam Mohamedbhai

The line between public and private universities is becoming increasingly blurred – particularly with regard to funding, quality and governance – and more attention needs to be paid to the private sector in higher education as it continues to grow.



Regional policy masters shows universities’ true mettle

Munyaradzi Makoni

Long accused of being inflexible, African universities have, through a partnership-based research initiative focused on public policy, helped uncover a long-hidden truth: “Universities are not only open to innovative ideas and programmes, but can also domesticate, own, finance and nurture them.”


Student dress codes – A delicate balancing act

Wagdy Sawahel

Citing reasons ranging from safety to educational benefits, culture and values, several African universities have adopted dress codes for students or are tightening up on existing codes. However, despite their popularity among administrators, dress codes are being challenged by students who argue they are an affront to their freedom and human rights.


Climate change fellowships – ‘Transformative experience’

Kudzai Mashininga

“Revolutionary” and “transformative” is how Professor Philippa Ojimelukwe of Nigeria’s Michael Okpara University of Agriculture describes the impact of the Climate Impact Research Capacity and Leadership Enhancement programme, aimed at developing research capacity among African climate change researchers.



Ex-PM Mapon opens eponymous high-tech university

Former prime minister Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon has inaugurated a new university specialising in advanced engineering and named after him, in his home town of Kindu.


Former students try to help save two university years

Following reports on social media, alumni of Marien Ngouabi University have met student representatives to try to save the two academic years that have been affected by strikes by teaching and non-teaching staff.

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


Row over list shaming academics for sexual harassment

Shuriah Niazi

Raya Sarkar, a United States-based Indian lawyer, has accused 60 academics from top institutions all over India of sexually harassing students, naming and shaming them in her controversial Facebook post. But some feminists say the naming is unfair and due process should be followed.


Government launches plan to prevent student failure

Jane Marshall

The government has launched its Students Plan, with funding of nearly €1 billion (US$1.2 billion), to cut the high first-year failure rate, reform controversial university admission processes and increase the number of places for heavily oversubscribed courses. Critics say it will effectively introduce selection.


Universities strongly oppose Republican tax proposals

Brendan O’Malley

Higher education leaders have reacted strongly against Republican tax proposals unveiled in the House of Representatives on Thursday, warning that the plan to tax endowments of private institutions and scrap a deduction for student-loan interest would harm institutions and students.


Universities’ crippling cuts are partially reversed

Anil Netto

The operating budgets for Malaysia’s 20 public universities are being increased by 9.8% for the coming year – with much bigger rises of 20% to 37% for the five main research universities – partially reversing the suffocating cuts of the past two years.


Government abolishes first private medical campus

Dinesh De Alwis

The Sri Lankan government has decided to support a recommendation to abolish the country’s first private medical university, which is at the centre of a long-running dispute, despite a court ruling that it is eligible to issue medical degrees.


National drive to double study abroad numbers launched

Brendan O’Malley

With the United Kingdom lagging significantly behind comparable countries on study abroad numbers, Universities UK International has launched a campaign to double the number of UK students studying, working and volunteering abroad for two or more weeks as part of their studies by 2020.


UK, EU ‘must urgently agree’ deep science partnership

Brendan O’Malley

A new, deep and special partnership in science and innovation between the European Union and the United Kingdom must be agreed upon as a matter of urgency, a policy briefing published by the Centre for Global Higher Education on 1 November has recommended.


Universities to join push for more Indian students

John Gerritsen

New Zealand’s universities are making a coordinated push to attract more Indian students after watching other tertiary institutions – polytechnics and private institutions – more than double enrolments from the sub-continent in two years.


Politicians discuss federal-state HE ‘cooperation ban’

Michael Gardner

While talks to form a new coalition government in Germany have so far made little progress, the four parties involved could reach agreement on whether to finally lift the ‘ban on cooperation’ between the federal and state authorities in higher education and research and increase funding.



Conflicted by China’s influence in our universities

Jonathan Benney

Australian universities welcome the influx of Chinese students, but are struggling to decide how to respond to their continuing disconnection from Australian society and culture and the rising influence of China’s ruling party on Chinese student activists on Australian university campuses.


What China's soft power means for European universities

Ingrid Hall

China is on a mission Westward, aiming to claim the hearts of the people rather than territory, using international education as a form of soft power to continue to amass global influence, and it now has Central and Eastern Europe in its sights.


Future of the Latin American and Caribbean university

Axel Didriksson Takayanagui

Higher education has an important role to play in achieving a broad range of Sustainable Development Goals, but it must address inequalities in its own house, such as falling access for some groups, before it can contribute to wider social transformation.



Globalisation requires us to foster global citizens

Patrick Blessinger and Enakshi Sengupta

Creating a more globally sustainable world starts with learning to think about fairness and justice in all its forms and live like a global citizen. For universities, that includes taking on social responsibilities such as addressing the need to educate the world’s refugee population.



Achieving a globally engaged campus in testing times

Mary Beth Marklein

To provide meaningful interactions across the world in today’s challenging times, universities must find innovative ways to democratise mobility, engage staff and leverage technology, according to speakers in an international webinar hosted by StudyPortals, for which University World News was a media partner.



Graduates become janitors in fiercely tough job market

Aimee Chung

A record number of South Korean graduates are looking for work, despite high economic growth. Such is the competition that jobseekers are skipping food to pay for cramming for recruitment tests; and graduates are providing fierce competition for non-graduate jobs such as janitors.


University World News has a popular Facebook group. If you are not a member, do consider joining to see our regular updates, post on our wall and communicate with us and other University World News fans. You can also follow University World News on Twitter @uniworldnews



Universities in rush to study Xi Jinping Thought

A day after thousands of Communist Party delegates voted to have President Xi Jinping’s thought included in the official party dogma, one of the country’s elite universities immediately opened a research centre dedicated to his ideology and within the next few days around 40 universities followed suit, writes Simon Denyer for The Washington Post.


Public, private universities to fall under one network

The Bangladesh Research and Education Network has been working to bring all the universities and medical colleges across the country under a common network, reports the Dhaka Tribune.


Spanish state takes control of Catalonian universities

The Spanish government has taken over responsibility for higher education and research in Catalonia, following the region’s unilateral declaration of independence on 27 October. It will retain control of spending on research centres and universities, which the League of European Research Universities says threatens institutional autonomy, writes Cristina Gallardo for Nature.


Students think twice about Quebec after Niqab law passes

A new law in Quebec banning face coverings for anyone who receives or provides public services is causing some Muslim students to reconsider the idea of pursuing their education in that province, reports The Canadian Press.


Scotland's top universities urged to slash entry grades

In what would amount to an unprecedented overhaul of university enrolment, academics said elite institutions such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews should drop entry requirements to five ‘B’ grades at Higher for top courses such as medicine, law, accountancy, science and mathematics, writes Andrew Denholm for The Herald.


New law creates investor buzz for universities

A new law which took effect in September and lets universities and high schools establish themselves as for-profits for the first time is generating a wave of investor interest in China’s higher education sector, writes Jiadi Yu for the Financial Times.


Officials confirm ban on 19 universities still in place

The 19 institutions of higher learning that were banned by the Tanzania Commission for Universities from admitting students for the academic year 2017-18, which started last week, will have to wait until the next admission date to take in new students, writes Deogratius Kamagi for The Citizen.


Universities suffer AI brain drain to private sector

British universities are being stripped of artificial intelligence or AI experts in a brain drain to the private sector that is hampering research and disrupting teaching at some of the country’s leading institutions, writes Ian Sample for The Guardian.


Research body finds surgeon guilty of misconduct

The Swedish organisation in charge of reviewing research has judged that scandal-hit surgeon Paolo Macchiarini was guilty of scientific misconduct for misleadingly describing synthetic trachea operations as successful in a series of research articles, writes Lee Roden for The Local.


Staff boycott begins over ongoing salary dispute

Students in public universities are set to stay home even longer after lecturers went on strike to push for a KES5.2 billion (US$50 million) salary agreement. Universities had closed for the 26 October repeat presidential election, and last Wednesday the Universities Academic Staff Union national executive council approved the withdrawal of its 27,798 academic staff, writes Augustine Oduor for the Standard.


The high costs of controversial campus speakers

In September, Milo Yiannopoulos strolled onto the University of California's Berkeley campus, surrounded by supporters, hecklers and a lot of police. Wearing an American flag hoodie, the right-wing commentator took selfies, signed autographs and posed with signs, including one that read: "Feminism is Cancer". His 15-minute appearance cost UC Berkeley US$800,000 in what the university's spokesman Dan Mogulof called "the most expensive photo-op in the university's history", writes Madison Park for CNN.


State government plans to set up three new universities

In news that will be greeted with joy by thousands of students, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to set up three new universities – in Lakki Marwat, Dera Ismail Khan and Mardan – bringing to 28 the number of public sector universities in the province, writes Asad Zia for the The Express Tribune.


Universities told to sort out postdoc salary inequity

A group of scientists is calling for United States institutions to sort out their chaotic postdoc system, which sees workers receive unequal salaries and training opportunities simply because of their job titles. There are 37 different designations for postdoctoral workers in the US – 36 too many, says a team of biomedical researchers, writes Katrina Kramer for Chemistry World.


Eight universities may deny 143,000 student placements

Worsening infrastructural challenges, regulatory conflicts between the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board and universities, inadequate teaching aids and the unavailability of adequate manpower, among others, may join forces to deny more than 143,000 applicants placement in eight universities in the ongoing 2017-18 academic session, write Iyabo Lawal and Ujunwa Atueyi for The Guardian Nigeria.


University of Chicago donor could give more to HE

Hedge fund manager Kenneth Griffin, who is giving US$125 million to the University of Chicago, said he’s committed to donating many times more to higher education to keep the United States competitive in science and economics, write Janet Lorin and Erik Schatzker for Bloomberg.

Subscribe / Unsubscribe / Update / Sent to:
Terms and Conditions / ISSN 1756-297X / © University World News 2007-2017