University World News Africa Edition
17 December 2017 Issue 211 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


University World News is taking an end-of-year publication break. Our next edition will appear on Sunday 14 January.


Business schools must teach political skills to help graduates fight corruption

   In Africa Features, Sharon Dell interviews Dr Tahiru Azaaviele Liedong, assistant professor of strategy in the School of Management at the University of Bath in the UK, about his recent research which proposes that business schools in Africa should be nurturing institutional entrepreneurs rather than ethical business leaders in order to fight systemic corruption.

   Also in Africa Features, Gilbert Nakweya asks why so many law graduates are failing the Kenyan national bar examination upon their first sitting, and Esther Nakkazi writes about the introduction of an e-learning platform to a community-based education research programme for students in health-related disciplines in Uganda.

   In Africa Analysis, Simon Ngalomba discusses the benefits for agenda-setting of greater equality and reciprocity in China-Africa higher education collaborations.

   Among our News items from around the continent, Kudzai Mashininga reports on the growing popularity among Zimbabwean students of the ruling ZANU-PF party; Ashraf Khaled reports on the recent student elections held in universities in Egypt; and Francis Kokutse writes about some of the highlights of the African University Day celebrations initiated by the Association of African Universities in Ghana.

   Given the scale of the global refugee problem, Patrick Blessinger and Enakshi Sengupta in our World Blog encourage colleges and universities to continue the good work of helping more refugees access higher education.

Sharon Dell – Africa Editor



Student support seems to be shifting towards ruling party

Kudzai Mashininga

Long before the surprise toppling of former president Robert Mugabe and the installation of the country’s new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, support among students for the ruling ZANU-PF party had been growing, with unions making inroads in elections at key universities previously regarded as opposition strongholds.


Industry links in spotlight at African University Week

Francis Kokutse

African University Day and its attendant commemorations provide an opportunity for the Association of African Universities, which hosts the celebrations, not only to reflect on its activities but to advocate for more support for higher education institutions across the continent and stronger partnerships between academia and industry.


Universities body announces tuition fee increase

The issue of fee-free education is yet to be settled, but the vast majority of the 26 universities have determined that the inflationary-linked increase for 2018 will be set at 8%, according to a statement released last week by Universities South Africa.


Low turnout at ‘restrictive’ student elections

Ashraf Khaled

Voter turnout appeared to be low at the student union elections which took place in Egypt last weekend – the country’s first such polls in two years – and many candidates won their seats unopposed, according to local news reports including Al-Masry Al-Youm.


Blended learning network to overcome faculty shortages

Maina Waruru

A network of East African universities that will be able to share scarce teaching capacity through the use of 'blended' learning and effective approaches to teaching is in the offing to address staff shortages in the region’s institutions.


Linking HE to skills for sustainable development

Ochieng’ O Benny

Higher education must be more closely linked to the need for skills in the market if higher education is to play the crucial role in sustainable development it has played in other parts of the world.



The merits of equality in Africa-China HE collaborations

Simon Ngalomba

China-Africa higher education collaboration can be used to supplement the efforts of individual universities, but it cannot be a substitute for national human resources development or local capacity building initiatives.


Academic credential fraud – In search of lasting solutions

Wondwosen Tamrat

If lasting solutions are to be found against the scourge of fraudulent academic credentials, the Ethiopian government's control mechanisms should be on a par with the sophisticated ways in which such credentials are obtained. This may include the task of verifying credentials that have been obtained through illegal admissions to educational institutions, but the best place to check this still remains the public sector where transgressions can be easily traced.



Business schools as change agents in an era of corruption

Sharon Dell

If African business schools are to serve as change agents and play an effective role in combating systemic corruption in Africa, they need to equip future business leaders with pragmatic political skills rather than rely solely on developing an individual’s ethical outlook, according to new research from the University of Bath in the United Kingdom.


Why do so many students fail the bar exam?

Gilbert Nakweya

Amid ongoing controversy over the advocate training system for university law graduates in Kenya, and a 9% pass rate in the country’s latest bar examinations, a judge has called for a review of the system.


E-learning boost for medical outreach training programme

Esther Nakkazi

The Community Based Education Research and Service, a mandatory component of the health professions curricula implemented by medical schools in Uganda since 2003, has proved effective as an innovative student-centred problem-based learning programme. Now, another innovation in the form of Open Deliver, an online e-learning platform, is to be integrated into the programme to improve its efficacy even further.


Students as victims of a national language malaise

Laeed Zaghlami

Is the inability of Algeria to decide on a dominant language of instruction – Arabic or French – impeding the potential of its graduates and stunting economic and social development?


The limitations of the decolonisation ‘moment’

Munyaradzi Makoni

For all its political bluster and uncritical support, decolonisation as a movement will have little to no effect on institutional curriculum because it offers the wrong response to a real problem, according to Jonathan Jansen, professor of education at South Africa's Stellenbosch University.


Controversy continues to trail university admissions exam

Tunde Fatunde

Does the post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination or post-UTME enhance quality and boost the credibility of the university admissions process, or is it standing in the way of increased access and providing a way for universities to make more money off prospective students? Since its introduction in 2005, the post-UTME continues to be a source of controversy, recently fuelled by a government vacillation over its existence.



Minister calls for exam reform to serve development aims

Minister for Higher Education and Research Mary Teuw Niane has called for reform of the baccalauréat to take account of the link between the school-leaving exam, university studies and the job market.


New partnership to boost graduate employability

An agreement aiming to improve employment prospects for graduates has been signed between the faculty of economic sciences and management of Tunis University and CONECT, an organisation representing companies.

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


Higher education funding divide grows across Europe

Brendan O’Malley

Since the 2008 financial crisis, the divide between higher education systems that increase public funding and those that reduce investment is getting wider in Europe, with recovery slow and fragile in many countries and with some still going backwards, a new report says.


Over 100 HE institutions bid for ‘world-class’ upgrade

Shuriah Niazi

A total of 100 of India’s top universities and colleges are vying to be named ‘institutions of eminence’ as part of the country’s higher education reforms to upgrade around 20 institutions into ‘world-class’ universities within the next 10 years.


Government unveils plans for two-year bachelor degrees

Brendan O’Malley

The United Kingdom government has announced plans for two-year accelerated bachelor degrees that it claims could save students up to £25,000 (US$33,000) compared with taking the degree over three years in the normal way. It hopes they will attract mature students but also many school leavers.


Sectorally mobile researchers are ‘change agents’

Jan Petter Myklebust

Danish universities need to do more to promote sectoral mobility of researchers, which fosters increased innovation, knowledge turnover, technological development and relevance for research and education, according to the findings of a major investigation by the Danish Council for Research and Innovation Policy.


Universities are sitting on a large pot of unspent funds

Jan Petter Myklebust

The minister of higher education and research was shocked to learn that Swedish universities and colleges have accumulated SEK12 billion (US$1.4 billion) in unspent funds allocated by government and thinks it should be spent on raising quality.


Government report calls for review of student support

Michael Gardner

The latest government report on Germany’s ‘BAFöG’ student support system – which provides financial support to one in five students – reiterates its vital role in higher education and recommends a future government to review support levels, especially in the light of soaring rental costs for students.



Intelligent as well as artificial assistance needed

Philip Warwick

In the rush to keep up with digital technology, we must not forget that intelligent assistance should be prioritised above the use of artificial intelligence. Our students need to know that being connected is not enough – it is what you do with the connection that is important.


A global recognition convention for academic mobility

Stig Arne Skjerven and Einar Meier

The draft global convention on academic mobility will improve the rights of internationally mobile students, promote robust ethical quality assurance systems, contribute to building trust across borders and pave the way for increased global cooperation in higher education.


Brexit breakthrough, but what next for universities?

Anne Corbett and Claire Gordon

The stage one Brexit agreement achieved earlier this month has been heralded as a breakthrough that will have brought relief for university chiefs despite ongoing uncertainty, but there are signs too that the European Union is already forging ahead without the United Kingdom.


Are branch campuses improving students’ employability?

Christine Lee

International branch campuses are facing questions about their sustainability. It’s a good point to ask their students about their perceptions of how they prepare them for the jobs market and to what extent they can tap the experience of teachers from the parent university.


The languages strategy is an important first step

Hanne Leth Andersen

The Danish government’s national languages strategy is much needed to address the plummeting take-up of languages. For universities a key task is to integrate language skills in foreign languages other than English into other courses and to develop local languages strategies with municipalities.


University World News was a media partner of the New Nationalism and Universities international conference held at the University of California, Berkeley, in the United States to celebrate the 60th anniversary of its Center for Studies in Higher Education. Alumni and leading scholars from around the world discussed rising nationalism and populism in its many forms, and the impact on the missions and activities of universities. This is the second of two special reports on the conference.


Right’s greatest threat to universities is yet to come

United States universities are embattled on several fronts in the age of Trump and the rise of the alt-right, but the biggest threat yet may come from the conservative agenda on tax cuts and the likely impact of massive ensuing cuts, speakers predicted at the University of California, Berkeley’s conference on New Nationalism and Universities.


Intellectual freedom the target of illiberal regimes

While the Turkish government is conducting a mass purge of academics, Hungary’s government is quietly changing the rules of law in relation to higher education for the same purpose, to silence opposition and consolidate power, the New Nationalism and Universities conference at the University of California, Berkeley was told.


Will this be a Chinese century in higher education?

While the United States and United Kingdom have made decisions that raise uncertainty over international cooperation and free movement of students, China is pushing to become a global leader in higher education – but will it push ‘Chinese characteristics’?



Scholar’s death sentence upheld as appeal ‘not filed’

Brendan O'Malley

‘Wrongfully convicted’ scholar Dr Ahmadreza Djalali, an emergency medicine specialist, has been told his death sentence will go ahead after the authorities kept his court review date and location secret from his lawyers to deny him the chance to appeal, human rights organisations say.



Higher education’s social responsibility to refugees

Patrick Blessinger and Enakshi Sengupta

Given the scale of the global refugee problem – and in particular the fact that only 1% of adult refugees attend university – colleges and universities should demonstrate their commitment as good global citizens by helping more of them access higher education.



The story of how Singapore became a research nation

Yojana Sharma

Bertil Andersson, outgoing president of Nanyang Technological University, looks back at 10 years of higher education in Singapore, dramatic changes in the research and higher education landscape and the rise of Singapore’s research universities in global rankings – which turned the country into a ‘smart nation’.


Iran, Saudi Arabia vie for influence over Afghan HE

Wagdy Sawahel

Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran are building Islamic universities and higher education institutions in restive areas of Afghanistan, using them as a proxy battleground and soft power tools for expanding their ideological, cultural and political spheres of influence, according to regional experts.


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New HE bill rolls back Obama-era safeguards

Congressional Republicans began work last Tuesday on an extensive rewrite of the law that governs the nation’s system of higher education, seeking to dismantle landmark Obama administration regulations designed to protect students from predatory for-profit colleges and to repay the loans of those who earned worthless degrees from scam universities, writes Erica L Green for The New York Times.


Anti-Trump climate change grants poach US researchers

Eighteen climate scientists from the United States and elsewhere hit the jackpot last week as French President Emmanuel Macron awarded them millions of euros in grants to relocate to France for the rest of Donald Trump’s presidential term, writes Sylvie Corbet for Associated Press.


Detained US professor to appear before new prosecutor

Professor Patrice Nganang, of Stony Brook University, New York, who has been detained in Cameroon for a week, has been transferred to another facility and was scheduled to appear before a new prosecutor, his supporters said in a news release, writes Zachary R Dowdy for Newsday.


Bishops condemn police, state attacks on universities

Bishops from the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil – the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil – have spoken out against state and police attacks on universities, reports Anglican News. Their primate is the lead signatory on a statement calling for an end to “intimidation” by “the illegal government”.


27 students barred from HE, but could be many more

Tehran’s representative in the Iranian Parliament, Mahmoud Sadeqi, says 27 graduate students have been banned from continuing their education in the current Iranian academic year, but analysts suggest the number could be a lot higher, reports Radio Farda.


Calls to link vice-chancellor pay to university size

Appearing before the education select committee, Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the Office for Students, hinted that the new watchdog would crack down on heads who receive large pay packets while presiding over small universities, writes Camilla Turner for The Telegraph.


Warning to universities 'selling' degrees to politicians

Kenyan Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i wants universities selling degrees to politicians de-registered. He said the government is planning a major shake-up in higher education, including a crackdown on private universities, from next year, writes Lewis Nyaundi for The Star.


Fewer foreign students in public universities – Report

A large number of foreign students who decide to pursue higher education in Bangladesh are choosing private universities over public ones, writes Rashid Al Ruhani for the Dhaka Tribune.


New national HE strategy to boost standards and quality

The Ministry of Education announced last week the launch of the National Higher Education Strategy aimed at bolstering the United Arab Emirates’ higher education standards and quality, reports Gulf News.


Universities help build capacity in cybersecurity

CyberSecurity Malaysia, the national cybersecurity specialist agency under the ministry of science, technology and innovation, is working closely with universities in the country to develop talent that covers a comprehensive set of expertise in the cybersecurity field, reports New Straits Times.


Universities struggle to cater for Māori demand

Auckland universities are facing a te reo Māori teacher shortage as free language classes soar in popularity. While there are a lot of proficient Māori speakers, finding the right people to teach it was proving to be a struggle, writes Adam Jacobson for Stuff.


Universities, companies lobby for tax-free tuition help

Universities and companies are joining forces to lobby Congress to keep a tax provision that allows employers to give staff as much as US$5,250 in yearly tax-free tuition help, writes Melissa Korn for The Wall Street Journal.


Academic staff union calls off strike

After 38 days of crippled activities in public universities and hard-line negotiations, the Universities Academic Staff Union has reached a ‘compromise’ and called off their strike, writes Hillary Orinde for the Standard Digital.

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