University World News Africa Edition
14 January 2018 Issue 212 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


Castells in Africa – Inspiring fundamental change in higher education

   In a Special Report, global higher education expert Jamil Salmi reviews a new book, Castells in Africa: Universities and Development, which showcases the contribution of Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells to higher education research and thinking in Africa. In an afterword to the book Manuel Castells reflects on the complex economic, political and social terrain occupied by universities in Africa and beyond, and some concluding remarks on the significance of Castells’ work in Africa are offered by the book’s editors Johan Muller, Nico Cloete and François van Schalkwyk.

   Salmi himself has authored a new book, The Tertiary Education Imperative: Knowledge, Skills and Values for Development, which is reviewed here by Mark Paterson and Nico Cloete who describe it as an “immensely readable and practical volume that is informed by a deep understanding of both the theoretical and real-world challenges faced by policy agents seeking to transform their higher education systems”.

   In Africa Analysis, Damtew Teferra considers the progress being made towards a harmonised credit transfer system in Africa.

   In Africa Features, Tunde Fatunde canvasses the comments of West African academics and intellectuals on the recent detention of a Cameroonian academic, while Wagdy Sawahel reports that many students at universities throughout the African continent are going without food on a daily basis, which is affecting their academic performance.

   In our Academic Corruption column, Brendan O'Malley examines the drive to address academic corruption in Nigeria and other developing countries.

   As usual, we offer a selection of news stories from around the continent, including a report from Zimbabwe by Tonderayi Mukeredzi on a recent meeting between the new president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and university vice-chancellors during which universities were implored to help find solutions to the country’s considerable economic challenges.

   You are invited to register for an upcoming international webinar looking at how higher education megatrends will shape the future of global higher education and international student mobility. University World News is the media partner for the webinar which is hosted by StudyPortals and will take place on Wednesday 24 January.

Sharon Dell – Africa Editor



Provide solutions to challenges, universities told

Tonderayi Mukeredzi

President Emmerson Mnangagwa says universities must offer productive and responsive higher education, relevant to the needs of the economy, by harnessing knowledge and skills that promote economic development through science, technology and research.


Radical new universities funding model to start in July

Gilbert Nganga

Kenya’s public universities have been notified that from July this year they will be funded by government on the basis of student numbers and the nature of courses offered, ushering in a new era for the cash-strapped institutions.


Minister proposes mandatory donations from alumni

Kudzai Mashininga

Zambia's Minister of Higher Education Professor Nkandu Luo has said the government is working on a policy to make it mandatory for all graduates to give back to their former institutions.


South African veteran activist to receive honorary degree

Esther Nakkazi

At its 68th graduation ceremonies next week, Uganda’s Makerere University will award Winnie Madikizela-Mandela an honorary Doctor of Laws for her role in the liberation struggle.


No widespread chaos last week at university registrations

Fears of widespread chaos during the start of registration at some tertiary institutions around the country last week largely failed to materialise in the wake of the president’s recent announcement about fee-free higher education and a call by a political party for all eligible students to simply turn up at institutions of their choice as walk-in applications.


A new book, Castells in Africa: Universities and Development, published late last year by open-access publisher African Minds, showcases the contribution of Spanish sociologist Manuel Castells to higher education research and thinking in Africa.


Manuel Castells – Inspiring fundamental change

Jamil Salmi

A new book, which traces the history of world renowned sociologist Manuel Castells’ visits to South Africa and the intellectual influence of his work, is a welcome addition to the academic literature on the role of higher education in Africa, and provides a relevant analytical framework to understand recent developments in African higher education and identify the high stakes confronting political and university leaders.


The university – Decisive battlefield and source of hope

Manuel Castells

Higher education is the site of a three-way convergence involving a shift in economic organisation, the acceleration of the technological revolution and a re-legitimation of political institutions. This convergence renders the global higher education landscape simultaneously a battlefield and our hope for a better future in the midst of the current darkness.


‘Castells in Africa’ – Some insights for universities

Johan Muller, Nico Cloete and François van Schalkwyk

The work of Manuel Castells reminds us to expect conflict between the various functions of universities and shines a powerful light on the developmental predicament facing African universities that are still trying to emerge from the shadow of their colonial parent institutions.



Forging effective HE systems for national development

Mark Paterson and Nico Cloete

A new book by Jamil Salmi, the recently retired coordinator of tertiary education at the World Bank, is an immensely readable and practical volume that is informed by a deep understanding of both the theoretical and real-world challenges faced by policy agents seeking to transform their higher education systems.



Credit transfer – It’s time for harmonisation

Damtew Teferra

As the African higher education sector continues to grow in leaps and bounds, so does the need for a harmonised credit transfer system and a common understanding of student workload. Fortunately, progress is being made.



Concerns over persecution of Cameroon academic

Tunde Fatunde

West African academics and intellectuals have expressed their concerns about the detention and withholding of their colleague’s Cameroonian passport by the government of Paul Biya.


Studies point to link between hunger and student dropouts

Wagdy Sawahel

Many students at universities throughout the African continent are going without food on a daily basis, prompting concern about the effect on academic performance, according to recent reports.



Developing countries showing way to fight fraud

Brendan O'Malley

Nigeria is among a number of developing countries going further than many developed countries in specifically addressing academic corruption in law and many African universities are seeking to copy its commitment to not only punish but name and shame offenders.



Lecturers suspend teaching over salary non-payment

Members of the higher education union Syndicat Autonome de l’Enseignement Supérieur have suspended their teaching duties at the country’s leading university, Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar, after they failed to receive their salaries for December, adding to previous unpaid remuneration.


Launch of scheme to encourage student entrepreneurs

A scheme to encourage student entrepreneurship in Morocco and Tunisia has been launched, bringing together 14 partners in the two countries and Europe.


New fellowship to boost climate change research capacity

The One Planet Fellowship – a US$15 million five-year philanthropic programme funded by the BNP Paribas Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and under the auspices of the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation – is to support 120 African researchers working to help the continent adapt to climate change and bolster the scientific community.


Partnership to boost connectivity for researchers

Angola Cables will collaborate with the West and Central African Research and Education Network to expand bandwidth connectivity among West and Central African research and education member institutions.

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


UN convention on degree recognition comes into force

Yojana Sharma

A United Nations regional convention on the recognition of higher education qualifications in the Asia Pacific comes into force on 15 January 2018 after the five founding countries – Australia, South Korea, China, Japan and New Zealand – deposited their instruments of ratification with UNESCO.


Higher education access rising but challenges lie ahead

Shuriah Niazi

The proportion of young people in higher education in India has risen to 25.2%, up from under 20% in 2010-11, with the country setting an ambitious goal of attaining a gross enrolment ratio of 30% by 2020. But it lags behind China, currently with a gross enrolment ratio of 42%.


Students among hundreds arrested during protests

Wagdy Sawahel and Yojana Sharma

Students are among hundreds of people arrested in demonstrations across dozens of cities and towns throughout Iran, which began as demonstrations against the price of basic food supplies but later included criticism of the political establishment.


University funding to be 'frozen' in time by federal cuts

Geoff Maslen

Planned federal cuts of more than AU$2 billion (US$1.6 billion) would mean university funding was 'frozen in time' and would force severe reductions in student numbers, according to Universities Australia. It says regional areas with lowest university enrolments would be hit hardest.


Parliament to prevent foreign influence on students

Eugene Vorotnikov

The upper house of the Russian national parliament is drawing up a package of measures to restrict external pressure and foreign influence on Russian students and universities. Foreign programmes will have to be coordinated with the Ministry of Education and Science and the Federal Security Service.


International students worth £22.6 billion to economy

Brendan O’Malley

International students are contributing £22.6 billion (US$31 billion) to the United Kingdom economy, 10 times their cost, and are worth £310 per UK resident, according to a detailed analysis of the costs and benefits to the UK of welcoming 231,000 new international students each year.


Majority of universities are now research-oriented

María Elena Hurtado

For the first time in Chile there are more complex universities, that focus on research and also teach six or seven PhDs in three or more disciplines, than teaching-only universities, according to the sixth edition of the quality ranking of Chilean universities.


Court overturns university admissions restrictions regime

Michael Gardner

The Federal Constitutional Court has ruled that the procedure for allocating places to study medicine in Germany, which partly prioritises students with top marks in the high school leaving exam, is unfair. It has called on federal and state governments to establish new procedures.


Rector says internationalisation should have limits

Jan Petter Myklebust

There are limits to how far internationalisation in higher education should grow and it is right to set them, said Rector Magnificus of the University of Amsterdam, Professor Karen IJ Maex, speaking at the celebration of the university’s 368th anniversary.



Educating ethical leaders and critical thinkers

Lennart Levi and Bo Rothstein

To address future threats to the world, universities must offer training for all future decision-makers, regardless of faculty or subject, to think both critically and ethically. As a first step, we need an international, interdisciplinary analysis of what needs to be taught and how.


Nordic path to automatic recognition of qualifications

Stig Arne Skjerven

Nordic cooperation in the field of recognition of qualifications, backed by clear political commitment at ministerial level and with the aim of encouraging greater mobility, has proven to be important and might become a role model for other regions in Europe.


US share of international students will keep falling

Marguerite Dennis

United States market share of international students has been falling for a while for a number of reasons. The biggest threat is a failure of higher education managers to take seriously the fact that international students have a growing number of options available to them.


Can foreign branch campuses be research universities?

Agustian Sutrisno

There are several factors that could increase pressure for international branch campuses in developing countries to become more research-focused. This is likely to be only in niche areas of applied and technology transfer research and to be distinct from the research their parent universities do.


What the higher education Brexit debate has not covered

Vangelis Tsiligiris and Alex de Ruyter

Brexit has created a lot of uncertainty over issues such as student mobility, research funding and recruitment of European Union staff, but other areas affected, such as transnational education, have not been aired in the debate about the likely impact of leaving the EU.



What changes will HE have to prepare for by 2030?

What are the megatrends shaping the world around us? What are the implications for higher education and international mobility? These questions will be discussed in an international webinar hosted by StudyPortals on 24 January, for which University World News is the media partner.



Continuing dilemmas for higher education in 2018

Philip G Altbach

What does 2018 have in store for international higher education? Despite some bright spots, the political headwinds of nationalism, fiscal constraints and other conflicts do not bode well for the coming year, and the increasing demands to abolish tuition fees may continue.



University leadership changes signal politicisation

Yojana Sharma

As a number of universities in Hong Kong change their top leadership, the comments of outgoing and incoming university heads are being closely scrutinised for their commitment to Hong Kong’s cherished freedoms, particularly academic freedom, as the city comes under increasing pressure from Beijing.


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Use of identity system reveals 130,000 ghost lecturers

The decision to use Aadhaar – a 12-digit unique identity number issued to all Indian residents – as proof of identity in the annual collation of data on teachers employed in higher education has led to an uncomfortable discovery: nearly a 10th of them turned out to be ghost teachers, writes Prashant K Nanda for Livemint.


EU academics’ resignations hike sparks ‘Brexodus’ fears

More than 2,300 European Union academics have resigned from British universities over the past year amid concerns over a ‘Brexodus’ of top talent in higher education, writes Lizzy Buchan for the Independent.


Climate scientists exiled by Trump form new panel

The Trump administration disbanded a federal advisory committee on climate change last year but the scientists on the panel won’t be deterred. They’re taking their research elsewhere, writes Eric Roston for Bloomberg.


Government fast-tracks free education project

Less than a month before the end of the legislative period, the Chilean government was preparing to pass a bill in the Senate to establish free higher education as public policy, reports Prensa Latina.


Predatory journal has firm grip on universities

Scientists from the University of Ottawa, the Ottawa Hospital and other top-tier institutions across Canada keep publishing their results in fake science journals, tainting the work despite years of warnings, writes Tom Spears for the Ottawa Citizen.


Grace Mugabe’s degree under probe

Former first lady Grace Mugabe, who controversially attained a doctor of philosophy degree at the University of Zimbabwe three years ago, faces humiliation and a corruption probe after lecturers formally complained that her doctorate is bogus as there is no credible record of her study, writes Wongai Zhangazha for the Zimbabwe Independent.


Universities win temporary access to Elsevier journals

The Dutch publishing giant Elsevier has granted uninterrupted access to its paywalled journals for researchers at around 200 German universities and research institutes that had refused to renew their individual subscriptions at the end of 2017, writes Quirin Schiermeier for Nature.


HE body launches plagiarism probe against one of its own

The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan is set to meet soon to decide the fate of its second most important officer whose research paper was found to be 88% plagiarised, writes Waseem Abbasi for The News.


Universities to open new faculties

New faculties will be opened at universities during the 2018-19 academic year, according to the Ministry of Education and Training’s new catalogue on training programmes in higher education, reports Viet Nam News. Most of the new faculties will be in the social fields.


Another university drops its English proficiency rule

National Chengchi University recently abolished a rule requiring students to pass standardised English proficiency tests, becoming the latest university to drop the graduation requirement following National Cheng Kung University and National Taipei University of Education, writes Ann Maxon for the Taipei Times.


China to build joint institute with Moroccan university

The Chinese Ministry of Education has recently approved a China-Morocco joint institute to be built by northwest China's Ningxia University and Morocco's University of Hassan I, reports Xinhua.


Urgently fill faculty vacancies, president urges

President Ram Nath Kovind recently urged all new central universities to ensure that faculty vacancies are filled. Kovind held a ‘multi-stakeholder brainstorming’ session, as he put it, to deal with problems facing 17 new central universities that have arisen since 2009, reports The Times of India.


Universities accused of unethical drug trials reporting

Universities have been accused of undertaking widespread unethical drug trials after The Daily Telegraph revealed Oxford researchers allowed a vaccine to be tested on babies despite doubts about its effectiveness, writes Henry Bodkin for The Telegraph.


42 universities in trouble over excess examination fees

The Nigerian government has queried 42 universities for charging more than the NGN2,000 (US$5.50) instructed by the Ministry of Education for the 2017 post-Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations conducted after the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board examinations, writes Wale Odunsi for the Daily Post.


Only three out of 111 state university rectors are women

A local newspaper has reported that only three state universities in Turkey have women rectors, despite women making up 43.58% of all academics in the country, reports Hurriyet Daily News.


University strike ends after four months

A four-month strike at Congo's sole public university ended last week with staff resuming work after being paid arrears for three months and agreeing to further negotiations over unpaid wages, reports AFP.

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