Using data to understand students’ needs and put them on the path to success.

University World News Africa Edition
24 June 2018 Issue 222 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


Using data to understand students’ needs and put them on the path to success

   In Africa Features, we cover the recent Siyaphumelela conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa, which highlighted some of the challenges – material and otherwise – facing students and impeding their success at universities; Munyaradzi Makoni explores the way in which the Seeding Labs concept is enabling African scientists to take their research to another level with the help of donations of scientific equipment; and Wagdy Sawahel reports on a new draft law that will pave the way for an academy aimed at the development of the ancient Amazigh language in Algeria.

   In Africa Analysis, Wondwosen Tamrat discusses the limitations prevailing in the way in which quality assurance systems are currently implemented in Ethiopia, while Johann Mouton and Jaco Blanckenberg analyse the performance of South African scientific research over the past 17 years.

   In News from around the continent, Kudzai Mashininga reports on the latest developments around the plight of Zimbabwean students in Northern Cyprus; Francis Kokutse writes about the upgrade of teacher training colleges in Ghana; and Gilbert Nganga writes about employers’ concerns about the cost of reskilling university graduates in Kenya.

   In our World Blog, Roger Chao Jr says national governments need to see higher education as a public good and should not shirk their responsibility in delivering quality ‘public’ higher education, including under free tuition regimes.

Sharon Dell – Africa Editor



Universities in Northern Cyprus ‘illegal’ – Ambassador

Kudzai Mashininga

The Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to Zimbabwe Yannis Iacovou has said all universities in the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus are operating unlawfully and all foreign students studying there – including Zimbabweans – are breaking international law.


University-level upgrade for teacher-training colleges

Francis Kokutse

All Colleges of Education are to be upgraded to University Colleges and will offer a four-year Bachelor of Education degree with effect from the 2018-19 academic year, as part of efforts to improve the quality of teacher training in the country, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has announced.


Unprepared graduates are raising our costs, say employers

Gilbert Nganga

Kenyan employers are warning of surging business costs arising from the hiring of new under-prepared university graduates even as the country grapples with an oversupply of university leavers.


Ongoing partnership helps engineers tackle local needs

Munyaradzi Makoni

The United Kingdom's Royal Academy of Engineering is looking to team up with more Sub-Saharan African universities in a programme aimed at forging links between universities and the private sector.


Centres of Excellence project bequeaths research hubs

Maina Waruru

The Inter-University Council for East Africa plans to establish regional research hubs in at least four universities that are hosting the Eastern and Southern African Higher Education Centres of Excellence at a cost of US$2 million.


CUE works to fast-track university security measures

Christabel Ligami

The Kenyan Ministry of Education and the Commission for University Education (CUE) are pushing the implementation of measures to improve security within and around universities and constituent colleges, aimed at preventing a recurrence of the fatal Garissa terror attack in 2015, and at curtailing the potential for student radicalisation and general criminal activity.



Beyond the establishment of quality assurance agencies

Wondwosen Tamrat

As it is currently implemented, Ethiopia’s quality assurance system fails to hold public higher education institutions accountable and its audit system is only useful for institutions that have a high level of commitment, motivation and readiness to benefit from the process. There is an urgent need for changes in the system.


How well is South African science doing?

Johann Mouton and Jaco Blanckenberg

Across a number of indicators – publication output, international collaboration and citation visibility or impact – it appears that scientific production in South Africa has grown impressively over the last 17 years.


‘Abiy’s Fellows’ – A new frontier to advance excellence

Damtew Teferra

In addition to its material benefits, it is hoped that the new prime minister’s scholarship scheme will enhance the currency of merit and excellence in all walks of life and provide inspiration for higher education students looking for worthy role models.


Are graduates ready for artificial intelligence?

Nelishia Pillay

Since the term artificial intelligence (AI) was coined there have been various expectations of what it can achieve and how it can change society. Has AI met these expectations? Can it meet the challenges posed by the fourth industrial revolution?



Meeting basic needs – A first step to student success

Sharon Dell

While research shows that funded students have a better success rate because their basic needs are more likely to be met, they still need a range of other support mechanisms and structures to ensure they achieve their potential at South African universities. Student analytics – which provides a clearer picture of student needs – can help.


Seeding Labs – A catalytic opportunity to drive discovery

Munyaradzi Makoni

The discovery by a Harvard molecular biology doctoral student of troves of unused and underused scientific laboratory equipment in a university basement was the impetus behind a project which has today brought equipment worth over US$30 million to 63 institutions in 33 countries around the world.


Draft law paves way for Amazigh language academy

Wagdy Sawahel

Algeria has approved a draft law paving the way for the creation of an Amazigh language academy dedicated to the teaching and promotion of research on Tamazight, as well as its standardisation.


Discord over proposed changes to education trust fund

Tunde Fatunde

Public and private tertiary education institutions are at loggerheads over a proposal to widen access to the country’s Tertiary Education Trust Fund to include private institutions. The fund is currently responsible for managing and disbursing the education tax to public tertiary institutions.


How do we prepare graduates who can serve society?

Ramadhan Rajab

Educationalists have called upon Kenyan universities to teach critical thinking skills and include social justice and transformation in their curriculum, in order to prepare graduates to serve their societies selflessly and diligently.



Minister concerned over Bologna Process delays

Halfway through the procedure introducing the Bologna Process of European higher education, known in French as LMD, Steve Mbikayi, the minister for higher education in the DRC, is concerned about delays and has instructed university heads to carry out an evaluation of progress so far.


Minister denounces university entrance fraud

Maria do Rosário Bragança Sambo, Angola's higher education and science minister, has denounced officials’ fraudulent malpractice in student university entrance processes.

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


Universities look south to recruit international students

Mary Beth Marklein and Nguyen Lan Huong

Latin America and the Caribbean appear to be the new go-to regions for many international recruitment officers at United States colleges and universities, more than three-quarters of whom said they are rethinking overseas strategies in light of recent enrolment shortfalls, a new survey finds.


UK visa changes ‘discriminate’ against Indian students

Yojana Sharma

Moves by the United Kingdom government to ease student visa procedures for around a dozen non-European countries have caused outrage in India whose students – among the most numerous in the UK – have been excluded while Chinese students stand to benefit from the changes which come into effect on 6 July.


HE sector widely condemns Trump’s immigration policy

Brendan O’Malley

Academics, academic institutions, higher education leaders and higher education organisations joined calls last week to condemn the forced separation of illegal immigrant children from their parents in the United States and the imprisonment of immigrant families, demanding President Donald Trump rethink his immigration policy.


Universities oppose foreign influence legislation

Geoff Maslen

Proposed legislation on tracking the influence of foreign governments in Australia would affect thousands of academics collaborating with researchers outside the country. Universities Australia has called on federal parliamentarians to back the government’s own amendments to its proposals, which would reduce the impact on universities.


Will Horizon Europe be more open to the world?

Jan Petter Myklebust

The European Commission’s draft proposal for the European Union’s research programme for 2021-28, Horizon Europe, says it will widen participation to include ‘third’ countries with excellent science, technology and innovation capacities. But does it go far enough to reverse the trend of decreasing non-EU participants?



The higher education landscape is changing fast

Angel Calderon

With Asia set to dominate the next decades, it is predicted that shifting demographics will mean that middle-income countries will be the new generators for enrolments in higher education by 2040. Could this herald a new era in the geopolitics of higher education?


Business schools need to reconnect with society

Mathias Falkenstein

Business schools are at a ‘tipping point’ and must reconnect with their primary responsibility of serving the needs of society. Institutional changes are needed – to create more ethical, responsible and sustainable management education – and accreditation processes are helping to push them forward.


Twenty-five years of change in post-Soviet HE systems

Lukas Bischof

A new book illustrates not only how the common past of the 15 post-Soviet countries has shaped – and is continuing to shape – their development, but how similar and sometimes diverging policy choices were taken to deal with common challenges.


Reconfiguring the European higher education sector

Aline Courtois

European Union countries have mixed views on the impact of Brexit on European higher education cooperation. While some could gain as a result, many say the research productivity and reputation of institutions in the United Kingdom have helped the region as a whole to achieve great visibility in the global higher education and research landscape.


A commitment to social transformation in Latin America

Michaela Martin and Pedro Henriquez Guajardo

The recent third Regional Conference on Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean raised issues around the role of universities in promoting the public good and social, political and cultural transformation, as well as the need for greater institutional autonomy and involvement in quality assurance.



Free higher education – The public good argument

Roger Chao Jr

Challenges in providing quality ‘public’ higher education should not be a reason for national governments to shirk their responsibility to deliver a public service that includes delivery of quality ‘public’ higher education with long-term benefits not only for students but for society in general.



‘We weren’t prepared for this level of cruelty’

Teghan Simonton, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Law professors and students in the University of Texas School of Law are dealing with a frequency and intensity of immigrant cases involving family detention and separation that has skyrocketed recently, leaving even experienced legal professionals shocked and students emotionally drained.


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



Burqa and niqab banned at education institutions

Norway’s parliament has passed a bill banning clothing that partially or fully covers the face from being worn at educational institutions – the bill applies to students and teachers alike, as well as to staff at daycare centres, reports The Local.


DeVos urged to probe Huawei theft claim at universities

Dozens of lawmakers are urging United States Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to launch an investigation into possible attempts by Chinese organisations to steal research and technology from US universities, writes Benjamin Wermund for Politico.


Prepare for academic tug of war over crypto classes

Bitcoin, cryptocurrency and blockchain classes are in high demand at academic institutions around the world, from Chicago to Brazil and even North Korea, in fact, so much so that academics fear they might lead to a turf war between computer science, economics, law, accounting, finance departments and business schools, writes Avi Mizrahi for Bitcoin.


Lack of research affects rating of universities – Expert

An intellectual property rights expert, Tolulope Adekola, said the lack of proper research work was one of the reasons for the low rating of Nigerian universities in the world, reports Vanguard.


Rising concern over international student recruitment

The growth of third-party pathway providers – and of the private capital behind many of them – has helped to create a more competitive and commercialised landscape for recruiting international students, writes Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed.


Universities supported to improve sustainable agriculture

As part of an effort to ensure Canada remains a sustainable but major agricultural production country, Canadian universities have been invited to submit projects related to crop inventory, tillage, soil moisture and land cover that would use RADARSAT data to manage the country’s agricultural lands effectively and sustainably, reports the Canadian Space Agency.


Universities defend ‘gendered language’ guidelines

Universities have defended their stance on ‘banning’ gendered language from students and staff, saying such guidelines and policies have been in existence for decades at Australian tertiary institutions, writes Hannah Barry for WA Today.


Penalties for ‘fat-cat’ vice-chancellors’ salaries

Institutions in the United Kingdom will be forced to publish the full details of their bosses’ pay packets to the sector’s regulator, the Office for Students, and they’ll have to justify six-figure salaries and benefits, writes Eleanor Busby for the Independent.


Research universities ‘must be given autonomy'

Research universities must be given real autonomy to become innovative and responsive to change if universities are to fulfil their potential as key players in India’s future, underpinning India’s drive for growth and more jobs, writes the editorial team of IndraStra Global.


Public university staff agree to strike over pay

The teaching and non-teaching staff from the nine public universities in Uganda last week announced a nationwide strike after failure by government to consider them for salary enhancements and payment of their arrears in the next financial year’s budget, write Damali Mukhaye and Nobert Atukunda for Daily Monitor.


Collaboration across universities is ‘key to innovation’

Collaboration, similar to the American model involving the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, is the only way forward for innovation in Hong Kong, said Professor Tsui Lap-chee, the academic leading a review of research and development in Hong Kong, writes Peace Chiu for the South China Morning Post.


Admissions system for universities to get revamp

The Council of University Presidents of Thailand has set up three committees to improve the Thai University Central Admission System for the next academic year, according to its president, Suchatvee Suwansawat, reports The Nation.

Subscribe / Update / Unsubscribe / Sent to:
Terms and Conditions / ISSN 1756-297X / © University World News 2007-2018