Why do so few women make it to the top at South African universities?

University World News Africa Edition
29 July 2018 Issue 224 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search


University World News is taking a mid-year publication break. Our next edition will be published on Sunday 26 August.


Tackling gender imbalances at the level of university vice-chancellor

   In Africa Features, Edwin Naidu writes about plans by Universities South Africa, the body representing vice-chancellors of the country’s public universities, to investigate the gender imbalance at senior management levels of universities; while John Agaba highlights moves in Uganda by frustrated professional bodies in the health sector to introduce exit examinations for university graduates in a bid to improve the quality of graduates entering the health professions; and Tunde Fatunde provides an update on the detention of six Cameroonian academics deported from Nigeria earlier this year.

   In Africa Analysis, Oliver Mutanga, Bothwell Manyonga and Sindile Ngubane-Mokiwa raise some of their concerns about the new South African higher education disability policy, while Wondwosen Tamrat discusses the need to address the issue of substance abuse at institutions of higher education in Ethiopia.

   In News from around the continent, Wagdy Sawahel reports on the surprise axing of Somalia’s higher education minister last week, Gilbert Nganga reports on moves by the Kenyan government to clamp down on graft in the public sector, including higher education, and Rodrigue Rwirahira writes on attempts by a PhD candidate in Rwanda to stop his research from being sabotaged by a proposed government tender.

   In our World Blog this week, Marguerite J Dennis, inspired by the book Factfulness, urges universities to base their decisions on facts rather than perceived ideas and one-dimensional statistics when planning for a future of global collaboration and international student recruitment.

Sharon Dell – Editor



HE minister sacked over alleged controversial comments

Wagdy Sawahel

Speculation continues over the reasons for the sudden dismissal of Somalia's Minister of Education, Culture and Higher Education Abdulrahman Taher Osman following comments he is alleged to have made about the non-recognition of sub-standard universities in the country.


Calls for tighter regulation of private universities

Wagdy Sawahel

A recent government warning about the use by private universities of manipulated or fake data about curricula and international partnerships to programmes that have not received official authorisation, has highlighted the need for tighter regulation, say higher education observers in Morocco.


Researcher fears government tender will sabotage his PhD

Rodrigue Rwirahira

A researcher and part-time employee of the University of Rwanda has petitioned a parliamentary committee over what he alleges is the sabotage of his research, a study on fish in Lake Kivu, by the infrastructure ministry.


Graft clampdown – Universities told to halt new projects

Gilbert Nganga

Kenya’s public universities, many of which have embarked on ambitious infrastructure projects, are facing a rocky future following the government’s blanket ban on new infrastructure projects for all state agencies and the implementation of tighter procurement processes – all aimed at clamping down on corruption.


Skills mismatch under the spotlight at Yaoundé meeting

Christabel Ligami

Africa is likely to miss out on the fourth industrial revolution if universities do not focus on entrepreneurship courses or transform their current education curricula so as to give graduates the right skills for the job market, according to education experts.


Ministry unveils plan to attract Sub-Saharan students

Wagdy Sawahel

The ministry of higher education in Tunisia has launched several new initiatives aimed at increasing the number of foreign students, especially from Sub-Saharan Africa, to its universities.


‘Sustainable development needs both arts and sciences’

Gilbert Nakweya

“Sustainable development requires both the sciences and the arts to work together and complement each other for execution of development agendas,” according to Professor Samuel Sefa-Dedeh, vice president of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.


PAU celebrates milestone as first PhD cohort graduates

Maina Waruru

The Pan African University (PAU) last month celebrated the graduation of its first batch of PhD students in what is seen as a major milestone for the institution that has overcome a number of teething problems since its establishment in 2012.



Universities body to probe gender imbalance at the top

Edwin Naidu

The apex body representing vice-chancellors of South Africa's public universities plans to investigate why women are struggling to break through the glass ceiling en route to heading institutions of higher learning.


Medical health bodies push for graduate exit exam

John Agaba

Frustrated professional bodies in Uganda’s health sector have mooted the idea of introducing exit examinations for graduates seeking to enter the health professions in a bid to improve the quality of students being churned out by universities.


Union to embark on action over detained academics

Tunde Fatunde

The Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria is to embark upon a campaign on various campuses in Nigeria calling for the immediate release of the six academics deported by the Nigerian government to Cameroon in January.


Will the fee increase solve universities’ funding woes?

Esther Nakkazi

While a tuition fee increment for higher education – the first in 10 years – may be the most viable way to address immediate financial woes facing universities in Uganda, it is not a sustainable way to address higher education funding gaps, say academics.


New partnership puts university teaching in the spotlight

Gilbert Nakweya

African universities need a systematic change in teaching and learning approaches to help lecturers deal with growing student numbers and inadequate facilities, and to produce graduates who can make meaningful contributions in today’s knowledge-based economies.



Higher education disability policy – Important but flawed

Oliver Mutanga, Bothwell Manyonga and Sindile Ngubane-Mokiwa

South Africa finally has a disability policy that is specific to the higher education sector. While its formulation is a welcome development, can it lead, in its current form, to positive change?


Substance abuse – The unspoken challenge to HE goals

Wondwosen Tamrat

As efforts continue to expand the higher education sector in Ethiopia, we cannot ignore the growing problem of substance and drug abuse among university students. Neglecting this growing trend is likely to result in the curtailment, in some measure, of the gains of educational expansion.



HE and research agreement for closer cooperation

The Moroccan and Tunisian authorities in charge of higher education and research have signed an agreement to encourage the establishment of a university network and greater student mobility.


Social welfare school aims to extend global reach

The École Supérieure de la Sécurité Sociale, which specialises in higher education and training for professions dealing with social welfare, will introduce some courses in English so Anglophone countries will be able to recruit its graduates.



Future international student mobility – The facts

Marguerite J Dennis

Universities should plan for a future of global collaboration based on a critical analysis of a range of facts rather than perceived ideas and one-dimensional statistics. The long view means planning beyond next year’s incoming class of international students.

NEWS – Our correspondents worldwide report


More ‘institutes of eminence’ to be selected despite row

Shuriah Niazi

The Indian government is set to expand its list of ‘Institutes of Eminence’ aiming for world-class status even as two of the private institutions first listed earlier this month have come under question, and following rows over top public universities left off the list.


Facial recognition ‘security measures’ grow on campuses

Yojana Sharma

The use of facial recognition software is growing in China’s universities, ostensibly to improve security, but concerns are growing that it is used for monitoring students – including foreign students – and teachers, creating massive databases on student attendance and movements around campus.


Imran Khan vows to convert PM House into a university

Ameen Amjad Khan

Following his victory in Pakistan’s general election held on 25 July, Prime Minister-designate Imran Khan has promised an ambitious education agenda and announced during his success speech on Thursday that he intends to convert the Prime Minister's House into a centre of higher education.


Internationalisation hampered by ‘lack of investment’

Brendan O'Malley

Irish higher education institutions are not internationalising to the fullest extent and are constrained by a lack of resources and hampered by a lack of government investment in promotion of Ireland as a study destination, according to a study commissioned by the Higher Education Authority.


Factors behind being in top five Horizon 2020 recipients

Jan Petter Myklebust

While four leading universities in the United Kingdom head the list of the top five recipients of Horizon 2020 funds so far, they are followed by Denmark’s University of Copenhagen, the best performer in continental Europe. What were the key factors behind its success?


Huge rise in unconditional offers for university places

Brendan O'Malley

Sam Gyimah, the universities minister, has accused universities of being “completely irresponsible” for steeply increasing the number of unconditional offers made to prospective students in a scramble to fill places, and the university and college union has demanded a complete overhaul of the admissions system.


Saudi universities halt courses for non-regular students

Ashraf Khaled

Saudi universities have stopped admitting non-regular or part-time students wishing to obtain a bachelor degree as well as stopping distance learning, at an order from the Arab country’s education authorities, aimed at raising the quality of higher education.


Left and right dislike direction of higher education

Emma Pettit, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Republicans and Democrats aren’t fond of where higher education in the United States is headed, but for very different reasons, a new Pew Research Center survey has found. Only on one issue, the need to protect free speech on campus, are they united.



What happened to internationalisation of the curriculum?

Craig Whitsed, Wendy Green and Carla Camargo Cassol

Despite waning interest in internationalisation of the curriculum in Australia, it is important to explore how academics might shape the discourse of global employability, which has replaced it, so that the aspirations, values and practices of internationalisation of the curriculum continue to inform teaching and learning.


Recalibrating value for money for international students

Rahul Choudaha

Global competition for international students is becoming intense due to recent unpredictable events. Yet, innovation and adoption of institutional strategies that align with particular student segments and deliver on the promise of value for money will become the key differentiators of institutional success.


Dutch court defers decision on English in universities

Rosemary Salomone

A recent Dutch court ruling on English-language programmes is not the clear victory for universities teaching in English that some think. The court exercised constraint in deciding education matters but will still influence them, with implications for internationalisation policies around the world.


Transnational education and the neo-colonial disguise

Osman Z Barnawi

A recent book explores neo-colonialism in transnational education and questions the idea that the current intellectual and policy infrastructures of higher education in Asia and the Middle East have been wholly imposed by the West.


Displaced universities face looming identity crisis

Uliana Furiv

The displacement of many universities in eastern Ukraine due to the ongoing conflict and the focus of the Ukrainian government on long-term return mean many are facing challenges adapting to their new circumstances and seeking to add value to their new environment.


Guidelines don’t address failure to report sexual assault

Andrea Durbach

Guidelines for how universities should respond to student sexual assault and sexual harassment, released by Universities Australia, fail to address the reason why so many students don’t actually report their experiences. Nor do they address prevention of student sexual assault and harassment.



The unfulfilled promise of online higher education

Geoff Maslen

Decades after the advent of online learning in higher education, the revolution its advocates had foretold has yet to occur. As Richard Garrett writes in a new report, champions of the internet thought it could “transform educational access, quality and cost”. But it hasn’t.


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Uncertainty over future of Palestinian lecturers

As Israeli students are finishing their final exams, Palestinian students in the occupied territories don’t know whether their institutions will be opening for the coming academic year or if their lecturers will continue to teach, as dozens of lecturers with European and American citizenship are being expelled, writes Daphna Golan for Haaretz.


Academics draft hate crime bill for minorities

Academics at the University of Limerick have drafted a bill that would incorporate hate crimes – against all minorities – into Irish law, superseding the one introduced in early 2017 that has stalled in the Irish parliament, write Hugo Greenhalgh and Cormac O Brien for Reuters.


Academics warn of political battleground at universities

Pro-democracy Hong Kong academics say they have been sidelined from city universities for their political views, as fears grow that education is increasingly under pressure from Beijing, reports AFP.


Public universities are a great economic equaliser

For young people right now, there is little cause for optimism but new data from the University of California shows that a quality public education might still serve as one of the country’s most important equalisers, with many of the lowest-income graduates of the University of California system going on to earn more than their parents, writes Eillie Anzilotti for Fast Company.


University autonomy – Time for a check-up

Canadian universities have traditionally enjoyed high levels of autonomy from government relative to their counterparts in other parts of the world, but the decision-making authority of universities appears to be shrinking and that’s cause for concern, writes Julia Eastman for University Affairs.


Student body demands minister hires competent lecturers

The Zambia National Students Union, an umbrella body for all student unions in Zambia, has called on the minister of higher education, Professor Nkandu Luo, to ensure that the ministry intensifies inspection of all universities and colleges to ensure competent lecturers are employed and adequate facilities are provided, reports Lusaka Times.


Online publisher survives clash with universities

Analysts had thought that a stand-off between universities in Germany and Sweden and online publisher RELX, which, among other things, publishes academic journals, could hit revenues but that proved not to be the case in the publisher’s half-year results, reports Proactive Investors.


Universities accused of artificially boosting grades

Universities in the United Kingdom are artificially inflating their grades to look good, a report by think tank Reform claims. The report states that universities, competing with each other, have altered the way grades are calculated to increase the number of firsts, writes Will Frampton for Bournemouth Daily Echo.


Universities in trouble over alleged fee violation

Some colleges and universities are in trouble with the Fee Regulatory Committee headed by Justice DV Shylendra Kumar, which has issued notices to 15 deemed universities and private universities in Karnataka state for allegedly breaching the fee structure set by the committee, reports Bangalore Mirror.


Three universities to jointly produce CubeSat

Iranian Space Agency Director Morteza Barari said that three Iranian universities are jointly working on manufacturing a CubeSat. He stressed the important roles that universities can play in the development of the space industry in the country at a meeting in Tehran last week to discuss the cooperation between Iranian universities and the space industry, reports Mehr News Agency.


Academic needs four months’ wages to repair shoes

As a microcosm of Venezuela’s economic woes, university professor Jose Ibarra shared his financial predicament on social media – his tweet claiming that it would take four months of his salary to afford to fix his shoes, write Cristina Abellan Matamoros, Natalia Oelsner and Marta Rodriguez for Euronews.


University to halt student enrolment growth

One of Australia’s top universities has announced that it would no longer increase student enrolments, citing a threat to quality posed by further expansion. The move ends a period of rapid growth in international enrolments in recent years, writes Jackson Gothe-Snape for ABC News.

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