Also: Universities could help to match expert volunteers with communities
28 January 2021  Issue No: 298
Africa Top Stories
PHOTOAfrica’s space science may not be ready to send a manned craft to the moon, but the recent discoveries of two new giant radio galaxies using South Africa’s powerful MeerKAT telescope have served as a reminder of the continent’s growing space scientific capacity – and the potential of space science to contribute to economic growth, environmental safety and food security.
Despite the lack of clinical trials and public data on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines developed by China, several African countries, including Egypt and Morocco, have been gearing up to use them, which turns the spotlight on universities and their role in protecting African communities from becoming vaccine-testing laboratories.
If South Africans hope to maintain any place of leadership within African academia and pursue genuine collaboration with African peers, competency in more than one world language is vital. Portuguese and French will open up knowledge systems on the continent, and Arabic and Mandarin will widen opportunities for meaningful engagement.
Africa News
PHOTOAcademic contract cheating, a practice that has found a ready market in universities across Sub-Saharan Africa, is undermining the sector’s integrity and ethical values. Marketisation policies, which have opened the floodgates to allow weaker students access in recent years, and graduate unemployment have been blamed for the growth in the dishonesty industry.
Africa Commentary
PHOTOThe disruptions in higher education acitivities due to COVID-19 coupled with the prolonged staff strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the powerful pillar representing all the teaching personnel within government-owned universities in Nigeria, have exposed the quality of leadership, or lack of it, at different levels within the country’s education sector, and have revealed this as a distinct underpinning of a weak system.
Africa Features
PHOTOFor years, international volunteering has been a popular activity with young men and women, often students, especially from the Global North sojourning in the Global South in aid of local populations in fields such as healthcare, education and social development. In an effort to deepen the impact of these volunteers, one East African organisation is pursuing partnerships with higher education institutions.
Global Commentary
PHOTOThe resurgence of violent conflict in recent years has caused immense human suffering, at enormous social and economic cost. Is the role of higher education merely to study global conflict drivers or to help transform them? What more can universities do to advance peacebuilding in practice?
Transformative Leadership: Social Impact and Civic Engagement
PHOTOThree students, with the support of a university incubator, have turned a vague aspiration to save waste food and eradicate hunger in Lahore, Pakistan, into a sustainable social enterprise which has delivered more than seven million meals to poor families who earn around US$100 a month or less.
World Blog
PHOTOEducation is a fundamental right for all students, regardless of their physical and mental abilities, and should not be interrupted by a pandemic. So has COVID-19 increased universities’ awareness of the barriers faced by disabled students, both on campus and in accessing remote education?
Global Features
PHOTODonald Trump will go down in history as the worst United States president ever. In terms of higher education, he will be remembered as a president hostile not only to its fundamental purpose – the pursuit of knowledge – but also to its growing dependence on international collaboration.
World Round-up
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