Also: Zimbabwean students shocked about an unexpected hike in fees
18 March 2021  Issue No: 305
Africa Top Stories
PHOTOSpiralling student debt that has reached almost ZAR14 billion (about US$948 million), a government that is financially crippled and political battles within the ruling African National Congress have been affecting a growing higher education financing crisis that has already contributed to a difficult start to the 2021 academic year.
Zimbabwean state universities have increased tuition fees by up to a massive 450%, in a development which students said was insensitive, considering the economic crisis in the country. The fee hike caught many in the sector off guard following assurances by the government in January 2021 that it would not approve increases until the threat of COVID-19 had subsided.
Countries at medium level of economic development with large research sectors, especially in North Africa, tend to be most susceptible to predatory publishing, researchers have found. Some of the countries that are most affected by predatory publishing in health, life, physical and social sciences include Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania and Sudan in the Arab Northern Africa region, and Togo, Niger, Nigeria and Liberia in the Sub-Saharan region.
Africa News
PHOTOAcademics in Morocco have taken a stand against poor pay and working conditions and have vowed to participate in monthly strikes and sit-ins in front of the education ministry in Rabat. A boycott would follow if the Moroccan Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research does not respond to the demands, warned faculty members.
Africa Commentary
PHOTOThe shifting of learning and collaborations online during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to new threats to academic freedom, including increased opportunities for surveillance of research, teaching and discourse, as well as restrictions, self-censorship and isolation, new data from the Academic Freedom Index 2020 shows.
Africa Features
PHOTOMalawi’s higher education may have suffered through COVID-19, but the pandemic has bolstered efforts to expand online and distance learning, in some instances reaching students through special satellite centres run by universities and colleges. Out of Malawi’s 19 tertiary institutions, five have made significant progress in such services, with Mzuzu University, in northern Malawi, leading the way.
Global Commentary
PHOTONorth America and Western Europe continue to dominate the QS subject rankings, but Asian universities are continuing to rise, buoyed by investment. The lesson for policy-makers in other regions is that to improve performance, you have to raise the level of funding.
World Blog
PHOTOThe arts and humanities are central to understanding the local and human contexts in which the COVID-19 pandemic is situated and in imagining more socially just possibilities for the future. Via deep observation, listening and empathy, they can cultivate the compassion that drives social change.
Global Features
PHOTOFemale enrolment in higher education has tripled globally between 1995 and 2018. However, recent research has provided evidence that the gender gap in higher education has declined very little in recent decades and closely matches the continued gender inequality in the labour market.
World Round-up
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