Also: China quiet about return of foreign students from Africa
22 April 2021  Issue No: 310
Africa Top Stories
PHOTOTwo African universities – the University of Johannesburg in South Africa and Aswan University in Egypt – are placed in the top 100 institutions in the world for their work towards the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, according to the third edition of the annual Times Higher Education Impact Rankings.
Volumes of African literature, including archives of the liberation struggle history and the mid-19th century Cape San people, hosted at the iconic African Studies Library, as well as historical buildings have been destroyed by raging fires which engulfed the University of Cape Town and parts of Table Mountain in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt learning a severe blow across the world, but it appears to have shattered the dreams of African students enrolled in Chinese universities, who left China early last year during the lockdown and are still not sure when they will be allowed back to these institutions to continue with their studies.
UWN Africa Growth
PHOTOWeb analytics for the African edition of University World News has confirmed a steep upward trajectory in readership traffic recorded since 2018, in part due to it becoming a weekly publication a year ago. The figures show that readership traffic to the Africa page has increased by 334% during the past three years.
Africa News
PHOTOThe International Monetary Fund or IMF, the private investment arm of the World Bank, has identified three Kenyan universities – Kenyatta, Nairobi and Moi – as among the top state-owned agencies carrying the biggest financial risks. This is because the institutions have been registering persistent losses for an extended period and continue to struggle to stay afloat, a situation that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Africa Commentary
PHOTOWith the rise of armed conflicts and radicalisation which appear to emanate from religion, African universities should join the religious education movement to enhance knowledge of religions, and to build sustainable peaceful relationships as well as combat extremism. But there are concerns that religious education could be used as a propaganda tool for promoting state-approved religious views that might harm students’ religious identity and attitudes.
Africa Features
PHOTOThe late Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe spread hatred against and fear among the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer or LGBTIQ community in Zimbabwe that is still being felt today, several years after he was toppled in a coup in November 2017 before his death two years later. Students are part of this community and, in a survey, said they often felt unsafe and isolated on campuses.
AAP Dialogue: Future of Farming
PHOTOClimate change, food security and natural resource degradation threaten sustainable agriculture, and are global challenges that could derail the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Against this backdrop, the future of farming was interrogated by experts reflecting on soil health and policy as part of the 2021 dialogue series by the Alliance for African Partnership, or AAP. The alliance uses the dialogue series, initiated last year, to increase awareness of African universities as knowledge leaders on the continent.
Global Commentary
PHOTOAcademic freedom plays little or no role in university rankings yet makes all the difference between a thriving academy and regime-controlled higher education. If the rankings were adjusted for academic freedom, universities from mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore would drop to the bottom.
World Blog
PHOTOAlthough the pandemic has greatly disrupted higher education around the world, it has also reset education abroad for institutions willing to take a more expansive view of what international higher education can entail and trial approaches that are not solely focused on mobility.
Global Features
PHOTOCOVID-19 had the force of a tsunami in shaking up university international activities, but higher education is likely to emerge from the pandemic with a greater appetite for global cooperation providing it can navigate around the challenges of geopolitics, according to sector leaders on three continents.
World Round-up
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