Also: Open education resources enhance online learning
29 April 2021  Issue No: 311
Africa Top Stories
PHOTOA total of 70 African universities located in 11 countries have been ranked in at least one of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, according to the third edition of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. This represents a 40% increase in the number of universities included in the rankings compared to the second edition that featured only 50 African universities.
Four South African universities have been placed in the top 500 institutions globally for their academic performance, according to the 2021-22 Global 2000 List released by the Center for World University Rankings based in the United Arab Emirates. They are the University of Cape Town, the University of the Witwatersrand, Stellenbosch University and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
For the past two decades, the world has been building open knowledge on a massive scale, with open educational resources as a cornerstone. The 2001 launches of MIT OpenCourseWare and Creative Commons formed a solid foundation of this global open educational resource movement, which now supports many millions of learners from all walks of life, including students in Africa.
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
PHOTOGross under-representation of women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields in Africa could be reduced if societal and cultural gender norms, stereotypes, biases, sexual harassment and other discriminatory practices were dealt with at all levels. Women scientists should also be mentored by women faculty, stated a World Bank expert during International Girls in ICT Day that was observed on 22 April.
Africa Commentary
PHOTOScience, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM education is often regarded as an educational initiative that adopts an integrative approach toward the development of student knowledge and skills in these fields. The Ethiopian Ministry of Science and Higher Education recently introduced the National Framework for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Centres to promote science education.
PHOTOVartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, who died unexpectedly on 15 April, believed Africa’s future was rooted in strong higher education institutions. Under his watch, millions in grants were allocated to key priority areas, including the nurturing of young African academics, building a network between the academic diaspora and African universities as well as strengthening higher education policy and research.
Student Blog
PHOTOImagine this. You are in your room studying for the upcoming test week or catching up with your sleep or favourite Netflix series. The next thing, you are startled by the sounds of helicopters and sirens in your vicinity. Soon, the hues of deep orange flames and the darkness of smoke would engulf your campus. This was the day that a devastating fire reached the University of Cape Town.
Africa Features
PHOTODuring the month of April, the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, the official name of this devastating conflict, is commemorated from 7 April. In the past 27 years, several initiatives by Rwandan higher education institutions have attempted to support survivors of the violence that left an estimated 800,000 people dead in just 100 days.
Into a Digital Future
PHOTOAfrica’s youthful population is ready to spearhead a digital revolution in the frontier areas of data science and artificial intelligence. Virtual libraries, digital libraries and open-source learning materials are some of the initiatives supporting universities across the continent to grow these scarce skills. But institutions, still grappling with COVID-19 disruptions, rely on governments to provide the data infrastructure to take Africa into a digital future.
Global Commentary
PHOTOHigher education is referred to directly in only two of the 169 targets within the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, but it plays a huge role in many of them. University leaders need to review how they will address them and evaluate their progress.
World Blog
PHOTOUniversities need to become more agile if they are to adapt better to the challenges they face in the future. That means good leadership and structural changes which involve people at all levels so that they feel part of any decisions that are made.
Global Features
PHOTOFollowing the Canadian Association of University Teachers’ rare censure of the University of Toronto over allegations that a job offer to an academic whose work covers human rights in Palestine and Israel was dropped under external pressure, University World News examines the impact of donors on academic freedom and integrity.
World Round-up
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