University World News Africa Edition
22 April 2012 Issue 0090 Register to receive our free e-newspaper by email each week Advanced Search
University policies all wrong in Southern Africa, France, Canada and the UK

In Africa Analysis, Piyushi Kotecha and Mohammod Irfan contend that long-term planning and aggressive policy interventions are essential if Southern Africa is to raise its tertiary participation rates. Mamadou Mika Lom writes that while lecturers in Senegal have suspended three months of industrial action, they are still unable to perform their jobs properly.
We report on the German-South African Year of Science launched in Cape Town last week, and in Student View Adeagbo Oluwafemi says high fees for non-regional African students are eroding the internationalisation aims of South African universities.
The conference ‘circus’ is the topic of this week’s World Blog by Hans de Wit, who suggests strengthening regional international education associations and holding a global conference once every few years.
In Commentary, Jean-Marie Boisson charts the evolution of France’s higher education and says the fragmented system needs a complete overhaul, and Michael Marin argues that students protesting against fee hikes in Quebec are fighting a funding model that has failed in another Canadian province. In the latest article from Paying the Professoriate, Ben Jongbloed writes that European universities must balance good pay with benefits or they will struggle to attract and retain the best academics.
Karen MacGregor – Global Editor
Gilbert Nganga
Kenya plans to raise state funding of universities by 36% from July, in a push to boost access to higher education and to implement several key initiatives meant to grow the sector.
Karen MacGregor
Germany and South Africa’s research ministers launched a Year of Science 2012-13 in Cape Town last Monday, aimed at strengthening higher education and science collaboration between the two countries and kicking off 41 joint research projects.
David Dickson
Canada's International Development Research Centre has announced that it is closing two of its six regional offices – including one in Africa – and terminating support for its Innovation for Inclusive Development programme, as it seeks to absorb an 11% cut in its annual budget.
Wagdy Sawahel
Egypt is to launch an e-library on university freedoms aimed at promoting and supporting academic freedom, improving awareness of the concept and shedding light on legal and social aspects of human rights.
Jane Marshall
The biggest problem with vocational education in Tunisia was finding jobs for its graduates, and the government was going to try yet again to modernise the system to fit the needs of the economy, reported La Presse of Tunis. Meanwhile, a competitive initiative aiming to instil entrepreneurial skills in young people took place in Tunis this month.
Ishmael Tongai
Stellenbosch University in South Africa has raised R2 billion (US$256 million) since launching a fundraising campaign 20 months ago aimed at boosting research and driving the ‘science-for-society’ approach of its Hope Project.
Kudzai Mashininga
The University of Zimbabwe has mounted a major fundraising campaign aimed at restoring its status as one of Africa’s premier higher education institutions, in a programme backed by former South African president Thabo Mbeki.

The stage was set for the emergence of hominids – the ancestors of humans and great apes – in Africa’s Great Rift Valley 14 million years earlier than previously thought, according to an international team of geologists, ecologists and palaeontologists. The finding follows radiometric dating of volcanic ash beds in East Africa.
Piyushi Kotecha and Mohammod Irfan
Without long-term planning and aggressive policy interventions, the tertiary education participation rate in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is unlikely to keep up with demand from the region's 276-million strong population, let alone match the progress of regions such as East Asia and the Pacific or participation rates in the rest of the world.
Mamadou Mika Lom
Teachers at Senegal’s public universities have decided to resume classes while waiting for new President Macky Sall to settle into office and deal with urgent issues – but they are encountering problems doing their jobs because of disruption by school-leavers who have yet to sign up for courses.
Esther Nakkazi
At the beginning of this year, Denis Tumwesigye Kyetere moved from Uganda to Kenya to take over as executive director of the African Agricultural Technology Foundation. He is one of many Ugandan academics who have moved abroad in search of better remuneration.
Adeagbo Oluwafemi
High numbers of postgraduate and international students in a university are major requirements for successful evaluation and ranking. African universities are now preaching ‘internationalisation’ and collaboration with foreign institutions through various programmes, for both research purposes and international recognition.
Moses Magadza
University of Namibia-based geneticist Dr Percy Chimwamurombe has been awarded the prestigious Georg Forster Fellowship for Experienced Researchers, placing him among the best scientists from developing and transition countries.

Closed since April 2011 because of a post-election crisis in Côte d’Ivoire, student residences in Port-Bouët in the economic capital Abidjan are in varying stages of neglect and dilapidation, reported, which presented an inventory of the five sites.

Students from the University of Omar Bongo in Gabon’s capital Libreville have been protesting for more than a month against the imposition of an age limit for student eligibility for scholarships. Nearly 2,000 over-age students have been disqualified from receiving funds.
NEWS: Our correspondents worldwide report
Yojana Sharma
A roadmap for South East Asian nations to introduce sustainability education into universities by 2015 is being finalised, with an outline for teaching and research across the region presented to top officials during a meeting in Bangkok earlier this month.
Honey Singh Virdee
Students in Malaysia will be allowed to join political parties and take part in other activities on campus after amendments to the controversial Universities and University Colleges Act were rushed through parliament last week.
Ria Nurdiani
A controversial new higher education law has been shelved until at least August after its tabling in Indonesia’s parliament, expected in March, was postponed several times in recent weeks following widespread opposition.
María Elena Hurtado
An Ecuador quality assurance body has suspended and will likely close 14 universities and polytechnics in an attempt by the government to implement a new higher education policy and raise standards in institutions – particularly those derisively known as ‘garage schools’.
Carmen Paun
The European Commission’s higher education head has defended the European Union’s planned U-Multirank university rankings system against its critics.
Jan Petter Myklebust
A professor of political science at Copenhagen University has been charged with 'soft espionage' for allegedly giving information to Russian secret police on ”persons attached to the Centre for Military Studies” at the university. He denies espionage.
Michael Gardner
Another prominent political figure in Germany has been accused of plagiarism after a probe by web-based investigators. Margarita Mathiopolous, recently a policy consultant for Foreign Secretary Guido Westerwelle, now has to resign her doctoral title.
David Jobbins
Universities in the three devolved countries of the United Kingdom face an uncertain future in the wake of the government’s decision to switch the financial burden from the state to students in the form of higher fees, according to a report from the Higher Education Policy Institute.
Yojana Sharma
Concern that world-class professors would be deterred by the ongoing freedoms controversy over Yale University’s tie-up with the National University of Singapore to create a liberal arts college in Singapore, have proved unfounded, according to the local university. It said recruitment was forging ahead.
Hans de Wit
There are numerous big international education conferences and their numbers of participants are growing. However, few are regional and there is not enough cooperation between them. International education associations need to internationalise more by strengthening regional representation and coming together every few year to debate global issues.
Jean-Marie Boisson
France's higher education system has evolved in a unique way and this has led to a plethora of small institutions that are poorly organised and inefficient. The current reforms to the system will merely concentrate more power in the hands of these institutions’ presidents. The system needs a complete overhaul, with universities in major locations encouraged or forced to merge.
Michael Marin
Student protestors against tuition fee hikes in Quebec are fighting against a funding model that has failed in Ontario. There is little evidence in Canada to support arguments in favour of shifting the burden of paying for higher education from the state to individuals.
Ben Jongbloed
Without a committed and adequately compensated professoriate, European universities will find it hard to attract and retain the best staff. They need to balance a good pay package with benefits in kind, such as good facilities and opportunities for career progression.
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China and the European Union last week took their cooperation to a new level with the launch of a ‘people-to-people’ dialogue covering education, culture, youth, research and multilingualism, reports China Daily.
By 2020, 2.6 million new jobs will require an advanced degree, according to a report released last week by the Council of Graduate Schools and the Educational Testing Service in the US. And graduate schools need to do a better job of preparing students for a range of careers and tracking where they work, writes Stacey Patton for The Chronicle of Higher Education.
His academic record was spotty, but as he applied for graduate studies in the United States Bo Guagua would have looked like quite a catch to many universities, according to researchers who study college admissions, writes Stephanie Simon for Reuters.
Perturbed over key higher education reform bills being stuck in parliament for more than two years, India’s Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal last week accused private education institutions of stalling the passage of legislation that seeks to raise quality, reports The Times of India.
The controversy over the face veil, which emerged following the fall of former Tunisian president Zein al-Abidine Ben Ali’s secular regime, has resurfaced at the University of Manouba, with lectures coming to a halt following disputes over the issue, reports Al Arabiya.
As the internationalisation of higher education creates fiercer competition for students and research funding, universities are looking to streamline, putting mergers on the agenda in many countries. But when academics have to commute 140 kilometres on motorways in an Arctic winter, the move towards more mergers can polarise opinion, writes Ed Dutton for Times Higher Education.
Figures show that leading Russell Group universities spent £382 million (US$613 million) on the highest paid academics and managers last year – twice as much as in 2003-04. It also emerged that the proportion of university spending on top staff – those paid at least £100,000 a year – increased from just 1.8% to 3.8%, writes Graeme Paton for The Telegraph.
Many more university places than expected are going to be allocated to top-grade A-level applicants this year. Universities Minister David Willetts said 85,000 places – rather than the anticipated 65,000 – would go to students with AAB A-level grades, writes Sean Coughlan for BBC News.
The revelation that a University of Canberra academic passed two international journalism students after their tutor failed them has sparked renewed calls for external reviewers to spot-check university courses, writes Julie Hare for The Australian.
An interactive, online learning system created by two Stanford University computer scientists plans to announce that it has secured $16 million in venture capital and partnerships with five major universities, writes John Markoff for The New York Times.
Universities in the conservative Muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been ordered to ban students sporting emo clothing and hairstyles, after an official investigation concluded that this subculture is “improper and deviant”, reported Al Sharq. The newspaper added that female students dressed in boyish styles were to be barred too.
The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Higher Education has told colleges to enrol female students in political science departments, reports Al Arabiya. Dr Sarhan al-Otaibi, a professor of political science at King Saud University in Riyadh, told Asharq newspaper that the university would be the first to open its doors to female students of political science beginning next year.
The thirst for education is huge in Afghanistan. But rebuilding the educational system is not a political priority, writes Sandra Petersmann for Deutsche Welle. Some 150,000 high-school graduates took part in the most recent university entrance exams, but only 40,000 were accepted – a circumstance that generated a lot of anger and disappointment.
Mauritius is set to sign a memorandum of understanding with Kenya and Tanzania in a bid to grow the visibility of Mauritius as a destination for higher education, writes Linley Bignoux for Africa Review.
South Africa is not doing enough to “grow its own timber” and support local black doctoral and postdoctoral students, according to parliamentary higher education and training portfolio committee chairman Ishmael Malale, writes Bekezela Phakathi for Business Day.
A deal between Canadian universities and copyright holders over the distribution of articles and course readings is being criticised as one-sided, writes Peter Henderson for Postmedia News.
Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission has received a case of plagiarism in which a student at Karachi University has alleged that her teacher stole her thesis and got it published under her name to receive financial benefits, writes Ikram Junaidi for
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