SENEGAL: Minister promises university increased funds

Moustapha Sourang, the new Minister for Higher Education, visited the University of Ziguinchor this month with promises of substantially increased funding - but found himself greeted by the boos of protesting students, according to several sources. Meanwhile, three of Dakar's higher education institutions have signed an agreement to harmonise research and develop teacher exchanges.

Sourang, who took over the restructured ministry for secondary and higher education in June (see "One education ministry becomes three", University World News, 22 June 2008), had come to announce good news - a doubling of the university's budget from 500 million Fcfa (US$1.2) to one billion Fcfa, and investment of two billion Fcfa for infrastructure to ensure future strength of the establishment, which opened two years ago.

However, the minister's visit was disrupted by a crowd of protesting students who had been on strike for several weeks, notably over lack of housing.

As it happened, Sourang's schedule included inspecting new student accommodation blocks which will open in October. He also laid the foundation stones for two new student residences as well as a future library which will provide 1,000 places rather than 500 as originally planned. A new distance learning centre will also be installed in the university.

* In Dakar, UCAD (University Cheikh Anta Diop), has signed a partnership agreement with two private establishments, the Institut Africain de Management and the University Amadou Hampathé Bâ, to harmonise their scientific research and develop exchange opportunities between their teachers, reported Wal Fadjri in Dakar. The paper said the three institutions had taken the step "convinced of the importance invested in certified education which allows students to achieve international professional standards".