PAU appeals for patience as applications flood in

The Pan African University (PAU) has appealed to applicants for patience after it received over 13,000 applications for its 400 places in its various thematic institutes located in Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon and Algeria for the upcoming academic year of 2018-19. The total of 13,048 applications is the highest number since the institution became operational in 2012.

Applications have been received from across the continent from 53 African countries, prompting the institution to issue a statement last month calling for patience during the processing of the applications.

It said that it would only be contacting successful applicants, noting that there has been a “steep” increase in demand for PAU programmes in response to a call issued earlier this year.

“Following the closing date of applications, the commission has been receiving many messages from sons and daughters of Africa wishing to be informed on the status of the selection process,” it said.

“Through this announcement, we would like to underscore that the process is underway and only successful candidates will be notified individually.”

The applicant figure is more than double the 5,403 candidates who applied to enrol in the 2017-18 academic year, PAU’s acting rector Professor Belay Kassa told University World News.

He attributed the rise in applicants to the fact that education at PAU is covered by scholarships for all who qualify at both masters and doctoral levels, and to the “success stories of the university’s alumni”.

He added that in some of the branches of the university, lectures are disseminated in both English and French, making the programmes more widely accessible.

“It is important to emphasise that PAU alumni are doing very well in the field; there are quite a lot of success stories from the alumni which is encouraging more young people to apply for the PAU scholarships,” he said.

“For the last five years, PAU institutes have really constituted the bedrock for an African pool of higher education and research [graduates]; a new generation of leaders is being trained to take the best advantage of African human and material resources, imbued with a common vision of a peaceful, prosperous and integrated Africa,” Kassa said.

PAU student admissions are conducted on a competitive basis. Applications are processed by individual institutes which establish panels of local, regional and international experts to select students, after which institute boards submit the final list to the rectorate and the senate which then make recommendations on admissions to the council, said Kassa.

As a rule, students are selected from all African countries with no more than 20% coming from the host country. Gender and disability are important considerations.

The institutes include the Institute of Water and Energy Sciences at the University of Tlemcen, Algeria; the Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya; the Institute for Life and Earth Sciences, including health and agriculture, hosted by the University of Ibadan, Nigeria; and the Institute of Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Yaoundé II in Cameroon. The Institute of Space Sciences will be hosted by Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa.

The African Union Commission pays tuition fees directly to relevant PAU institutes, with students receiving a stipend to cover living expenses.

While they are awarded joint degrees of PAU and the host university, they sign a scholarship agreement with the AU Commission obliging them to work in Africa upon the completion of their studies.

The PAU so far offers studies in 57 disciplines, including 29 masters and 16 PhD programmes.