Africa Briefs
The Cameroon-Congo Interstate University has opened in Sangmélima, Cameroon, with 300 students from the two countries, with a second faculty due to follow in Congo-Brazzaville.
For her degree, Madagascan third-year social sciences student Hermione Ursula investigated the taboo issue of prostitution in universities, a practice known about for decades but which remains hidden.
Mamoudou Barry, a Guinean academic who had just obtained his PhD in France, has been murdered in an apparently racist attack.
The Campus Franco-Sénégalais, which will enable Senegalese students to study for French degrees at Senegalese universities, was officially launched in Dakar last Tuesday by Frédérique Vidal, French minister for higher education, research and innovation, and her Senegalese counterpart Cheikh Oumar Anne.
A student representative from the University of Labé in Guinea has demanded the dismissal of the vice-chancellor following the death of a student during clashes with security forces.
Algeria's Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security Tidjani Hassan Haddam has announced he will introduce a new education strategy for the École Supérieure de la Sécurité Sociale to prepare for reform and modernisation of the country’s social security system.
Nearly 10,000 laptop computers have been donated to students at the private Siantou University Institute in Yaoundé, under a controversial scheme promised by President Paul Biya in 2016 to supply 500,000 Chinese laptops to students.
Two Mauritian universities have been selected to offer youth development degrees as part of the Commonwealth Higher Education Consortium for Youth Work programme.
An academy to train future leaders and decision-makers and prepare them for the socio-economic development of the Republic of the Congo has been set up in Brazzaville.
A former education minister is among critics who have accused the education ministry in Mauritius of discrimination for refusing a grant to Jane Constance, a blind singer and UNESCO Artist for Peace, to study in the United Kingdom.
An official at Senegal’s higher education ministry has called on African states to form a united front to negotiate with France against a steep fee increase for students from countries outside the European Union.
A row has erupted between union and non-union teaching staff at the journalism school of Cheikh Anta Diop University in Senegal, with unionists allegedly accusing the temporary and part-time lecturers – vacataires – of strike-breaking.
France’s University of Paris-Saclay has entered into partnerships with three Cameroonian higher education institutions: the University of Douala, the advanced technology and management institute ISTAMA and the University of Yaoundé II.
The Angolan Minister of State Frederico Cardoso has called on universities to invest in scientific research for sustainable development and new technologies.
Madagascar's ministry of higher education is to focus closely on trying to find solutions to student grievances at the École Supérieure Polytechnique d’Antananarivo in Vontovorona, which have led to strikes, violent demonstrations and the arrest of four students.
A higher education teachers’ union has urgently demanded 100 new posts for lecturers and 50 for administrative staff at the faculty of arts and humanities at Senegal’s leading university, Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar.
After two days of violence at the National Pedagogical University in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Higher Education and University Minister Steve Mbikayi ordered the suspension of its board of management and announced an inquiry into accusations of mismanagement.
As a lecturers’ and researchers’ union at the University of Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, called a strike, the national human rights council organised a meeting with students asking them to recommend ways to “improve the socio-academic environment” in an attempt to stop strikes and other disruptions at universities.
More than 120,000 students have been unable to sit their examinations because of a strike by university lecturers in Tunisia.
A bureau for the Skills Initiative for Africa, an African Union initiative to provide vocational training and improve employment prospects for young people, women and vulnerable groups, was launched last week at the University of Yaoundé in Cameroon.
Gaston Berger University of Saint-Louis is holding an inquiry to try to calm the atmosphere at the university, which has been troubled since last year, notably following the death in May of a student, Mouhamadou Fallou Sène, who was shot by police during student protests.
Increasing numbers of students in Côte d’Ivoire are complaining that private higher education institutions to which they have been assigned are charging excessive fees, in contravention of a government order.
While there has been a general public welcome to the New Year’s Day announcement by Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth that public higher education would be made free, critics have deplored reckless populism, and expressed fears of economic problems and a drop in standards.
Youma Fall, a director at the International Organisation of Francophone Countries, is among critics protesting against the closure of a masters course in cinematography at Gaston Berger University in Senegal because of funding problems.
Petitions in France launched by African students’ associations have gathered more than 160,000 signatures against the French government’s plan to substantially raise university fees for foreign students from outside the European Union.
University teachers in Congo-Brazzaville have been on strike since September, claiming six months’ backpay which the government says it cannot pay because of the country’s economic crisis.
The Algerian authorities have stopped funding and closed 72 scientific research laboratories in 2018, following “negative assessments” of their activities.
Several prestigious French grandes écoles have set up branches in Morocco to help stem the brain drain of young Moroccans who leave to study in Europe.
Bertrand Mbatchi, secretary-general of Le Conseil Africain et Malgache pour l’Enseignement Supérieur – the francophone African 19-country higher education council – visited Brazzaville for talks with Minister of Higher Education Bruno Jean-Richard Itoua ahead of November’s conference on quality assurance and equivalence of degrees, which will be hosted by the Republic of the Congo.
Senegal's Higher Education Minister Mary Teuw Niane has tried to reassure institutions that the government will pay the more than 16 billion francs it owes them, after they threatened to cancel the courses of thousands of students that the state has been contracted to fund.
As the University of Lomé prepared to host the international science conference JSIL-2018 (Journées Scientifiques Internationales de Lomé 2018) in the coming week, its director of research and innovation, Essohana Batchana, said he regretted the lack of resources allocated to research and innovation and their absence from university programmes.
As Cameroon carries out a programme to develop advanced digital infrastructure in all its universities, Jacques Fame Ndongo, the minister for higher education, visited the two universities in Yaoundé to inspect the project’s progress.
The training and qualifications of nurses, midwives and laboratory technicians will now take place in the higher education sector, following an agreement signed between the ministries responsible for health and vocational education.
As 1.7 million students prepare to start the new university year, Higher Education Minister Tahar Hadjar announced improvements that have been made to students’ services and living conditions.
A students’ association in Togo has condemned authorities’ 'ill will’ and 'lack of care’ which it says has resulted in failure to pay students their due grants and benefits.
A human rights non-governmental organisation has criticised the dean of the University of Kinshasa’s social sciences faculty for supporting a candidate in the country’s presidential election in the name of the university, in violation of its apolitical status.
Minister for Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation Maria do Rosário Sambo has said Angola should strengthen its teaching of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and all sciences contributing to technological knowledge, throughout the education system.
Madagascar's Higher Education and Scientific Research Minister Marie Monique Rasoazananera has expressed her determination to evict those individuals who have no right to live in official student accommodation and who are causing serious overcrowding.
After a long campaign, higher education and research unions have concluded an agreement with the government of Senegal to secure a ‘decent’ retirement pension for their members which will entail academics working an extra hour a week.
The Moroccan and Tunisian authorities in charge of higher education and research have signed an agreement to encourage the establishment of a university network and greater student mobility.
The École Supérieure de la Sécurité Sociale, which specialises in higher education and training for professions dealing with social welfare, will introduce some courses in English so Anglophone countries will be able to recruit its graduates.
The Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie and the Orange Foundation DRC have launched the Democratic Republic of the Congo's first digital production laboratory.
Six universities in five countries have launched REFORM, a five-year partnership for international higher education and research harmonisation and postgraduate student mobility in the field of fragile ecosystems.
Maria do Rosário Bragança Sambo, Angola's higher education and science minister, has denounced officials’ fraudulent malpractice in student university entrance processes.
Halfway through the procedure introducing the Bologna Process of European higher education, known in French as LMD, Steve Mbikayi, the minister for higher education in the DRC, is concerned about delays and has instructed university heads to carry out an evaluation of progress so far.
Sciences Po, France’s prestigious Paris Institute of Political Studies, will open its first African office in Nairobi, Kenya, as part of its internationalisation strategy, choosing an English-language over a francophone country.
The Casablanca campus of École d’Ingénieurs en Génie des Systèmes Industriels has become the first French engineering school accredited to award joint French-Moroccan engineering degrees to its students.
Algeria is reforming the first-year programme of medical studies to achieve a “quality education”, with greater coordination between the health and research ministries, Tahar Hadjar, the minister for higher education and scientific research, has announced.
A higher education framework agreement aimed at helping Guinea to adapt and improve its higher education systems along Senegalese lines is to be signed by the two countries.
The International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE) in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, is among 22 Africa Centres of Excellence which have made “remarkable” efforts towards addressing regional developmental challenges and promoting applied research, according to the Association of African Universities.
Senegal’s Université Alioune Diop de Bambey will accommodate a regional agriculture centre to revitalise the country’s agricultural potential, with support from a USAID research programme.
Tunisia is undergoing a severe brain drain partly as a result of budget cuts to the higher education and research sectors, according to Zied Ben Amor, coordinator of the Union of Tunisian University Professors and Researchers.
Private higher education institutions in Togo, each of which currently awards its own qualifications, will in future have to teach the same curriculum and hold the same examinations under the control of the higher education ministry.
The leader of the employees’ union of the University of Technology, Mauritius has written to the prime minister demanding the dismissal of the university’s director whom he accuses of causing long-term damage to the institution.
Côte d’Ivoire and Switzerland have entered into an agreement covering vocational and professionally oriented education, to raise the quality of training in Côte d’Ivoire and improve employment prospects for the country’s students.
The African Union, with funding from the European Union, has launched the 2018 open call for proposals for the second phase of its research grants, part of the two phases funded under the EU's Pan-African Programme, valued at €17.5 million (US$21 million).
The Pan African University, a postgraduate training and research network of university nodes supported by the African Union, has issued a call for applications to its masters and doctoral programmes, offered across its four institutes on the continent.
Students who have completed their first degree but have not been selected to continue for a masters course have gone on strike in the faculty of arts and human sciences of the country’s leading university, Université Cheikh Anta Diop.
A growing number of French grandes écoles and business schools are opening campuses in Africa, as the number of students on the continent is forecast to increase by 22 million by 2030, from eight million at present.
The African Centre of Excellence (ACE) in Phytochemicals, Textile and Renewable Energy, hosted by Moi University in Kenya, is seeking applications for scholarships to its masters and doctoral programmes.
The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa has published two calls for doctoral and masters scholarships in biostatistics offered under the auspices of the Sub-Saharan Africa Consortium for Advanced Biostatistics, a consortium of 20 institutions in Africa and the United Kingdom.
Female faculty members in any field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from 17 African countries can participate in the 2018 Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research programme, a mentorship initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development and administered by America’s National Academy of Sciences.
The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA), a partnership made up of 16 universities with the objective of promoting research excellence on the continent, is seeking to recruit post-doctoral fellows to undertake research in emerging trends on mobility and urbanisation in Africa.
The third cohort of the African Academy of Sciences Affiliates Programme has been announced, comprising 25 scientists from 13 African countries.
The African Union has issued a call for 2018 applications to its Mwalimu Nyerere Scholarship Scheme targeting women who are interested in pursuing graduate studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields in leading African universities.
As part of a Tunisian effort to increase the number of students from other African countries studying in its institutions, a major event is taking place on 12-13 February in Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire to recruit Ivorian students.
France and Senegal have signed three agreements supporting higher education and research during the visit to Dakar of the French delegation headed by President Emmanuel Macron for this month’s Global Partnership for Education conference.
The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture or RUFORUM, a network of 85 universities supporting capacity-building for agricultural training in Africa, has received a US$1.5 million grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York to support its post-doctoral fellowship programme on the continent.
The Pan African University is developing a strategic plan to help guide its activities over the next five years and identify key priorities, including resource mobilisation and how to offer relevant training.
REAMOOC, a network to develop innovative online university courses to improve higher education for students in Sub-Saharan Africa, has been launched by a 10-member European and African partnership.
Angola Cables will collaborate with the West and Central African Research and Education Network to expand bandwidth connectivity among West and Central African research and education member institutions.
The One Planet Fellowship – a US$15 million five-year philanthropic programme funded by the BNP Paribas Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and under the auspices of the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation – is to support 120 African researchers working to help the continent adapt to climate change and bolster the scientific community.
A scheme to encourage student entrepreneurship in Morocco and Tunisia has been launched, bringing together 14 partners in the two countries and Europe.
Members of the higher education union Syndicat Autonome de l’Enseignement Supérieur have suspended their teaching duties at the country’s leading university, Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar, after they failed to receive their salaries for December, adding to previous unpaid remuneration.
An agreement aiming to improve employment prospects for graduates has been signed between the faculty of economic sciences and management of Tunis University and CONECT, an organisation representing companies.
Minister for Higher Education and Research Mary Teuw Niane has called for reform of the baccalauréat to take account of the link between the school-leaving exam, university studies and the job market.
An awareness campaign against widespread corruption in universities, which includes bribery by students to get good results, false diplomas and sex to gain promotion, has been launched by CONAC, the national anti-corruption commission.
Students have reacted angrily at the raising of university fees to FCFA50,000 (US$90) as a harmonisation measure with other countries, as well as the withdrawal of student grants and lack of services.
Following reports on social media, alumni of Marien Ngouabi University have met student representatives to try to save the two academic years that have been affected by strikes by teaching and non-teaching staff.
Former prime minister Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon has inaugurated a new university specialising in advanced engineering and named after him, in his home town of Kindu.
The government is to launch a national solidarity grant, with priority for students from poorer families, as part of its programme to promote scientific and technological studies.
Universities should promote the recognition of indigenous languages to support the cultural identities of people in the regions, according to Professor Pedro Miguel.
The Virtual University of Senegal, which has catered for 14,000 students during its first three years, will have a student roll of more than 20,000 in the new academic year.
Academics are concerned over a proposal by an Islamic council to introduce Sharia university courses and other attempts to ‘fraternise’ Tunisian universities.
A new institute of health with capacity to train nearly 2,000 students in nursing and laboratory work has been inaugurated in Sumbe.
Higher Education and Universities Minister Steve Mbikayi is counting on connecting all the country’s universities and other institutions to each other through new technologies as a key part of his action plan to improve and modernise the higher education system.
University teaching staff at the University of Kinshasa have voted to continue a strike over pay as talks with government have failed. The move comes as academic staff in several other institutions in the country express unhappiness over non-payment of salaries.
A report commissioned by the higher education union, Syndicat Autonome de l’Enseignement Supérieur, has called for the raising of the age of retirement for university lecturers and recruitment drives as the higher education system struggles with higher student numbers and ageing lecturers.
The Ministry of Higher Education and Research has taken a step towards promoting educational quality, with approval this month by the Council of Ministers of the creation of the Malian Agency of Higher Education and Scientific Research Quality Assurance.
Tired of waiting for the end of the so-called ‘anglophone crisis’ which has paralysed schools, universities and law courts in two English-speaking provinces, heads of private higher education institutions, or HEIs, are planning to reopen in October in spite of a government order postponing the start of the new academic year.
Chaos due to widespread leaks has hit this year’s session of the baccalauréat, the end-of-school examination that gives those who pass it the right to higher education and is often regarded as the first university diploma.
Thousands of students have been hit by the total or partial closure since March of 10 private universities which failed to meet satisfactory standards of teaching.
Funding is not the only requirement for a good national research programme, according to a University of Mauritius academic.
The murder of university teacher Bachir Sarhane Karaoui has led to calls from academics for universities to be protected and for the government to restore stability.
Université du Troisième Âge – the University of the Third Age – of Mauritius was opened four years ago and today has about 500 students, all over 55 years old, studying more than 25 courses.
Students from Burkina Faso studying in Egypt took the opportunity to complain about their conditions to their president who was on a goodwill trip.
Students were last week planning a silent march, after police violently broke up a previous demonstration against university authorities’ refusal to meet students' demands for increased grants and permission to study in lecture halls outside course times, curtailment of Wi-Fi and bad living conditions, among other grievances.
As the end of the university year approaches, a controversial promise by President Paul Biya more than a year ago to give students 500,000 Chinese laptops has failed to materialise.
Some private universities have suspended their operations, complaining of government delays in payment of student grants and in signing contracts for teaching bachelor-equivalent courses.
The higher education ministry has introduced a new system of university work placements to increase the ‘professionalisation’ of higher education through a partnership with businesses to improve the provision of work experience in university courses.