Africa News
Egypt has launched its second earth observation satellite, the MisrSat-2, also known as EgyptSat-2, to study the growing impact of climate change on the environment, which, in turn, serves the country’s efforts to work towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Following the arrest of a student whose baby was found dead in a dustbin, allegedly after an abortion, university staff of the University of Rwanda’s college of arts and social sciences have been trying to restore calm on the campus. Abortion is illegal in Rwanda.
A second group of Sudanese students have arrived in Rwanda to continue their studies. The group of 108 students from the Khartoum-based University of Medical Sciences and Technology will continue their studies at the University of Rwanda’s college of medicine and health sciences.
University students from three different public universities who have recently been appointed by President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria to serve on the Presidential Committee on Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms will be able to contribute to the committee’s work until March 2024.
Just as many adult workers struggle to balance family and work roles, potentially leading to inter-role conflict, adult students are likely to experience conflicting demands of academic and family roles, Uju Nnubia, a lecturer at the University of Nigeria, has found in a new study.
The Kresge Foundation will be funding a third phase of its impactful Siyaphumelela student success network at South African universities from 2024, aiming to extend the initiative to up to 20 of the country’s 26 public universities. Grants totalling between US$146,000 and US$217,000 over three years will be awarded.
Adequate investment in human and infrastructural resources to tackle the health impact of the climate crisis in Africa has been at the centre of multiple demands by academic experts at the climate change conference, or COP28, taking place in Dubai until 12 December.
Egypt will be the host of the African Centre of Excellence on Climate Change Resilience and Adaptation, which will aim to enhance climate-related education and scientific research capacity in support of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and the corresponding goals of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
The development of a green workforce in Tunisia, one of the countries most exposed to climate change in the Mediterranean region, is a pressing priority to reduce the impact of climate change on people and businesses. The tertiary and private sector have to join forces, states a new report.
The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP28, at Expo City in Dubai is attracting students, scientists and academics, especially from Africa, to a Greening Education Hub as a platform for educating first-time COP attendees. It is helping to empower the youth, in particular, during their stay.
South African universities received a significant year-on-year increase in philanthropic funding totalling ZAR2.31 billion (US$122 million) – and the bulk of the funds went to traditional universities, the Annual Survey of Philanthropy in Higher Education has revealed.
The Algerian Red Crescent, or CRA, will provide humanitarian aid to Palestinian students who are resident in Algeria, under an agreement with the ministry of higher education and scientific research. With other partners, the CRA is collecting essential items such as medicine and food to send to Gaza.
Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court has decided that graduates from the country’s open education system, which focuses on professional qualifications, must be treated equally to graduates from traditional universities who obtain academic bachelor degrees.
Up to 40% of students who participated in a global survey say they have used generative artificial intelligence in their studies – a practice that appears to be more popular in Kenya than any other of the 15 countries included in the report by the research arm of the edtech company Chegg.
The West African nation of Mauritania plans to establish its first university that will specialise in science education, including electrical, mechanical and civil engineering. It aims to supply the labour market with the academic, technical and professional competencies necessary for achieving sustainable development.
The Pan African University is facing a myriad of challenges, and its rector has implored Africa’s business sector and other regional partners to assist the institution, which was established in 2011 as part of the African Union’s Plan of Action for the Second Decade of Education in Africa.
The leader of the General Syndicate of University Teaching Staff Members, who disappeared from the union’s headquarters on the campus of the University of Tripoli, Libya, on 16 November, has been released by the Tripoli-based Internal Security Agency, tasked with protecting state interests.
Low public and private investment levels in research and development remain a trend in most African countries. Still, this bleak narrative contrasts with knowledge production patterns by African nations as bibliometric studies of articles authored or co-authored by scientists and scholars over the past two decades show healthy annual growth.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has urged African countries to make the right to higher education a reality on the continent by reducing the cost of studying, expanding access, providing quality education, and erasing gender inequalities.
African universities need to invest in technical capacity for artificial intelligence if they are to avoid the risk of ‘data colonialism’– whereby they are reduced to being mere consumers of data they do not own or control. Attention should also be given to ethics.
Six universities in Africa are continuing an African Mental Health Research Initiative to strengthen a network of researchers whose scientific work focuses on mental, neurological and substance use disorders. The initiative, in its second phase, is a programme of the Science for Africa Foundation.
Some of Zimbabwe’s institutions of higher learning are experiencing a cholera outbreak sweeping across the country, with some students now being told to bring water from home as education authorities fail to supply the commodity. Health authorities have ordered the closure of a teachers college.
Young scientists, researchers and civil society activists from across Africa who gathered at the inaugural Youth Forum on Adaptation Finance in Africa have called on leaders from around the globe to urgently scale up adaptation finance and include young people in actions to fight climate change.
Hundreds of students at the University of Buea, Cameroon, are outraged after the implementation of an age restriction as part of the selection criteria for the presidential scholarship worth FCFA50.000 (about US$83) per beneficiary. Students from across the country are affected, but those at this institution have been hit particularly hard.
Students from the University of Rwanda are in a dilemma after the university halted the distribution of laptops meant to contribute to smooth learning and boost the quality of academics. This is apparently because some students have deviated from their agreements with the university and have been reselling the devices.
The alleged kidnapping of a union leader from the labour organisation’s headquarters located on the campus of the University of Tripoli, Libya, on 16 November has sparked outrage in the academic community and from human rights organisations. The incident comes amid an ongoing faculty protest.
Outrage about the situation in Gaza is growing in academic circles in South Africa, judging by the proliferation of critical pronouncements about the crisis. A prominent recent initiative came in the form of an open letter that has drawn the support of researchers, lecturers, administrators and students.
An estimated 4,000 students from Kano State who are studying at the Federal University Dutse are unable to pay their tuition fees after a 200% increment earlier this year. They may miss their second semester examinations, which will start soon, and fear they may ultimately be forced to drop out.
The winners of this year’s L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Young Talents Sub-Saharan Africa Awards included 25 PhD candidates and five post-doctoral researchers, who are spread across multiple fields of research to tackle major challenges to improve the quality of life in Africa and worldwide.
Only a third of scientists in Africa are women – and, while gender equality in African research is gradually progressing, women scientists in most countries continue to describe their careers as an ‘obstacle course’. South Africa and countries in the Maghreb were making progress, a UNESCO report stated.
Botswana’s development towards becoming a high-income and industrialised economy by 2036 will need to be harnessed with high-quality research and development, technology and innovation. The country’s higher education institutions have a major role in this, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
French universities that are recruiting students in Africa will accept them based purely on merit, irrespective of the region they come from or the international language they speak. This is a shift from previous recruitment practices when French institutions preferred students from francophone Africa.
Djibouti has launched its first satellite, Djibouti-1A, to track environmental change across the country which, in turn, could also help to advance climate research and support evidence-based policy-making in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals related to climate change. Climate change is affecting the country on several fronts.
Professors at Libyan universities, higher technical institutes and research centres have adopted several stimulus measures for strengthening the role of higher education institutions in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the corresponding targets of Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, of the African Union.
A compulsory assessment for first-year students at the University of Calabar in Nigeria’s south had to be suspended until further notice following a stampede at the examination centre that left at least 22 students injured. Florence Obi, the vice-chancellor, said more security staff would be deployed in future.
The high study permit refusal rate for African students seeking to study in Canada can be blamed on increases in the volume of applications as a result of a recruitment model that invites mass applications and, in Africa, often relies on inexperienced downstream recruitment agents, an expert in the field has said.
The hopes of thousands of polytechnic graduates to convert their Higher National Diplomas to degrees have been dashed following a recent pronouncement by the National Universities Commission that such an upgrade would be unconstitutional. The National Universities Commission is Nigeria’s regulatory body for universities.
Stronger collaboration between stakeholders in the agriculture value chain to improve food production as well as fight against hunger and climate change in Africa is critical. This has been resolved at the 19th annual general meeting of the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture.
Lack of support for new faculty members, usually PhD holders who lack teaching qualifications and experience, has been cited as one of the factors hampering quality education in institutions of higher education in Africa. One intervention, proposed in a new book, is that of ‘faculty champions’.
Although South Africa is third among the top 10 productive countries regarding artificial intelligence for healthcare research in Africa after the United Kingdom and the United States, it has only one university – the University of Cape Town – among the top 10 institutions in the world.
Africa’s Green Revolution “has let us down”, not because agriculture on the continent is delivering insufficient quantities of food, but because, overall, the food that is being produced is not diverse and nutritious enough, a leading expert told a recent gathering at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.
The work of the Ghana Education Trust Fund needs to be reviewed, with more emphasis on its financial support to universities to finance infrastructure projects to cope with high enrolment numbers, said Abednego Feehi Okoe Amartey, the vice-chancellor of the University of Professional Studies in Accra.
Tunisia is to establish an agency to support international students during their entire period of study. It will contribute to making the country a preferred destination for French-speaking students from across the African continent, the ministry of higher education and scientific research has announced.
Countries in Africa struggle to reach their full potential in a fast-developing fashion industry due to limited educational and training systems, a persistent lack of investment and infrastructure in the sector, and insufficient intellectual property protection.
The reopening of Senegal’s leading university, Cheikh Anta Diop, or UCAD, in Dakar, which was expected in November, has been postponed until January 2024, leading to student protests, a strike call by a teachers’ and researchers’ union, and an urgent call for dialogue from a leading pro-democracy, anti-corruption association.
In Africa, attacks on academics and students as well as the destruction of university facilities occurred in Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda and Zimbabwe, according to the Scholars at Risk report, Free to Think: 2023.
Postgraduate medical students in Rwanda stand to benefit from the new Africa-based L’Institut de Recherche Contre les Cancers de l’Appareil Digestif, or IRCAD, that will provide advanced training in minimally invasive surgery for professionals from across the continent. It is the outcome of a US$32 million investment.
Mauritania has launched an academic diaspora platform to enable academics who work abroad to support the implementation of national strategies for higher education and scientific research. The platform is part of the government’s implementation of its research, innovation and higher education strategies.
Two African higher education networks have formed a partnership to enhance scientific and scholarly communication on the continent, providing researchers with access to agricultural scientific data free of charge. According to a survey, few researchers use commercial databases, which underscores the need for such a service.
A total of 112 universities in 17 African countries have been ranked in the 20th edition of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings by subject 2024. Across 11 subject areas, the best-ranked institution in Africa is the University of Pretoria for the field of law.
The Ghana Tertiary Education Commission has suspended the accreditation of new academic programmes for public universities to get them to put in place measures to reaccredit existing programmes, John Dadzie-Mensah, deputy executive secretary at the National Accreditation Board, said. Existing programmes can continue in the meantime.
Nigerian students were looking forward to the introduction of the government’s new loan scheme in September, but, on 23 October, President Bola Tinubu announced that the implementation date had been moved to January 2024. Will this become an unkept promise, many students are asking.
As the fighting in Sudan enters its seventh month, the Association of African Universities or AAU has called upon the warring parties to find a peaceful solution to the conflict and has urged the global scientific community to support Sudan’s academic community who have been displaced in the conflict.
African universities scored poorly on all metrics of student satisfaction in the 2023 Global Student Satisfaction Awards save for online classroom experience, where South African institutions scored higher than the global average. The awards are based on data from students in 126 countries, including South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt.
The Southern African Development Community and the Alliance for African Partnership are set to deepen their collaboration to promote the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, to support universities’ incubation hubs and mobilise donor funds to roll out programmes at institutions of higher learning in the region.
Rectors of universities in North Africa and higher education institution members of the Francophone University Association (Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie) have agreed to enhance partnerships to use scientific diplomacy to advance the economic, social and cultural development of these countries and the region.
Academic unions in Nigeria have faulted President Bola Tinubu’s directive to pay lecturers half of the salaries that the government withheld during an Academic Staff Union of Universities strike of eight months last year – on condition that it will not grant a similar waiver to unions in the future.
Support from higher education institutions in refugee host countries has helped to increase the global enrolment of refugees in higher education – from 1% in 2019 to 7% in 2023, which is nearly halfway to the United Nations target of at least 15% enrolment by 2030.
There is a need to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education institutions across Africa to create a sense of belonging for every student and to advance transformation. Students’ voices should also be heard, according to speakers at a public dialogue hosted by the Alliance for African Partnership.
South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande, has been briefed on the findings of a damning report, which may result in the axing of the head of Africa’s largest student funding scheme, disciplinary action against implicated staff and the termination of contracts with four service providers.
The recent introduction of several new Bachelor of Technology qualifications by Rwanda Polytechnic, a public technical higher education institution, has given diploma holders the opportunity to upskill, but working adults have raised concerns about the accessibility of the programmes.
Academics and students at the University Cheikh Anta Diop or UCAD, Senegal’s leading university, are demanding its reopening, after it and other universities were closed in June because of violent demonstrations over the imprisonment of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko in which nine people were killed.
The Sudan Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research met with university leaders on 15 October to explain challenges related to the resumption of academic activities in the sector – amid resistance to an earlier ministerial decision to reopen all public and private institutions.
Universities in Cameroon and in Africa, in general, have been enjoined to lead in the global action to fight climate change. Considered vital hubs of research and teaching, their role in driving solutions to climate change on the continent is key, academics say.
A potential jump in the number of universities in Nigeria has been applauded by several academics, but they cautioned that standards must not be compromised as the National Universities Commission considers licence applications from 270 new private higher education institutions.
A guard at a student residence of the Higher Institute for Technological Studies in Qasr Hilal, Tunisia, has been charged with wrongful murder due to negligence of a female student who could not receive timely medical attention because the guard locked the building and left.
Nigerian lecturers are disturbed over a recent move to install closed-circuit television cameras in offices in a bid to fight intimidation and sexual harassment on campus. Many claim it is an invasion of their privacy, and some question whether it will do much good.
The African higher education system is in urgent need of diversification and differentiation if it is to meet the human resource needs and generate the knowledge necessary to create employment for millions of youth, said Professor Goolam Mohamedbhai, former secretary-general of the Association of African Universities.