WENR, May 2013: Africa

East African Universities Work to Harmonize Tuition Fees

Institutions of higher education across the East Africa Community are readying to harmonize tuition fees for students within the trade bloc.

Officials from 96 universities registered under the Inter-University Council of East Africa (IUCEA) will hold consultative talks to work towards an implementation policy for the initiative that the council has been campaigning for over the past two years.

However, according to IUCEA Executive Secretary Professor Mayunga Nkunya, the council has received resistance from some EAC member states who view the policy as a way of forcing governments to educate students from other countries at discounted tuition rates, as most within the bloc subsidize fees for local students.

Daily Monitor
April 2, 2013

African Union Developing Plans for a Continental Quality Assurance System

A group of experts on African higher education met in April under the umbrella of the African Union and agreed on plans to develop a system of quality assurance for higher education across the continent.

A statement released after the meeting, which took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said African nations should collaborate to create the African Quality Assurance and Accreditation Council for Higher Education and a quality assurance framework to help students transfer among African universities.

African Union
April 11, 2013

Ghana

University of Ghana to Phase Out Diploma Programs

The University of Ghana has announced that from 2015 it will no longer admit students to two-year diploma programs, as it seeks to refocus on research. Ministry of Education officials said the university’s decision was also intended to increase the attractiveness of polytechnic diploma programs, often considered second string to university programs in Ghana, according to a recent University World News article.

Currently, polytechnics struggle to meet student quotas for some of the programs they run because of negative perceptions and the preference for a university education. Polytechnic officials said that they foresee private universities introducing new diploma programs and emerging as competition to the polytechnic sector. In response, officials are looking at creating opportunities for polytechnic graduates to study for graduate and doctoral degrees as a means of improving their image.

University World News
March 30, 2013

Kenya

Recent Data Reveals Extent of Faculty Shortage

According to statistics released by the Commission for University Education in February, the number of professors working in Kenya’s seven public universities has risen by just 11 percent over the past three years while student numbers have soared by 56 percent, highlighting the challenge the country faces in meeting demand for higher studies.

The number of professors rose from 238 in 2010 to 265 by February of this year, while the total number of academic staff in the seven universities increased to 5,189 from around 4,800 three years ago, just 8 percent growth. During the same period, student numbers have grown from 140,000 to 218,832, which means that lecturer to student ratios are growing even larger. The lecturer to student ratio varies between universities. The University of Nairobi, with 57,162 students, has an academic staff of 1,610 – meaning the lecturer to student ratio is 1:36. Kenyatta University, the country’s biggest with 61,928 students, has 961 academics and so there are on average 65 students per lecturer. Moi has a ratio of 1:47, with its 34,477 students and 736 teaching staff, and at the other institutions the ratio ranges from 1:31 to 1:39.

Government officials said the staffing crisis in public universities was expected to worsen this year, with yet more students enrolling and the number of universities rising. Kenya has embarked on a plan to increase the number of public universities from the current seven to 22. Currently, demand for higher education far exceeds the supply of places, prompting increasing numbers of students to study abroad, especially in Uganda, the U.S., Malaysia and the UK. Kenya has increased funding for higher education by 30 percent for the financial year beginning in July.

University World News
March 30, 2013

New University Will be Named After President Obama

A new university is to be constructed in Kenya’s Siaya County, and according to a plan proposed by a U.S.-based Kenyan professor, it will be named after U.S. President Barack Obama.

Professor Michael Ikua Muiga, who was a member of the policy staff of Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign, said plans were under way to construct the university at Nyang’oma Kogelo in Siaya County, from where President Obama traces his roots. Muiga said land was currently being sourced to expedite the institution’s construction before the end of Obama’s tenure in office.

Muiga added that former U.S. Senator Bob Graham had expressed willingness to assist the university achieve academic status. Once the university starts providing programs, retired U.S. professors would be invited to teach courses that lacked local lecturers.

The Star
April 13, 2013

Posted in Africa, Regional News Summaries