WENR, June 2016: Africa

Kenya: New Requirements for Masters’ Degrees?

Proposed guidelines may make it harder for Kenyan students to obtain masters’ degrees.  The new guidelines are the latest in a series of efforts to increase the rigor of Kenya’s higher education sector during a period of soaring demand and capacity. Between 2010 and 2016, student enrollments in public universities swelled from roughly 140,000 to 443,783. The number of higher education institutions has similarly mushroomed, while the number of qualified instructors has failed to keep pace.

University World News
May 27

South Africa: Higher Education Amendment Bill Moves to Next Stage

South Africa’s controversial Higher Education Amendment Bill was approved by the National Assembly, despite last ditch attempts to block passage. The proposed amendment imposes new oversight measures over how universities use government subsidies, and gives the higher education minister new powers to intervene in under-performing institutions. Critics say it will impede institutional autonomy and academic freedom. The bill must be sent to the National Council of Provinces for review before it becomes law.

Independent Online
May 24

South Africa: Turmoil Will Drive Out Middle Class University Students, Says Embattled Leader

In the wake of his May resignation as vice-chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), Professor Jonathan Jansen noted the “incredible human costs” of two years of violent student protests in South Africa. “This is a period of incivility, in politics, in everyday interaction,” Jansen said. “We are in a period of chronic instability that’s going to drive away top professors and middle-class students.” South Africa’s student led #FeesMustFall movement led to increased state funding for universities and a year-long tuition freeze, as well as widespread and ongoing protests and arson at universities nationwide.

University World News
May 21

South Africa: English Language Sector Reeling as Enrollments Plummet

Restrictive student visa policies and falling enrollments from multiple source countries have created a perfect storm that threatens the health of South Africa’s English language sector. A recent report from Education South Africa. indicates that enrollments at member schools fell by 37 percent from 2014 to 2015. The drop follows a nine percent rise in 2014 and a four percent increase in 2013. In 2014, new regulations made it more difficult for language students to obtain study permits. The sector has also been hit hard by sharp declines in the number of students from Brazil and the Middle East, as well as from oil-dependent countries across the rest of Africa.

The PIE News
May 13

Kenya: Spike in Enrollments not Mirrored by Spike In Funding

Increased enrollments among women, massive infrastructure development, and a proliferation of new courses and new campuses drove a 22.8 percent year-over-year spike in enrollments at Kenyan universities, says a new report. The government’s allocation of US$646 million in university funding for the 2016-17 financial year – an increase of just three percent over the prior year’s tally – is, say university administrators, unlikely to be sufficient to help them meet the needs of the 443,783 students who are now enrolled at Kenyan campuses. Fast-paced growth in the number of campuses and universities across Kenya has led to a meltdown in quality, and enrollments are expected to grow by another 20 percent next year.

University World News
May 9

Kenya: University Fee Structures, Payments Changed After Two Decades

In a ploy to help address budget shortfalls and quality issues, Kenya’s Commission for University Education plans to charge higher fees for science and technical courses in subjects such as medicine, dentistry, architecture, and engineering. Government loans will likewise be tied to the kind of courses the students are registered for. Lecturers in affected courses will benefit as well, getting a bump in pay. The public university funding model has remained unchanged for two decades.

AllAfrica
May 9

South Africa: Joint research initiative with the U.K.

A bilateral research initiative between South Africa and the UK will support research into security, science, technology and political theory. Three research chairs will receive £300,000 each over the next three years from the British Council’s Newton Fund program. The funds will be matched by the National Research Foundation of South Africa. The initiative seeks to increase the quality and quantity of master’s and Ph.D graduates; to strengthen research and innovation in the two countries;  and to promote international exchange and cooperation.

Times Higher Education
May 6

 

Posted in Africa, Regional News Summaries