WENR, July/August 2000: Africa


The African Virtual University [1] (AVU), a World Bank-funded project, was successfully piloted between July 1997 and December 1999. During that time, AVU accomplished the following:

Established 25 learning centers in 15 sub-Saharan African countries.

Provided a total of 2,500 hours of instructional programs in both English and French.

Registered more than 12,000 students in semester-long courses.

Enrolled 2,500 professionals in 25 executive business seminars.

Additional funding is expected to pave the way for the introduction of undergraduate degree programs and a business and technology channel. AVU is aiming to offer its courses and programs through 30 university centers and 82 private centers to 4,800 students and 67,200 professionals by the year 2002. The university also expects to make its first operating profit by 2003, generating a projected $13 million in revenues.

— IAU Newsletter
May 2000


Poverty and gender biases rooted in cultural and religious beliefs have traditionally prevented many girls in Kenya from getting an education. In an effort to reverse this trend the United States embassy in Nairobi recently launched a scholarship program to boost school enrollments among Kenyan girls. The program is being administered by the U.S. Peace Corps in cooperation with a local woman’s non-governmental organization called Winrock International [2].

The NGO and Peace Corps have been working together to select deserving female students for the scholarship. Awards are granted based on academic performance, the applicant’s results on the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and potential for leadership.

Forty-eight female secondary school students, selected from all eight provinces, will benefit from the program each year. The scholarship covers tuition, books, uniforms, examination fees, pocket money and other miscellaneous expenses.

— The Nation
May 8, 2000

Kenyatta University [3] is currently restructuring its curriculum to attract international students. The university also plans to introduce new degree programs in computer engineering and human resources management, in addition to offering a postgraduate degree program in journalism.

The degree program in computer science, which was originally scheduled to start in October 1999, was recently postponed and is expected to commence sometime this year. Compulsory courses in computer science have also been introduced to ensure that students are prepared to cope with the vast changes brought about by the information revolution. The university also plans to establish a computer network on campus, via microwave connectivity, to promote the exchange of information resources between students and staff.

— The Inter-University Council for East Africa
March 2000


The Nigerian government has pledged a total of 85 billion naira (US$850 million) for the implementation of a universal basic education program and a mass literacy program. Information Minister Jerry Gana recently stated that 10.2 billion naira (US$102 million) will be spent on the basic education program this year alone. During the next eight years, the government will spend more than 21 billion naira (US$210 million) on the literacy campaign, which is expected to produce 40 million literate Nigerians.

The minister also said 30,000 teachers will be trained each year to cope with the increased enrollments of students.

— Panafrican News Agency
June 29, 2000


Bayan Science and Technology College [4] (BSTC), founded in 1997, is a private institution of higher education located in the capital city of Khartoum.

BSTC offers bachelor degrees in computer science, electronic systems engineering, and computer and information science. The programs in computer science and computer and information science are both fours year in duration. The program in electronic systems engineering requires five years of study.

Diplomas, certificates or other qualifications are also offered through BSTC’s Continuing Education Department in a number of disciplines, including: accounting, computer appreciation, office management, statistical analysis, research methodology and the Internet.

In addition, the Bayan Research and Consultancy Center was established within BSTC to upgrade the skills of Sudanese scientists and technicians. The center offers skill enhancement programs, provides research facilities for industries and works to promote the transfer of technology . Training and research in statistics, computers, and socioeconomic development are also available through the center.

The college is currently working on establishing exchange and cooperative programs with international universities in Africa, the Middle East, and the United States.

www.bayantech.edu [4]
June 2, 2000


The Open University of Tanzania [5] is offering a new program leading to a Certificate in Distance Education. Courses are conducted using both printed and audio-study materials.

The program covers four modules:

In addition, a Diploma Course in Commonwealth Youth Work was launched Sept. 27 with 46 students. Both programs are coordinated by the Institute of Continuing Education. The diploma program consists of the following modules:

— The Inter-University Council for East Africa
March 2000


Mbarara University of Science and Technology is offering a new master’s degree program in medicine. The program, which is funded jointly by the university and the German government, has enrolled three students so far.

In addition, the university has completed a modern surgical operations theater replacing the existing theater, which is too small. The hospital has undergone several improvements since 1989.

— The Inter-University Council for East Africa
March 2000

Further information on institutions of higher education in Uganda, including Mbarera University of Science and Technology, is available at: www.imul.com [6]


Zambia’s system of higher education is currently in the midst of crisis. A combination of poor funding and bad management has served to debilitate the sector in recent years. Compounding matters, Zambia’s politicians and the international donor community have failed to guide the system in the right direction.

At present 23 percent of the country’s education budget, which represents a mere 2 percent of the gross national product, goes to two universities: the University of Zambia [7] and the Copperbelt University [8].

Frequent government closures and strikes by students, professors and staff members have deprived students of at least two years of academic study. The crisis has greatly curtailed both staff development and research. Staffing levels plummeted dramatically after 1994, when the intellectual community lost confidence in the government, and research has come to a standstill.

Despite these problems, the University of Zambia is still a respected institution in Africa. It recently spearheaded a project to provide African institutions of higher education with Internet service providers. The university’s law school was the first in Africa to introduce an evening, modular program and one of the few to provide a legal resources Web site, which can be viewed at www.unza.zm/newpage/interes.html [9].

— Times Higher Education Supplement
June 30, 2000