WENR, Jan./Feb. 2002: Africa
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
Tuition Hikes Spark Student Riots
Twelve students were seriously wounded when police opened fire on approximately 500 demonstrators in the city of Lumumbashi. The students were protesting a tuition increase at universities in the southeastern portion of the country.
— Times Higher Education Supplement
Dec. 14, 2001
Student Work Programs Criticized
During the graduation ceremony last July at the University of Asmara, the student union president openly criticized the government-run summer work program for students. The program has recruited about 40,000 students to repair roads, plant trees and work on construction projects. Many students say the work conditions are intolerable and condemn the program as slave labor. Last summer, two students died of heat exhaustion. The criticism has created political tension in a nation that only gained independence in 1993.
Eritrea’s literacy rate is 20 percent and per capita income is $300 a year. In 1994, only 46 students graduated from the University of Asmara. In 2000, 900 students were awarded degrees, diplomas and certificates. The university currently enrolls 5,000 students and has a faculty of 181. However, only 41 faculty members actually hold doctorates. To offset this problem, the university recently hired 70 Indian professors, primarily in the fields of the physical sciences, mathematics, engineering and education.
— The Chronicle of Higher Education
Nov. 23, 2001
New Catholic University to Provide Higher Education
Catholic University is scheduled to open its doors in September. Although the new institution will offer programs from many disciplines, it will concentrate on three major areas: theology, philosophy and information science and technology.
The registrar, the Rev. George Kumi, said admission to the school will be based on individual performance, rather than religious affiliation. He emphasized that the Catholic Church’s mission is to provide primary, secondary, technical and vocational training for citizens of every faith in Ghana.
— Ghanaian Chronicle
Dec. 18, 2001
College Offers New IT Degree Program
The Kenya College of Accountancy has been officially authorized to offer a new degree course. Starting this year, students at the college can begin working toward a bachelor of science degree in information technology (IT); the program is accredited by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.
The purpose of the new program is to meet the growing need for IT professionals in Kenya.
— The Nation (Nairobi)
Dec. 21, 2001
Professional School to Upgrade to University
The Kenya School of Professional Studies (KSPS) has announced plans to upgrade to university status. School officials said that after years of collaborating with local and foreign universities, KSPS is now ready to award its own qualifications.
KSPS currently offers joint programs with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), the University of London, Technikon Southern African (TSA) and several other institutions of higher education.
It also has strong links with professional bodies such as the Association of Business Executives, the Chartered Institute of Marketing and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supplies Management.
KSPS offers diplomas and certificates in addition to a bachelor of science degree, which is awarded by JKUAT, a bachelor of laws awarded by London University and a bachelor of technology by TSA.
Other academic programs offered include information technology, business and secretarial studies, banking and finance, customer service, public management and library sciences.
— The East African Standard (Nairobi)
Dec. 15, 2001
New Distance-Learning Program Launched
The University of South Africa (UNISA) recently launched a new distance-learning program in Nigeria. The online distance-learning graduate, master’s and doctorate programs were developed in conjunction with Management Development Centre International, based in the United Kingdom.
Courses will be delivered through video and audio conferencing and the Internet. Students communicate with their professors via e-mail, participate in Web discussion groups and receive and submit coursework online. Local tutors will provide support and counseling for students on a regular basis.
The bachelor’s program consists of 32 modules and requires at least three years of study (maximum 10 years). Written exams are held twice each year. Tuition is US$249 per session.
The doctoral program requires between 36 and 45 months of research, weekend seminars and three tutorials per year.
The UNISA distance-learning program does not offer science courses, which require the establishment of laboratories.
— This Day (Lagos)
Dec. 5, 2001
Government: Boost Math, Science Education
South Africa’s consistently poor averages on the national matriculation exams have officials worried. Education experts warn that the low pass rate — 57.9 percent in 2000 — severely limits the number of candidates eligible to pursue mathematics- and sciences-based programs at universities. The United Nations Development Program ranks South Africa 39th out of 72 countries on its technology achievement index.
Government and education officials agree that South Africa can only progress in science and technology research when the country’s basic education system produces more university candidates for these fields. Hence, the current administration has stressed the need to prioritize improvements in math and science education at the pre-university levels.
One official from South Africa’s Department of Education said if the matriculation pass rate remains static or continues to drop, the number of students entering math- and sciences-based programs would continue to shrink, producing fewer graduates for emerging professions such as accounting and engineering. Such a trend could have dire consequences for the country’s development.
— Business Day (Johannesburg)
Dec. 27, 2001
Scheme to Provide Free Education Backfires
The implementation of a plan to provide free education to primary school students has created unanticipated problems. In 2001, the government made it compulsory for all 7-year-olds to register for primary school. The response to the Universal Primary Education Program has been so overwhelming that schools have not been able to cope with the barrage of enrollments. Severe overcrowding has forced many schools to conduct classes under trees.
A similar scheme was introduced in the 1970s, but economic deterioration and escalating foreign debts depleted funding for education. Standards plummeted and fewer children went on to secondary school.
Critics see the same catastrophe happening again, accusing the government of being ill prepared. More teachers and classrooms are needed to cope with the mass influx of students, they say. The plan has attracted substantial foreign aid from a number of donors, including Sweden, Noraid from Norway, Ireland Aid, the Netherlands, CIDA Canada, Finland and Britain’s Department for International Development.
For a concise overview on education in Tanzania go here.
— BBC News
Jan. 22, 2002
New University Still Not Legal
Parliament has decreed that Kyambogo University, which opened in October, has still not obtained legal status from the Ministry of Education and Sports. University officials say the reason is that the National Council for Higher Education, which recommends newly established institutions of higher education for approval with the Ministry of Education, is not yet up and running.
— New Vision (Kampala)
Dec. 6, 2001
New University Launched
Kampala International University opened its doors in October, admitting 686 new students for the 2001-2002 academic year. The students were presented to the vice chancellor, Bill Rigby, for admission during a short ceremony at the campus in Kabalagala.
The university has hired prominent lecturers from Uganda and elsewhere, Including: former Minister of State Finance Gabriel Opio and Deputy Vice Chancellor Dr. George Ayee from Ghana.
— The Monitor (Kampala)
Dec. 12, 2001
Fashion School Going Strong
The Tina International School of Beauty marked its fifth graduation in December. The school just outside of Kabalagala offers programs in fashion design. Graduating students are jointly awarded diplomas and certificates from the City and Guilds College of London, an examining body, and the Tina School.
— New Vision (Kampala)
Jan. 4, 2002