WENR, March/April 2005: Africa
Commission: $5 Billion Commitment Needed for African Universities
Funding from developed nations toward the long-term development of African universities should total no less than US$5 billion over the next 10 years, recommends a report released in March by the Commission for Africa, which was established in 2004 by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The commission includes high-level politicians and high-visibility humanitarian activists. Among its 17 members are African leaders, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ji Peng, former U.S. Sen. Nancy Kassebaum Baker and rock musician-turned-humanitarian-activist Bob Geldof. As chairman of the panel, Blair likened the report to the U.S. Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. The commission’s proposals, he said, should be part of a comprehensive plan of action to rectify the continent’s pervasive problems, including the HIV epidemic, arms proliferation and political corruption.
The plan for education includes a commitment to the Education for All targets set by the United Nations that would see all school-age children in sub-Saharan Africa receiving free basic education. The higher education plan calls for a US$500 million yearly commitment over 10 years to revitalize Africa’s institutions of higher education and up to $3 billion over 10 years to develop centers of excellence in science and technology, including regional institutes of technology (see January/February 2005 issue of WENR).
March 11, 2005
University to Reopen After 3-Year Closure
The University of Bouake, in the rebel-held north of the country, is set to reopen this month, almost three years after the outbreak of war forced it to close, according to government and rebel officials. New students reportedly were lined up at the Bouake campus in late March to enroll for the first academic year since the start of the civil war in September 2002.
Soon after rebels took control of the city — the country’s second-largest — and the northern region of the country, the university was looted and closed down. A provisional campus in the de facto capital Abdijan later opened for the nearly 12,000 students who fled the rebel-held north. Those left in rebel territory were deprived access to higher education.
After a UNESCO-sponsored feasibility study and an assessment mission to Bouake earlier this year, Minister of Higher Education Zemogo Fofana gave the green light to open the original campus, guaranteeing that degrees would be recognized by the ministry. An estimated 4,000 students who stayed in the north after the failed coup attempt are expected to re-enroll, in addition to approximately 700 new students. Approximately 200 lecturers are expected to return in the law, education, science and arts faculties. The University of Bouake was founded in 1996.
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks March 23, 2005
Education Overhaul Enacted
Namibia has begun the implementation of a US$4 billion, five-year plan aimed at reducing unemployment and transforming the country into a knowledge-based economy. The Education and Training Sector Improvement Program is based upon the recommendations of a recent World Bank report entitled, “ Namibia Human Capital and Knowledge Development for Economic Growth and Equity.”
In the report, a number of key problems with Namibia’s education system are identified. These include: More than half of all primary school and 30 percent of secondary school teachers are underqualified, there is a shortage of schoolbooks, curriculums are overloaded and schools have high dropout rates. Namibia has invested roughly 8 percent of GDP in education annually since 1990, but the return on investment has been low. The government will now provide US$3.8 billion of the US$4 billion plan. The remainder is expected to come from donors, development partners and the private sector. In March, Germany, Holland, Sweden, the United States, the World Bank and several agencies of the United Nations pledged to assist in the implementation of the program.
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
March 14, 2005
Top Research Universities Named
The study assessed the quality and quantity of the research conducted at Nigeria’s 65 universities, based largely on faculty research outputs in international scholarly journals.
The top 10 ranked universities are: Obafemi Awolowo University, Federal University of Technology, University of Ibadan, University of Lagos, University of Agriculture Abeokuta, University of Ilorin, University of Benin, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Rivers State University of Science and Technology and University of Calabar.
March 1, 2005
Commission Ranks Academic Programs
In addition to its institutional rankings, the National Universities Commission released in March a ranking of academic programs in the fields of management and administration, sciences, agriculture, arts and humanities and education.
In management studies, a private university licensed in 2002 ranks first. Pan African University in Lagos, formerly Lagos State Business School, offers master’s programs in business administration that reportedly are in Africa’s top tier. The University of Lagos and Ahmadu Bello University are ranked second and third.
In agriculture, the University of Maiduguri, Obafemi Awolowo University at Ile-Ife and Federal University of Technology Akure are ranked as the top three. In the arts and humanities, the University of Ilorin ranks first. In education, the top school is Ahmadu Bello University, which replaced the longstanding rankings-topper in education, the University of Benin. The universities of Calabar, Ibadan and Ilorin are third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
March 15, 2005
Lagos University Reopens After Riots, 10-Week Closure
Because of student riots on Jan. 19, sparked by the suspicious death of the speaker of the university’s student union, the University of Lagos was closed for 10 weeks. Academic activities resumed March 29.
March 5, 2005
Warning Issued Over Unauthorized Nursing Schools
The South African Nursing Council (SANC) has warned potential nursing students to be wary of a number of private nursing schools that are operating in the country illegally. In a statement made in February, SANC said three- to six-month programs offered by certain schools in “home-based care,” “health care” and “pre-nursing” are not recognized as prerequisites for students to practice as nurses.
Council Chief Operating Officer Hasina Subedar explained that in terms of the Nursing Act of 1978, any institution that provides nursing education and training without SANC approval is operating illegally. Furthermore, any qualifications received from such institutions are not SANC-recognized. The nursing council recommends that any students considering to train as nurses should first verify with the council the status of the nursing school in which they wish to enroll before paying tuition fees.
Feb. 24, 2005