WENR, June 2006: Africa
UN Reports a Huge Global Shortage of Teachers
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, released a report in April projecting a worldwide shortage of 18 million teachers over the next decade, most critically in sub-Saharan Africa and the Arab states. The authors advocate training parents and assistants to help bridge the gap, along with other innovative solutions.
The report, “Teachers and Educational Quality: Monitoring Global Needs for 2015,” says the greatest challenge lies in sub-Saharan Africa, which will need to expand its teaching force 68 percent by 2015. Furthermore, the countries needing the most teachers invariably have the least qualified personnel, with only 45 percent of teachers having a lower secondary education, considered the absolute minimum qualification to teach.
The education report was released as part of Education for All Week, observed from April 24-28, and intended to remind governments to keep their promise to achieve Education for All by 2015, one of the Millennium Development Goals agreed on by world leaders at the 2000 World Summit.
— UN News Services
Apr. 25, 2006
Distance Education Programs Expand Throughout Africa
The introduction and expansion of distance education programs in Africa is providing better quality education to interconnected students across the continent. In Zambia, South Africa, and Ethiopia, institutions are finding ways to offer both secondary and post-secondary students access to previously unavailable educational resources.
As part of preparations to meet the Education for All goals set out by UNESCO member states in 2000, Zambia has initiated a distance learning education program to serve students in grades 8 to 12 who are unable to secure spots in the nation’s high schools. In 2004, the government was only able to secure high school seats for 36 percent of all students who passed grade nine and attempted to enter grade ten. Distance learning will provide education for 3,000 more upper basic and 1,000 more high school learners annually.
In Ethiopia, the Civil Service College is working with the World Bank to improve the distance education opportunities available to their undergraduate and post-graduate students. Distance vocational diploma courses offered by the institution are being upgraded to degree level through the venues of video conferencing and the Internet. The British-based Open University is helping the college to further develop their programs in law, accounting and administration. The Ethiopia Civil Service College already has 11 distance education coordinating offices accommodating more than 7,000 students.
The Oracle Consortium e-Schools initiative, aided by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), recently added two South African secondary schools to an electronic network of 24 African schools with access to e-learning material. The 14-company Oracle Consortium provides schools with communications technology hardware, software, educational content, and teacher training in the use of these materials. Countries that will benefit from the program include Mali, Gabon, Egypt, Lesotho, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa. Nepad will monitor the success of the initiative to track which programs work to best benefit African schools and students.
UNESCO Releases Stats on Internationalization of Education; African Students Span Globe
One out of every 16 African tertiary students travels abroad for their education, making them the most internationally mobile in the world. A handful of countries in sub-Saharan Africa have more students studying abroad than in their home country, with France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Portugal being the top destinations. This is according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) newly released Global Education Digest 2006, a compilation of education statistics from more than 200 countries worldwide. According to Hendrik van der Pol, Director of the UNESCO Institute of Statistics, African students, along with Asian and Arab students, are the real driving force behind the internationalization of education.
The new UNESCO publication explores international student flows in particular detail. It reports that between 1999 and 2004, the number of students studying abroad worldwide increased by 41 percent from 1.75 million to 2.5 million. East Asia sends a third more students abroad than Western Europe, and the number of students from Arab states traveling abroad for their education has increased steadily over the last five years. China sends the most students abroad, accounting for 14 percent of the global total, while in Djibouti three out of five tertiary students are obtaining their education abroad.
Two-thirds of the world’s mobile students choose to study in six countries: the United States (23 percent), the United Kingdom (12 percent), Germany 11 percent), France (ten percent), Australia (seven percent) and Japan (five percent).
— UNESCO Press Release
May 31, 2006
All Public Universities to be Audited
Ghana’s National Accreditation Board (NAB) has announced plans to audit the country’s four public universities. NAB, the only organization in Ghana with the power to grant accreditation, establish criteria for tertiary education and evaluate learning facilities, will employ experts from South Africa and other African nations to conduct a thorough inspection of public higher education programs and facilities in the country. According to Richard Adjei, senior assistant secretary of NAB, the evaluations are part of a strategy to help the universities adapt to improving international university standards and to recast the image of Ghanaian universities.
The audit also reflects complaints of local industry leaders about graduates who are poorly prepared for the workforce, and a reaction to the recent proliferation of private universities into the market for post-secondary students. NAB has accredited 34 private institutions to date, with more applications to be processed.
— News in Ghana
May 2, 2006
UK University Signs Exchange Agreement with Private University
The University of Wolverhampton signed an agreement with Kabarak University, which will involve student and faculty exchanges, research collaboration and the development of degree programs. Wolverhampton hopes that its students will study at the private Kenyan university, based just outside Nakuru in the west of the country, as part of their studies.
With the development of degree programs at Kabarak University, Kenyan students will have the option to study in Wolverhampton as part of their undergraduate training or to pursue graduate studies there.
— The Guardian
May 4, 2006
Education Receives Large Multinational Donation
Education Minister Aires Aly and Dutch Ambassador Lidi Remmelzwaal signed a memorandum of understanding last month, formalizing a donation of US$39million from six countries that support educational development in Mozambique.
The Netherlands, Canada, Ireland, Britain, Germany and Finland contributed the money to assist Mozambique’s effort to achieve its objectives under their UN Millennium Development Goals. The money will be used for teacher training, building new schools and to help gain primary education for the estimated one million children not attending school in the country. At the signing ceremony, Remmelzwaal announced that next year a donation of US$50million is to be expected.
— Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique
May 2, 2006
Petroleum Institute Upgraded to University
Governmental approval has been given for the upgrade of the Petroleum Training Institute in Effurun to the Nigerian Federal Petroleum Engineering University, of which the Petroleum Training Institute will be one of its faculties.
Apr. 11, 2006
Universal Basic Education System Altered
Nigerian Education Minister Chinwe Obaji, addressing attendees of Education for All week this past April in Abuja, detailed reforms that the government will make in the design of the basic education system in an effort to make sure that every Nigerian child has access to quality basic education. The Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) has developed a nine-year basic education plan that guarantees Nigerian youth six years of primary education and the first three years of their secondary education. Earlier this year, NERDC eliminated the common entrance examination previously required for entry to junior secondary school.
Government concerns over the new education initiative include the total enrollment of all Nigerian children and the necessity of training 200,000 teachers to manage the expanding number of pupils. In response to these worries, the government has established a system of reprimands for parents who fail to register their children for school and has begun a recruitment strategy to attract an initial 40,000 teachers for the most needy rural communities.
Apr. 27, 2006
Canadian Journalism School Collaborates with Rwandan University
The School of Journalism and Communications at Canada’s Carleton University is proposing a plan to work with the National University of Rwanda (NUR) to improve media education in that country. As part of the collaboration between the two institutions, Carleton University would provide the NUR campus in Butare with visiting professors, help develop a new journalism curriculum, hold media-training workshops for Rwandan journalists and facilitate student exchange between the two universities.
The cross-continent initiative was envisioned by Carleton Journalism Professor Allan Thompson, who has organized an international symposium on the role of the news media during Rwanda’s 1994 political upheaval and subsequent acts of genocide. Carleton’s School of Journalism and Communications also plans to create an archive at their home campus of material related to the events of 1994.
— The New Times
May 6, 2006
Universities Work Together to Combat Cheating
In an effort to ensure quality among the nation’s institutions of higher education, university leaders in Uganda have decided to share inforation regarding the classroom conduct of particular students, documented cases of exam malpractice, and information pertaining to the quality of the professors lecturing at each institution. According to Vice Rector of Academic Affairs at the Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU), Dr Mohamed Mpezamihigo, the cross-institutional exchange of information is designed to ensure quality practices within the student body and faculty at the country’s universities. A list of names comprised of professors and students who have violated university code in the past has been circulated so as to prevent them from gaining admission to, or employment from, another institution in the future.
— Daily Monitor
May 21, 2006