WENR, January 2007: Africa
Africa Lacks Institutions of Higher Education
One of the hottest issues of debate at the Commonwealth Education Ministers Conference in Cape Town, South Africa this past December was the lack of higher education institutions serving African students. More Africans than ever before are pursuing tertiary education, yet many countries do not have the capacity to provide postsecondary education to all students who demand it. Africa’s higher education participation rate is currently 10 percent while in the United States and Europe it hovers between 50 – 60 percent. One out of every 16 sub-Saharan Africans pursuing higher education does so abroad, in comparison to only one out of every 250 North Americans students.
Malaysian University Looks to Botswana
Limkokwing University College of Creative Technology, a Malaysian institution of higher education, has registered with Botswana’s Tertiary Education Council (TEC) to open a branch campus in the African nation. Limkokwing’s investment in Botswana comes at an opportune time, as the country’s government has been actively searching out investors to build a new university in Palapye. TEC officials believe that the university will help stem the flow of students to universities abroad. Officials in the southern African country also believe that the introduction of private universities will help create healthy competition among the nation’s institutions as well as broaden access to higher education.
— Mmegi Online News
Oct. 25, 2006
Rising Undergraduate Enrollments Stinting Research
Citing recent studies, Moi University Chancellor, Bethwel Ogot, has said that heavy teaching loads brought on by increased undergraduate enrollments has led to a sharp decline in research and publishing by Kenya’s professors and lecturers. As witnessed by a lecture walkout in October and November at Kenya’s six public universities, low faculty salaries also mean that professors often spend any time allocated for research working second jobs to help make ends meet. Ogot has urged education officials to recruit more lecturers to meet the demand from increased enrollments.
— East Africa Standard
Dec. 17, 2006
Fake Ugandan Degrees Issued by Kenyan College
A Nairobi-based college has been awarding fake Makerere University degrees, according to Kenyan lawmakers. The assistant education minister, Kilemi Mwiria, told parliament that the Regional Business Management College had been offering Makerere degree programs without authorization.
— New Vision
Nov. 9, 2006
African University Restructures In Face of Financial Difficulties
The African Virtual University (AVU) has decided to abandon one of its original charges: providing a link between foreign university programs and African postsecondary students eager to earn an international credential. In the face of financial difficulties, the African Virtual University has had to refocus its efforts on helping African universities develop their own distance-learning programs. Formed in 1997 by the World Bank, the AVU was designed to foster improved higher education in Africa using curriculum from foreign universities disseminated through advanced communications technology and partnerships with local institutions.
— The Chronicle of Higher Education(subscription)
Rwanda and Uganda Agree to Eliminate Student Permit Fees
The governments of Rwanda and Uganda have struck an agreement to eliminate student permit fees levied on students from either country studying at an institution within the other’s borders. The two nations have agreed to harmonize their respective education systems under the East African Community framework in order to promote the free movement of students. Rwandan and Ugandan officials also announced that they would take strategic measures to develop bilateral education projects at their institutions of higher education.
— The New Times
Dec. 18, 2006
Higher Education Drop-Out Rates High, Curriculum Needs Review
South African Education Minister Naledi Pandor has called for a critical review of the nation’s higher education system in light of a “staggering” tertiary drop-out rate of 50 percent. At a conference of the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa held in Pretoria this past November, Pandor cited outdated curriculum and teaching methods, sub par preparation in secondary education, and poor financial management at the nation’s universities as contributing to the high numbers of students failing to complete their tertiary education. The vice-chancellors at all of South Africa’s 23 institutions of higher education have been asked to participate in a policy seminar to help remedy the dilemma. Pandor proposed reform of the university funding process and the improvement of continuing teacher education and training as possible means for enhancing student retention rates.
— Business Day
Nov. 28, 2006
Top University Shuttered Over Pay Dispute
Makerere University was closed for over a month in November and December, and its 30,000 students were sent home after the faculty union rejected calls by the government to end a strike that had entered its second week. With the walkout of 200 postgraduate medical students, the Mulago hospital in Kampala was also shut down. The students, who form the bulk of doctors at Mulago, said they could not continue working when their supervisors, the professors at Makerere School of Medicine, were on strike. Funding from some of the university’s international donors was suspended while teaching was halted. The university’s main donors are Swedish International Development Agency, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Japan International Cooperation Association.
— VOA Africa
Dec. 21, 2006