WENR, March 2007: Africa

Regional News


Leaders From New Association of Business Schools Tour Europe, US

Leaders from eight member institutions of the Association of African Business Schools (AABS) toured leading schools in the United Kingdom, France and the United States on a fact-finding mission in February. Directors from schools in Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa embarked on the tour to observe best practices in management among global business schools, as well as to work together on identifying how best to develop African business education. The AABS was established in 2005 to support graduate business institutions through capacity building, collaboration and quality improvement programs. The main focus of the association is to enhance the relevance and contribution of business schools to policy debate on African development research and policy promotion. A full list of AABS members can be found Here.

IIE Interactive
Feb. 26, 2007


First of 13 New Universities Inaugurated

Wollega University began teaching an inaugural class of 872 students in late February, reports the Ethiopia Herald. As classes began, nine of 23 buildings planned for the new university had been completed. When fully completed, an estimated 12,000 students will be enrolled. Wollega University is the first of a planned 13 new universities under construction across the country that the government hopes will open up 121,000 new places.

Ethiopia Herald
Feb 25, 2007


The Cost of Free Education

Public primary schools stopped charging fees in 2003. Now all Kenyan children have access to basic schooling, however, the result has been overcrowding and a drop in standards. The Los Angeles Times portrayed this recently through the experiences of a top-ranked school in what it describes as Africa’s largest slum Kibera. Despite its surroundings, Olympic Primary is the best school in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, sending dozens of graduates to the nation’s best secondary schools. However, since the national decision was made in 2003 to enact universally free primary education, swelling classrooms and stretched budgets have eroded standards. Since fees were eliminated, more than 1 million additional youngsters have entered public schools. The action has won international praise for President Mwai Kibaki, who is seeking reelection this year. His government said recently that it would attempt to extend free education into high school. However, with just 30 teachers, the average class size at Olympic is 84, more than double what it was when the school was ranked No. 1.

The story is repeated the nation over. Enrollment is up 24 percent since the fees were dropped, but the number of school facilities has barely expanded and the number of teachers has fallen 6 percent, according to the Education Ministry. Government officials say they are working as fast as they can to provide relief. At Olympic, the government added several new classrooms over the last three years but is running out of land for expansion. With the decline in quality and test scores at public schools, graduates of the private academies, which account for only 10 percent of all schools, now make up 90 percent of the students at the best high schools.

Los Angeles Times
Feb. 26, 2007


Norwegian Agency Approves Funding for Joint Graduate Projects

The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) has approved funding of 11 million euros to establish joint master’s programs in developing nations. The new project, known as Master Programs in the South, will support 17 cooperation projects between eight Norwegian universities and 14 institutions of higher education in 11 countries, including Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Bangladesh and Nepal.

January 2007

Funds Allocated for First Campus of African Institute of Science and Technology

The Nigerian government has allocated US$25 million in funds for what would be the first of three primary campuses that will make up the African Institute of Science and Technology. Construction of the Gulf of Guinea Institute in Abuja reportedly began in late February after the government’s Petroleum Technology Development Fund approved funding for the project. The institute is due to open in September and research will initially focus on biological, environmental and mathematical science. The other primary campuses will be located in South Africa and Tanzania, while smaller affiliated centers will open throughout sub-Saharan Africa.  AIST, also known as the Nelson Mandela Institute, is a public-private sector partnership aiming to produce more African scientists to help accelerate development on the continent and to address problems such as public policy, energy, water, and the environment.

Feb. 21, 2007

South Africa

Black-Owned Business School Makes History

South Africa’s first black-owned private business school came into existence in February, after education company Educor’s sale of the Graduate Institute of Management and Technology to a black economic empowerment group headed by Business Unity SA. The consortium plans to restructure and rebrand the school as a “very focused African business school” with an emphasis on practical training and industry linkages. The deal came two weeks after women’s group Wiphold bought 26 percent of the executive education arm of Stellenbosch University‘s business school. The deal was partly facilitated by Educor’s sale of its 15 percent stake in the business school.

Business Day
Feb 26, 2007


Austrian Arrested in Connection with Forged Transcripts/Diploma Mill

An Austrian national, Tony Lenart, was arrested in Uganda for allegedly establishing the World Leadership University in a suburb of the capital, Kampala, and forging transcripts and certificates, according to the Daily Monitor newspaper. Police officials quoted by the newspaper stated that Lenart “has been awarding students fake degrees, diplomas and certificates since 2002 when he established the university.” The National Council for Higher Education said they had never registered Mr Lenart’s university.

The Daily Monitor
Feb 21, 2007


Stratospheric Tuition Fees Deprive More and More Youth of Education

Not only are parents in Zimbabwe trying to find tuition they can barely afford, but essentials such as school uniforms now cost 600 times what they did in 2006. With inflation running at an estimated 1,600 percent, nearly 80 percent of the workforce unemployed and the minimum wage at less than subsistence level, many parents are forced to withdraw their children from school in order to put food on the table, reports the United Nations Integrated Regional Information Network.

The examination system has suffered too. Because of a lack of foreign currency the government has been forced to localize examinations, which used to be handled by British boards, but local examination boards had failed to attract competent markers because they offered paltry payments. The Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council failed to meet its December 2006 deadline because teachers hired to mark the papers opted out due to poor payment. They are not only opting out of marking jobs, but out of the nation too. An estimated 18,000 teachers have left the country in the past five years to seek better-paid jobs, especially in South Africa.

United Nations Regional Information Networks
Feb 28, 2007

Posted in Africa, Regional News Summaries