WENR, April 2007: Africa

Regional News



Historically Black U.S. University to Help Establish Institution in Botswana

Howard University [1] has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education in Botswana [2] to establish the Botswana University of Science and Technology. Under the agreement, Howard University will provide technical assistance in the development of a campus plan and in the development of undergraduate and graduate curricula in science, technology, the social sciences, humanities, business and economics. Howard officials will also assist in the recruitment, selection, hiring and development of an administration and a faculty for the institution, including the provision of graduate education, mainly at the Ph.D.level, at Howard University for talented Botswana who are designated for future faculty positions.

Howard University News Release [3]
March 30, 2007


New Universities Inaugurated

Two new universities began enrolling students in the current academic year. Dire Dawa University and Mede Wolabu University are two of 13 new public universities in the works and enrolled inaugural classes of 770 and 1,120 students respectively in March. Dire Dawa University is offering programs in natural science, mathematics, social science, language and business and economics fields. Mede Wolabu University is offering programs in 13 fields through faculties of business, economics, and health and agriculture.

The Ethiopia Herald [4]
March 16, April 7, 2007

Universities Across sub-Saharan Africa Link to Offer ‘Regional PhDs’

African universities are collaborating to develop degree programs that will accelerate agricultural research and biotechnology development in Eastern and Southern Africa. The announcement was made at a conference on biotechnology, breeding and seed systems in Maputo, Mozambique at the end of March.

The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture [5] (RUFORUM), made up of 12 Eastern and Southern Africa universities, has developed joint doctoral programs in dairy science, food science, plant breeding and biotechnology, research methodology and rural development, and crop improvement. After graduation, students will assume positions in research institutions in the region in an effort to boost research capacity. Some of the universities involved include the University of Zambia [6], Malawi University [7], Makerere University [8], Africa University [9] and the University of Zimbabwe [10].

SciDev.Net [11]
March 30, 2007


Government to Scrap HND, Reform Polytechnic Sector

The federal government announced in March that it was going to remove the Higher National Diploma from Nigeria’s qualifications framework. While HND certificates will remain valid and equal to first degrees for employment purposes, all federal polytechnics will now be affiliated to universities and will award the Bachelor of Technology in science and technology programs in place of the HND. In addition, 70 percent of the programs currently being offered by Nigerian polytechnics are reportedly to be phased out, while many campuses are to be incorporated by local universities, according to plans announced by Education Minister, Dr Oby Ezekwesili in March. Details of the polytechnic restructuring plans, reported by the Daily Trust newspaper, are as follows:

Daily Trust [18]
March 15, 2007


First Private Science University Opened

The country’s first private university for science and technology will open in July with a mission of promoting research and development in Zambia. Victoria Falls University of Technology, based in Livingstone, Zambia, will offer training in information and communication, engineering and agricultural food processing. The university is set to open at a time when the country faces a pressing need for science and technology skills. An initial US$375,000 has been invested in the project, which is fully financed by private individuals.

SciDev.net [19]
March 19, 2007


Faculty Exodus Halves Teaching Body at University of Zimbabwe

The University of Zimbabwe [20], once a shining star in African higher education with a faculty roll of 1,200 professors, today has just 627 faculty remaining. According to university Vice-Chancellor Levi Nyagura, speaking to a parliamentary committee, the university is “now faced with a situation whereby some departments are nearly non-functional. I do not want to use the word that they have closed.” Professor Nyagura was giving oral evidence before the committee on the problems being faced by the country’s largest institution of higher education. He said the greatest challenge facing the university was that of inadequate financial resources and the situation at the institution reflected what was happening at the other state universities.

The Herald [21]
March 16, 2007

University of Zimbabwe Welcomes Chinese

The University of Zimbabwe [20] became the latest African university to open a Chinese language and culture institute. The new Confucius Institute was opened by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Stan Mudenge.

The Herald [22]
March 17, 2007

Edinburgh Uni to Take Back Honorary Mugabe Degree

Edinburgh University [23] has started proceedings to strip Robert Mugabe of his honorary degree, according to the Scotland on Sunday newspaper. The move to revoke the president of Zimbabwe’s honorary title comes amid mounting international fury over the chaos and brutality Mugabe has unleashed on his people. Edinburgh University has stated that it is “reviewing” the 1984 doctorate for “services to education in Africa”. The case is reportedly a massive embarrassment for Edinburgh University, which awarded the degree to Mugabe amid euphoria over his country’s transition to independence and in recognition of his rapid expansion of education in his country in the early 1980s. In January, Scotland on Sunday revealed that Edinburgh was drawing up plans to change its rules to allow the university to strip recipients of their honorary degrees. It is understood by the news source that the power to revoke honorary degrees has been approved.

The Scotsman [24]
March 26, 2007