WENR, July 2007: Africa
Number of Islamic Universities Growing on the Continent
The Islamic University in Uganda is a prime example of a new kind of institution, embracing both conservative Muslim values and modern secular teaching, that has slowly been spreading its way across the African continent.
There are an estimated 250 million Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa. As their numbers have grown, so has demand for Islamic education. At least a dozen new Islamic universities have sprung up over the past decade, in Nigeria, Tanzania, Somalia, Mozambique, and elsewhere. Most have official government accreditation, and many are cultivating ties with secular universities and even American embassies.
Feeling a sense of marginalization that dates back to colonial times, Muslims in Africa have begun to build universities of their own. Growth has come both as a result of Muslim initiative, and government support for private higher education as state higher education systems struggle to meet burgeoning student demand in the face of shrinking budgets and obsolete facilities. The Islamic University of Ghana, for example, was established after the government appealed to religious groups to form new universities. Much of the financing has come from richer Muslim organizations and nations. The Organization of the Islamic Conference, a pan-Islamic organization based in Saudi Arabia, and the multilateral Islamic Development Bank, over which the Saudis hold sway, have provided assistance for at least a half-dozen of Africa’s Islamic universities, including the Islamic Universities in Uganda and Niger; Zanzibar University, Tanzania; King Faisal University, in Chad; Mogadishu University, in Somalia; and the Al-Hikmah University, in Nigeria. The Islamic University of Ghana was financed by an Iranian organization and the World Islamic Call Society of Libya, an organization founded by Muammar el-Qaddafi to propagate Islam, has been deeply involved in Africa.
– The Chronicle of Higher Education
July 6, 2007
China Deepens Commitment to African Education
China announced a commitment to major projects at universities in South Africa and Liberia in June, as it continues to lavish aid on a continent that is increasingly supplying it with the commodities needed to fuel its red hot economic growth.
The Tshwane University of Technology, in South Africa, signed an agreement to establish a new Confucius Institute for Business on its campus geared toward promoting a greater understanding of the Chinese language and business culture. In the West African nation of Liberia, meanwhile, the Chinese government has agreed to help reconstruct the University of Liberia, building new classrooms, laboratories, and dormitories, as well as sending Chinese experts in engineering and technology to teach there.
In addition, the Chinese government plans to train 10,000 agricultural technicians in Africa over the next four years. Professors from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences were recently in Angola, for example, to lay the groundwork for such a program. Meanwhile, Mandarin programs are becoming ever more popular as are academic exchanges between African and Chinese institutions. Eight thousand African university students are currently studying Chinese, the Xinhua News Agency reports.
– The Chronicle of Higher Education
July 6, 2007
US University Involved in Distance Education Project
A European mobile-phone company and a top US university are establishing a distance learning project in Africa. Stanford University and Ericsson are working with students and staff at the University of the Western Cape in South African, Mweka College of African Wildlife Management in Tanzania and Makerere University in Uganda. The intiative, Dunia Moja or One World, will allow academics and students in remote locations to submit and access video, audio and text-based course materials, take part in online discussions and post web-logs.
– The Times Higher Education Supplement
July 20, 2007
U.S. Congress Told to Re-Channel African Aid to Universities
Testifying before the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Peter McPherson, president of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, told U.S. policymakers that African universities with the help of their American counterparts are crucial to the continent’s agricultural and economic development, but funds for such programs from the U.S. have been repeatedly cut over the years.
Most U.S. foreign aid to Africa is focused on the short term; however, improved universities could provide the research and technology necessary to foster the long-term growth of Africa’s agricultural economy, said Mr. McPherson in July. Also speaking at the hearing was Calestous Juma, a native of Kenya and professor of international development at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Mr. Juma said that African students will look to countries like China for support, despite greater language and cultural barriers, if U.S. government support is not increased. China, he said, can offer African students the training they seek in fields like engineering, and it can do so much more affordably than can the United States.
Because of major cuts in federal programs, American universities do “virtually no work” nowadays with their African counterparts, Mr. McPherson said. Many universities in the United States are eager to resume work with African universities, to help nurture the next generation of African scientists and scholars, but would require more federal support, he said.
– The Chronicle of Higher Education
July 19, 2007
New Public University Inaugurated
President Armando Guebuza inaugurated the first public university in Mozambique to be established outside the capital Maputo in June. Situated in the northern city of Nampula, the University of Lurio is opening with just one faculty – health sciences – that will train doctors, dentists and pharmacists. Future plans include a satellite campus in Niassa province that would house a faculty of agricultural sciences, and an IT faculty in Cabo Delgado. The new university has received support from Cuba which has supplied three specialists to teach medical courses.
– Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique
July 1, 2007
Three-Month Strike Ends
Nigerian university lecturers have called off a more than three-month strike to press for improved working conditions, the Academics Staff Union of Universities reported in early July. The union, however, threatened that the dons would go on strike again if the government reneges on its promise to address the neglect of the education sector, particularly the universities. The strike began March 26.
– Agence France Presse
July 2, 2007
Government to Focus on Increasing Capacity at Secondary Schools as Primary Enrollments Skyrocket
In interviews with the UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, education experts have welcomed the Tanzanian government’s pledge to hire more teachers in the 2007-2008 financial year to improve the quality of education in the country. The government allocated 18 percent of this year’s budget to education and announced plans to hire more teachers in June.
Ministry of Education records show that enrollment in primary schools increased from 4,839,361 in 2001 to 7,969,884 in 2006, while the net enrollment ratio in primary schools increased from 65.5 percent in 2001 to 96.1 percent in 2006.
Like many other countries on the continent that have focused their efforts on increasing primary enrollments, the secondary sector is under increased pressure to meet the educational needs of the rapidly growing ranks of primary school graduates. Enrollment in form one, the first year of secondary education, increased from 99,744 in 2003 to 243,359 in 2006; hence the government’s budgetary focus on hiring more teachers.
– UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
July 18, 2007
International Higher Education worth US$30m to Ugandan Economy
International students enrolling at Uganda’s secondary and tertiary institutions of higher education brought an estimated US$30 million into the country in the 2004/05 academic year, according to a government announcement in July. Most of this revenue ($23.7 million) was generated by secondary school students, while almost $7 million was generated by students studying at the tertiary level. At universities, the largest source of students was Kenya (2,924), followed by Tanzania (510), Rwanda (1480), Sudan (138) and Burundi (123).
Uganda currently hosts approximately 28,000 international students at the secondary level and 5,000 at the tertiary level. At all public institutions (tertiary and secondary schools combined), Kenya again tops the list with 20,716 students, followed by Tanzania (5,211), DR Congo (2,435), Sudan (2,457) and Rwanda (1,228).
– The Monitor
July 19, 2007
Four New Universities
The National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), Uganda’s education watchdog, has approved four new universities, bringing the number of public and private institutions of higher education in the country to 26. Three of the newly approved universities are private: Lugazi, St. Lawrence and Mutesa I Royal. Busitema University is the only new publicly funded university. In 1990, Uganda had only three universities – Makerere, Mbarara University of Science and Technology and the Islamic University of Uganda, a private institution.
Of Uganda’s 21 private universities, only Uganda Martyrs’ University in Nkozi, Nkumba University and Uganda Christian University have been chartered, according to the NCHE. A charter is the final stage of accreditation. The following is a list of Uganda’s licensed public and private universities.
Makerere University, Kampala (1922); Mbarara Science and Technology University, Mbarara (1989); Gulu University, Gulu (2002); Kyambogo University, Kampala (2002); Busitema, Tororo (2007)
Islamic University, Mbale (1988); Ndejje University, Luweero (1992); Nkozi University, Mpigi (1993); Bugema University, Luweero (1994); Busoga University, Iganga (1999); Nkumba University, Wakiso (1999); Uganda Christian University, Mukono (1999); Kampala University, Kampala (2000); Kampala International, Kampala (2001); Aga Khan, Kampala (2001); Kumi University, Kumi (2004); Kabale, Kabale (2005); Mountains of the Moon, Kabalore (2005); African Bible College, Wakiso (2005); Uganda Pentecostal, Kabarole (2005); Fairland, Jinja (2005); Bishop Stuart, Mbarara (2006); Bishop Barham, Kabale (2006); Lugazi University, Kampala (2007); Mutesa I, Masaka (2007) St. Lawrence University, Kampala (2007).
– New Vision
July 15, 2007
Masvingo State University has been renamed Great Zimbabwe University. The university is getting set to graduate its inaugural class of students. The renaming of the university is reportedly a prelude to the official installation of President Mugabe as chancellor of the university.
– The Herald
July 15, 2007