WENR, September 2009: Africa

Five Years into Bologna-Inspired Reforms

Algerian university students starting their programs this year will be the fifth class to move through the system since the Algerian government began reforming its education system in line with the Bologna higher education reforms in Europe. 135,000 new students will start their studies this year at Algeria’s universities, which have been implementing the reforms with varying rates of progress.

The new Algerian system is based on the reforms introduced in France, which are structured on bachelor, master and doctoral studies equivalent to three, five and eight years, for which credits are awarded. It is known as ‘LMD’ (licence, master, doctorat) in French-speaking countries.

At the Houari Boumediène University of Sciences and Technology (USTHB) in Bab Ezzouar, the LMD structure has been introduced in all programs, according to La Tribune newspaper. However, the old system has also been maintained, which has reportedly resulted in a fair degree of confusion among students unsure of which stream to enroll in. At Algiers University, by contrast, the LMD has been introduced much more slowly, when compared to USTHB, with pilot programs catering to 3,400 students. The success of these programs is leading to the adoption of the LMD system in other departments. This year, Algiers University introduced the LMD in three specializations: English in humanities and foreign languages courses, archaeology, and documentation in social and human sciences.

La Tribune
July 21, 2009


10 New Universities Promised

The Ethiopian government announced recently that construction of 10 new universities will begin in different parts of the country in the near future. External and public relations officer with the Ministry, Deresse Getissa, told ENA in July that the new universities would be constructed in Oromia, Amhara, Benishangul Gumuz, Tigray and South Ethiopia Peoples’ states.

He said preparations have been finalized to launch construction of the universities and enroll students in the 2003 E.C academic year (2011).

The Ministry of Education currently recognizes the following 21 universities, according to ENA: Addis Ababa University, Adama (Nazareth)University, Haromaya/Alemaya University, Jimma University, Bahrdar University, Mekele University, Hawassa University, Arbaminch University, Gondar University, Dilla University, Soddo University, Mizan/Tepi University, Mada walabu University, Wollega University, Debre Markos University, Desie/Kombolcha University, Debre Berhan University, Axum University, Diredawa University, Jijiga University, Semera University

Ethiopian News Agency
July 29, 2009


Government Calls for Diploma Mill Crack Down

Kenya’s Higher Education, Science and Technology Ministry has called on the country’s quality assurance body, the Commission for Higher Education (CHE), to crack down on diploma mills.

CHE Chief Executive Officer Professor Everret Standa assured the public that his organization had stepped up measures that would not only institutionalize quality assurance tools and processes in Kenya, but also those in the East African region more broadly.

The country has seven public universities, 12 university colleges and 23 private universities enrolling a total of 155,000 students.

University World News
August 16, 2009

Public University Access Increased

The number of first-year places at Kenya’s seven public universities has been increased by 18 percent, from 16,629 to 20,000, following a decision by the Joint Admissions Board to lower the entry grade.

The move to increase the number of places on offer comes as a result of universities establishing constituent colleges to help meet demand. In 2008, 305,995 candidates took the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) and 72,500 scored an aggregate of C+ or above. The country’s minimum grade for accessing university education remains C+.

Despite the increase in the number of public university places, tens of thousands of qualified high school leavers will have to seek places at private universities, tertiary colleges, or join public universities under parallel degree programs that are self-sponsored, due to the continued lack of government-sponsored places.

The government covers the expenses of ‘regular’ students while those in parallel programs shoulder the financial burden on their own. A ‘regular’ student at a public university pursuing a course in an arts-related field pays approximately 28,500 Kenyan shillings (US$375) annually while self-sponsored students pay approximately 150,000 shillings (US$1,974) a year.

Daily Nation
August 2, 2009


Strikes Cause University Closures through Summer

Lecturer strikes launched in early July by Nigeria’s three registered trade unions have resulted in university closures across the country. Grievances include low salaries, lack of university autonomy and more money for research. Negotiations are currently ongoing between government and the unions in an effort to end the strike. The strike is likely to end soon although many states will not be able to implement the terms of an amended agreement for lack of funds.

University World News
August 16, 2009


University Tuition Fees Up 40%

Uganda’s five public universities have each increased tuition fees by 40 percent. The new fees apply to non-state-aided students enrolling this academic year and will not affect students already enrolled. The last time public universities increased fees was in 1991.

The universities of Makerere, Kyambogo, Mbarara, Busitema and Gulu have all increased fees. Public universities’ councils are allowed to set new fees provided they get approval from the Government.

Higher Education Minister Rukutana Mwesigwa justified the increase by pointing to cumulative inflation over the past two decades, and that old tuition rates risked compromising quality standards at public universities. “It was inevitable for the government to approve the councils’ requests,” he said. “We blocked fees increment in the past. But it was not possible to effectively run these universities on the same fees. We need quality education and that calls for more investments.”

Over the last 10 years, the contribution of the government to public universities averaged 0.3% of GDP, said the National Council for Higher Education. In comparison, Kenya contributed 0.9% and Tanzania 1% of GDP in the same period.

New Vision
August 12, 2009


The University of Zimbabwe finally reopened in August after an eight-month closure; however, new students were not admitted and will not be until the next academic year. Because the freshman class who enrolled last November has not attended lectures due to the university’s closure since January, the university would have to cope with a double cohort if they enrolled new students from the new year.

An economic crisis blamed on years of mismanagement and autocratic rule by President Robert Mugabe, and a long lecturer strike, were among the reasons why the University of Zimbabwe – the country’s top institution – failed to open this year. For students, almost an entire academic year was lost. The institution was finally closed down after the water failed at a time when Zimbabwe was faced with a massive cholera outbreak.

The August intake will be the first in which students must pay fees in foreign currency – US dollars or South African rands – after the government abandoned use of the local currency to escape record-breaking inflation of over 11 million percent. Students are faced with huge fees of between US$404 and $504; this, in a country where senior civil servants earn $180 a month.

University World News
August 9, 2009

Posted in Africa, Regional News Summaries