WENR, November 2009: Africa


HP and UNESCO Continue Work to Increase Regional ‘Brain Gain’

Hewlett-Packard and UNESCO announced in October the expansion of their joint ‘Brain Gain initiative’ [1] from five universities in the pilot phase to 15 additional institutions of higher education in the Middle East and Africa

The project enables member universities to collaborate with experts around the world in innovative education and research projects with the help of advanced grid and cloud computing technologies. The objective is to build capacity for sustainable development through advances in science and technology with a goal of reaching 100 universities by the end of 2011 with the help of additional partners.

The expansion of the project comes on the back of a successful pilot phase in Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Zimbabwe from 2006 to 2009. The 15 universities that will benefit from the expansion of the initiative in 2009 are: Ouagadougou University [2] (Burkina Faso), Douala University [3] & Yaoundé I University [4] (Cameroon), Cocody University [5] (Côte d’Ivoire), Mekelle University [6] (Ethiopia), Masinde Muliro University [7] & University of Nairobi [8] (Kenya), Kuwait University [9], Saint-Joseph University [10] (Lebanon), Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique et Technique [11] (Morocco), Gaston Berger University [12] (Senegal), Université de la Manouba [13], Ecole Nationale des Sciences de l’Informatique [14] (Tunisia), Makerere University [15] & Mbarara University [16] (Uganda).

UNESCO news release [17]
October 5, 2009

Virtual University Opens New Center, 9 More to Come

The African Virtual University [18], in partnership with the African Development Bank, has launched a center of online learning and distance education in Zambia, the first of 10 scheduled to open in universities throughout Africa in the next five months, according to reports from Senagalese media.

The new multimedia centers, set up under the AVU Multinational Support Project [19], will be situated in universities in Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar Mozambique, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Founded in 1997, the AVU is a pan-African inter-government organization that seeks to significantly increase access to quality higher education and teaching. It has educated 40,000 students throughout Africa, and established the biggest network of learning and distance education in more than 30 sub-Saharan countries. Its headquarters are in Nairobi and it has a regional office in Dakar, Senegal.

Agence Press Senegalaise [20]
October 21, 2009


New Business Schools to Meet Management Needs of a Booming Economy

Moi University’s [21] main campus in Eldoret in western Kenya was shuttered in September following violent protests which left one student dead, several others injured and another eight facing robbery charges.

According to a news item [22] on the university’s website, the campus was re-opened at the end of October. The university’s 10 other campuses remained open, with students preparing for their end of semester examinations in November.

The Standard [23]
September 24, 2009


Preparing for Reform

Morocco is preparing a blueprint to speed up reform of its system of higher education. It will include measures to strengthen and increase the provision of higher education, enhance access to and success in higher education, and support research.

Government news release [24]
October 7, 2009


Universities Restart Operations after 3 Months of Strikes

After three months of union strikes by university staff, Nigerian universities reopened in late October. Three staff unions signed a memorandum of understanding with the government and called off the industrial action after weeks of complex negotiations. A stumbling block, however, may be a lack of funds to implement the core areas agreed on by the parties because of the country’s economic crisis.

One underlying reason for the signing by the ASUU, the Senior Staff Union of Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities was to prevent an outbreak of student unrest. The National Association of Nigerian Students had warned the government that if no agreement was reached with the unions, street demonstrations would take place during the October Under-17 Junior Football World Cup being held in the country.

But the deciding factor in calling off the strike was an agreement to increase lecturers’ salaries by 53 percent, while senior and junior staff would receive 25 percent more. The increases might prevent the academic drift to the private sector, and encourage Nigerian academics abroad to take up employment in their own country.

University World News [25]
November 1, 2009


A University in the Indian Ocean

The University of Seychelles was established on September 17, 2009. This first not-for-profit university in the Seychelles offers undergraduate programs in business administration, and computing and information systems.

News Release [26]
September 17, 2009

South Africa

New Universities

According to recent media reports, two of South Africa’s provinces are to get new universities. Quoting Department of Higher Education and Training director-general, Mary Metcalfe, Business Day reported in September that Northern Cape and Mpumalanga are currently the only two of South Africa’s nine provinces that do not have public universities.

“There is no plan or time frame (but there is) political commitment,” said Metcalfe. The two provinces had national institutes of higher education and the government had been working on increasing their capacity, Metcalfe said. The Northern Cape institute [27] was established in 2003 and the Mpumalanga one in 2006, both as statutory coordinating bodies for higher education provision in the provinces.

Parliament’s portfolio committee on higher education was to start work on exploring the idea, committee chairman Marius Fransman said. The committee would look at the practicalities, from the number of potential students and the type of programs to be offered, to garnering a sense of what work the department had already done, he added.

Business Day [28]
September 21, 2009


University of Dar es Salaam Partners with Welsh University under UNESCO Program

Bangor University [29] has become the first British university to enter into a twinning partnership under UNESCO’s UNITWIN [30] Network. Scholars at the university’s School of Ocean Sciences will collaborate in the field of sustainability and marine sciences with counterparts in Tanzania.

The five-year partnership will increase the number of trained researchers and academics in Tanzania and provide more degree opportunities for students. Around 14 academics from Bangor University will be working with more than 20 researchers at the Institute of Marine Sciences [31], Zanzibar, part of the University of Dar es Salaam [32], to create a regional center of excellence in marine sciences and technology in east Africa.

UNITWIN was established in 1992 as a way to advance research, training and program development in higher education by building university networks and encouraging inter-university cooperation through transfer of knowledge across borders.

University of Bangor [33]
Septemebr 23, 2009