WENR, June 2010: Africa


Minister Calls for More Private Universities with Just 50% of Eligible School Leavers Currently Finding Tertiary Places

Alex Tettey-Enyo, Ghana’s Minister of Education, said at a recent commencement speech that his government will encourage the establishment of more accredited private tertiary institutions to increase student enrollment in the West African country.

According to the minister, who was speaking at the inaugural ceremony and matriculation for the first round of 60 students at Accra’s Radford University College, Ghana’s public institutions of higher education currently enroll just 50 percent of eligible school leavers, with private institutions enrolling a further 5 percent.

As a side note, at the ceremony, founder and chairman of the College, Nana Worae Wiredu announced a newly signed partnership with Canada’s University of Fraser Valley in British Columbia. According to Wiredu, the exchange of students, staff and faculty will start from next academic year (2011).

Ghana Web [1]
May 5, 2010


An additional 40,000 to Gain Admission to Universities this Year

Kenya’s public universities have long suffered from a severe shortage of places, and this year things look set to get even worse as they will be required to enroll an additional 40,000 students to their already crammed lecture halls, despite a proposed 2010-11 budget increase of only 4 percent.

For decades, high school leavers have been forced to wait two years after graduating to enter public higher education because of the backlog of students qualified for further studies. Looking to clear the backlog, Kenyan education officials have decided to create an additional 40,000 government-sponsored places at existing institutions.

Last year, Kenya had an estimated 140,000 students in higher education, with 110,000 in public universities and 30,000 in private institutions – compared with some 91,500 students in 2005, according to government statistics. Universities enroll approximately 65,000 new students annually on government-sponsored (regular) and self-sponsored (parallel) programs. Those financing their education on parallel programs do not have to wait to start their studies, which is what has prompted the government to create the additional places.

With the overcrowding that currently exists at Kenyan universities, it will undoubtedly be hard to cater to the additional students, and education officials are therefore calling for much greater public expenditures on education to help address the overcrowding and faculty shortages. Kenya currently has an estimated 8,000 lecturers, and experts believe double that number is needed to meet demand.

Kenya has seven public universities, 13 newly established constituent colleges attached to the state universities, and 23 private universities. Stakeholders in education are fearful that the double intake program will greatly erode already low quality levels. Demand is not likely to ease up either with the recent introduction of tuition free primary education for all, and heavily subsidized secondary education, both of which have led to vastly improved school attendance and graduation rates.

Business Daily [2]
May 10, 2010


China to Fund New Science University

The Chinese government will provide the funding for the construction of a new science university in Malawi as part of an ambitious plan to open five new institutions of higher education within the next decade, President Bingu wa Mutharika has said.

In a speech delivered at the official opening of parliament’s budget meeting on May 24, wa Mutharika said China had already approved funding for the Malawi University of Science and Technology, which is to be located in the southern Thyolo district.

Analysts believe China has launched a program of goodwill on the continent in recent years following allegations it was only after Africa’s resources to fuel its own development. China has become the continent’s biggest trade partner, overtaking the United States.

The new university will reportedly offer programs in health and medical sciences, applied engineering and technology, earth and climate change sciences and cancer research, among other disciplines.

The President said the opening of five new institutions would result in the abolition of the controversial quota system in which entry into university is determined by place of origin rather than merit, a system that has fueled tribalism, according to experts.

University World News [3]
June 6, 2010


Institute of Peace to Open

Concerned that very few people involved in conflict resolution are trained to either prevent or settle disputes, government officials and academics have signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Ibadan [4] to establish an Institute of Peace.

Former president Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, in collaboration with local and international agencies, decided to set up the institute at Ibadan, one of Nigeria’s premier tertiary institutions. The objective is to train officials in both the public and private sectors to find solutions to conflicts in Nigeria and in the sub-region.

The Department of Technical Cooperation in the Nigerian presidency is one of the agencies responsible for establishing the institute. Its director general, Sule Yakubu, suggested the institute would eventually open to other nations in West Africa and across the continent. Yakubu also disclosed there were ongoing discussions with officials of the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States to expand the scope of the institute’s planned syllabus to give it a pan-African character.

University World News [5]
May 23, 2010


First Batch of New Professional Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded

The first professional bachelor’s degrees in West Africa have been awarded. They were developed in line with French reforms associated with the new European Bologna degrees, and in cooperation with French educational authorities. The new degrees have been awarded in fields of study from food transformation, to tourism and information and communication technologies.

Sud Quotidien [6]
April 13, 2010


Southern African Regional Universities Association Looks to Rebuild HE in Zimbabwe

The Cape Town Accord and Call for Action of the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) Leadership Dialogue on Rebuilding Higher Education in Zimbabwe aims at building solidarity among higher education institutions in the Southern African region in support of Zimbabwean higher education.

May 2010