WENR, April 2012: Africa
Barriers to Recruiting in Africa for U.S. Graduate Schools
According to a recent blog post in the Chronicle of Higher Education by John Holm, the former director of the Office of International Education and Partnerships at the University of Botswana, there are two main impediments for U.S. graduate schools looking to recruit in Africa: the use of the GRE for admissions and the length of program.
According to the latest figures from the Council of Graduate Schools, applications to American graduate programs from African students for the fall of 2012 declined 5 percent. This despite an apparent desire among U.S. schools to recruit in Africa, and increasing ability to pay in growing economies such as Botswana, the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, and South Africa.
According to Holm, the mandatory use of the Graduate Record Exam for admission deters students from applying, especially given that the rest of the world evaluates students on their undergraduate academic record. Holm points out that, “Africans perceive, quite rightly, that they will need considerable coaching and study to do well on this type of exam since it is foreign to their previous academic experiences. Those who already have a good record, not surprisingly, are reluctant to take on the extra effort required to do well on the GRE.”
Thus, Africans heading to graduate school often see Australia, Britain, Canada, and France as more attractive, especially considering that American graduate programs typically take longer to complete than ones in Europe and elsewhere.
– Chronicle of Higher Education
April 4, 2012
Colleges to Upgrade
Kenyan Higher Education Minister Margaret Kamar announced in March that the Kenyan government will promote the country’s nine university colleges to fully fledged universities. Kamar also announced that three technical universities, the first of their kind in the country, will soon be launched. The move comes in response to a huge increase in demand for tertiary places among secondary school graduates.
– The Star
March 9, 2012
Public Spending on Universities to Increase By Over a Third
The Kenyan government plans to increase funding for its seven state universities and 13 constituent colleges by 36 percent from July, in its effort to meet burgeoning demand for tertiary studies, and to address issues related to inadequate infrastructure and staff shortages.
A government paper tabled in parliament in April shows that universities will receive KSh60 billion (US$732 million), up from the KSh44 billion they received in the current fiscal year. The increased funding will, among other things, help to build the Open University of Kenya, a new institution that will deliver programs through e-learning and print media. The new institution initially will operate from 10 regional centers. The funding is also being allocated to help develop a number of tertiary institutions that last year were upgraded to university constituent colleges.
But even with the increased higher education funding, university administrators are likely to find it difficult to deal with the surging number of students seeking admissions, after politicians last year announced a double-intake plan to admit an additional 40,000 students over the next three years. Enrollments in Kenya’s universities currently stand at 183,497 students, and the number is expected to reach 200,000 next year under the double-intake plan and following the creation of the Open University and the Pan-African University.
– University World News
April 20, 2012
Mauritius to Sign Education Agreements with Neighboring Countries to Promote Mobility and Hub Status
Mauritius will sign memoranda of understanding with Kenya and Tanzania providing for the joint recognition of educational qualifications between the countries, as it seeks to increase the international mobility of its staff and students, while encouraging the flow of international students to its shores.
Minister of Tertiary Education, Science, Research and Technology Rajeshwar Jeetah, in a statement to the press said that his government was “actively encouraging foreign investment to create a knowledge hub and make the country a regional platform offering higher education opportunities.”
Mr Jeetah also said that his government was well on its way to achieving a target of increasing the tertiary enrollment rate from the current 46 percent to 70 percent by 2015,with a view to attracting up to 100,000 foreign students by 2020.
– Africa Review
April 16, 2012
Universities Adopt Bologna Structure
Niger has become the latest West African nation to adopt the 3+2+3 bachelor-master-doctorate system based on reforms that have taken place across Eruope under the Bologna process. The LMD (licence, master, doctorat), as it is known in French speaking countries, was adopted last May in Niger under a government decree making it compulsory at all higher education institutions. This followed the adoption of the system in October 2009 by Abdou Moumouni University, the country’s largest and oldest university.
With the decree, Niger has officially complied with a 2007 West African Economic and Monetary Union directive, which also demands that member states comply with international quality standards for issuing the three different degree levels. Before implementation of the LMD system, it took four to five years to complete a bachelor’s degree in Niger.
Government officials believe that the introduction of the LMD system will allow institutions of higher education to adapt to international quality standards and better meet the needs of the economy.
France is helping fund the reforms. It has earmarked a budget of EUR1.2 million (US$1.57 million) to help Abdou Moumouni University implement the LMD system in full, while directly assisting teachers, researchers and students. Niger is also getting help from the African Development Bank, while the Network for Excellence in Higher Education in West Africa is helping to promote a new policy of academic cooperation in the region aimed at boosting the mobility and employability of students and graduates. It is hope that the adoption of the LMD system across the region will help align curricula and boost mobility.
To help meet demand in Niger for university studies, three new universities – one each in Maradi, Zinder and Tahoua – were launched in 2010 by the transitional military regime. At the time Abdou Moumouni University was the only public university in the country. The government, replaced by an elected administration in April 2011, adopted three draft ordinances establishing the universities.
– University World News
April 6, 2012
Nation Struggles to Recruit English Teachers as it Pushes to Introduce English as Language of Instruction
The Rwandan government announced plans recently to recruit 4,000 English teachers from neighboring countries as part of its mission to promote English as the language of instruction at all levels of education. However, just 600 have applied with two-thirds applying from Uganda and a third from Kenya.
Under original plans, the new instructors and teacher trainers were scheduled to start work this February and be recruited solely from Kenya, but the government decided to look at other East African countries too. The ministry of education has said that it will implement more rigorous training in teachers colleges as it seeks to supply enough qualified teachers domestically in a more sustainable manner. Additionally, the ministry has issued instructions to all primary and secondary schools to encourage students to speak English only while at school.
The move to adopt English as the language of instruction began in 2008 and its use as a medium of instruction in schools was launched in 2009, the same year that Rwanda joined the Commonwealth. As many as 43,000 Rwandan teachers have received English language training in the last three years, according to the ministry.
– New Times
April 12, 2012
Flagship University Reopens
The University of Khartoum reopened in March after being closed for two months following clashes between police and students.
Sudan’s most prestigious university was closed in December after its students staged a series of protests against the university’s administration and the police, who raided the main campus twice and used violence to stamp out demonstrations held in solidarity with Al-Manasir, a community displaced by the construction of a government dam upcountry. Later, in February, the police raided university dorms and arrested more than 300 students in anticipation of planned protests.
– Sudan Tribune
March 18, 2012
Private Universities Filling the Void
Uganda now has almost 30 private universities, about half of which have opened in the past decade. There are six publicly owned universities including the renowned Makerere University, set up by the British in 1922.
Critics interviewed by Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW) like Mahmood Mamdani, director of Makerere’s Institute of Social Research, argue that Uganda’s ‘commercialization’ of tertiary education deepens the divide between rich and poor – between those who can afford to go to private universities and those others left to go to the poorly managed public ones.
Students interviewed by RNW are of the opinion that private universities offer superior training to public alternatives, even Makerere University, which in the 1960s was hailed as ‘the Harvard of Africa.’ Critics of the public system point to a lack of funding and expansion in a time of increasing enrollments and rapid population growth, which has led to major overcrowding. Currently Makerere has over 30,000 students, compared to less than 8,000 at any of the private universities in Uganda. The Ugandan government does not agree with the criticism. Instead of investing more in public universities, President Yoweri Museveni insists that his government has created a favourable climate for opening up private institutions that cater to students’ specific needs.
– Radio Netherlands Worldwide
March 16, 2012
Major Staff Shortages Hurting Universities
A new report from the Ugandan auditor general’s office shows that there is a need for close to 3,000 lecturers and others in more senior positions in four of Uganda’s five public universities. Institutions that urgently need more academics include Makerere University, Gulu University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Kyambogo University.
In some public universities, academic staffing is below half of what is required by the National Council for Higher Education. To make matters worse, academics in public universities are leaving for jobs in well-paying private and foreign universities and non-academic jobs. At Makerere University, it was noted that only 1,403 of 2,654 academic positions were filled, leaving 1,251 positions vacant.
– New Vision
April 15, 2012
Recruiting International Students
The Ugandan government launched an international recruitment and marketing initiative in October 2010 with a goal of improving university services for international students and creating marketing tools and materials for the sector. ‘Marketing Uganda HE,’ as the program is known, wrapped up in March of this year after looking into various different projects, such as designing a blueprint for a ‘Study in Uganda’ web portal, developing a ‘Study in Uganda HE’ guide for prospective international students, and strengthening inter-university collaboration by establishing a Uganda Higher Education Marketing Network.
The project focused on assessing the capability of Ugandan higher education to recruit more international students from across the East Africa and Commonwealth regions, after a series of international and domestic reports suggested that the country was in a position to benefit from the internationalization of its education sector.
Uganda has a rich heritage in the higher education sector and today boasts a total of 29 public and private universities with academic excellence in the health sciences, HIV/AIDS and malaria research, while also developing skilled graduates to tackle the region’s development challenges. There are currently about 16,000 international students at Uganda’s universities from a total population of around 200,000 students. The data show a steady year-on-year increase in numbers, from around 3,000 students in 2004.
Most foreign students are from Kenya; others come from Rwanda, Tanzania, Sudan, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The major attraction for foreign students is the low tuition fees in Uganda, as compared to, say, Kenya. Kampala International University (KIU) enrolls the most with 6,715 international students, followed by the universities of Makerere (2,444), Bugema University (862), Islamic University in Uganda (767), Makerere University Business School (671) and Busoga (575). International students are mostly enrolled in private universities.
– Observatory of Borderless Higher Education