WENR, June/July 2012: Africa


Pan-African University Begins Enrolling in 3 Countries

The Pan African-University [1] (PAU) has begun recruiting for its inaugural class of graduate students, expected to begin classes this year. This is the strongest signal yet that the international institution is finally taking off after years of planning and sometimes fraught negotiations.

The African Union-driven continental university hopes to increase the supply in Africa of high-level skills through graduate training and research. It has invited students to join three of its five satellite campuses in Kenya [2], Cameroon and Nigeria [3]. Students interested in masters and PhD courses were given until June 30 to apply.

The satellite campuses include Kenya’s PAU Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation, at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya; the PAU Institute for Life and Earth Sciences at the University of Ibadan [4] in Nigeria; and the PAU Institute for Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Yaoundé II [5] in Cameroon. Algeria has launched a campus of the PAU specializing in water, renewable energy sciences and climate change, based at the University of Algeria [6] but initially located at two other institutions. It will reportedly admit 40 PhD and 50 masters students this September.

In June, the Chinese government signed a financing deal [7] with Jomo Kenyatta University that will see China help build infrastructure at the PAU facility. Germany is supporting the North African node in Algeria.

University World News [8]
July 1, 2012


Nigerians in Ghana Beware!

Demand for higher education in Nigeria is at an all time high, as ever more students graduate from secondary school; however, universities have not been able to keep up with demand. As a result, Nigerian students are looking abroad for alternatives, and Ghana is proving to be a popular option. However, while there are many well respected universities in the West African nation, an industry of less-reputed private institutions is springing up to meet demand and questions are being raised about the quality of education being imparted.

Ghana is generally considered an attractive study destination for Nigerians looking to go abroad. The countries share a common language (English) and history (of British colonial rule). Ghana has many highly regarded public institutions and in the 2012 world ranking of top universities in Africa, all of Ghana’s six public universities fared better than their Nigerian counterparts, with the University of Ghana coming in 14th overall.

Nonetheless, a new class of Ghanaian private institutions is reportedly threatening this reputation. Many of these institutions – privately owned by either individuals or faith-based organizations – are officially recognized by the National Accreditation Board of Ghana, and, in most cases, are affiliates of more established public institutions, which ‘oversee’ their curriculum, and issue the students’ degrees and/or certificates directly.

However, on arrival, students are frequently finding that many institutions are little more than a floor of a multiple-story building, with many only offering one program – which the school then awards at multiple levels: diplomas, degrees, and masters’ certificates (based on how much students pay). In some of these schools, as much as 90 percent of the student body is from Nigeria, suggesting highly targeted recruitment and agent strategies, with referral programs available for existing students willing to bring friends and families to their institution. Officials at the Nigerian High Commission in Ghana are aware of the situation, and urge parents to be more selective about the universities they send their children to in Ghana.

“There is a preponderance of Nigerians, most of them in some institutions that the embassy is not comfortable with,” says one such official, Mr. Mohammed Kurmawa. He says that in many cases, the growing desire to see children obtain a university education is overwhelming, and clouds the judgment of parents – who simply see the low costs and flexible admissions of these private universities.

Daily Trust [9]
May 17, 2012


Indian Institute of Technology to Open Campus

The Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi [10] has announced the opening next year of a branch campus in Mauritius. The Indian Ocean island is seeking the help of IIT Delhi to set up a research-oriented academy. The institute is slated to be operational next year and will engage in research and development for the first five years.

The new institution, to be called International Institute of Technology and funded by a US$20 million investment, will reportedly draw on the expertise of approximately 40 IIT Delhi academics, who will be asked to give up a month of their time to the offshore institution.

Mauritius is aiming to attract 100,000 foreign students a year within the next five to 10 years. To achieve this, it needs internationally prestigious institutions to set up campuses on the island, according to government officials. The IIT will join a long list of private foreign tertiary institutions opening branches in Mauritius. Some 66 overseas institutions and examination bodies are operating locally, 36 of them from the UK, eight from France-Réunion, eight from India, five from Australia, four from South Africa, two each from Malaysia and the United States, and one from Sudan. The number of students pursuing tertiary education in the private sector, or directly with an overseas-based institution, reached nearly 11,700 in 2010 – up 9.4 percent on the previous year – and numbers have been steadily rising in recent years.

University World News [11]
June 7, 2012


University of Lagos Name Change Blocked Amid Protests

Police fired tear gas at several hundred students and unemployed youths in late May in Nigeria’s largest city as they were protesting a presidential decision to rename the University of Lagos [12], one of the nation’s top universities.

The protests stemmed from a decision by President Goodluck Jonathan to change the name of the university to Moshood Abiola University, in honor of a political prisoner who died in jail over a decade ago. Abiola was a businessman widely believed to be the winner of a 1993 presidential poll annulled by then-military ruler Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.

The Nigerian Federal High Court, in late June granted a temporary order blocking the federal government from renaming the University of Lagos, popularly known as UNILAG.

Star Tribune [13]
June 26, 2012

South Africa

South African Private Provider Expands into Four African Countries

Private education giant Educor [14] will become the first South African institution to establish foreign branch campuses, with operations in four new African countries – Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Ghana – under its Intec [15] and Damelin brands.

Julian Kannigan, chief executive officer of Educor Africa, the new African arm of Educor, told University World News that the absence of a serious further education player in Africa – apart from public distance education providers such as the University of South Africa – would make Educor the first real continental player in further education and training.

The group already has a physical presence in Namibia and Botswana and distance learning colleges currently enroll students from various African countries. It has some 2,000 staff members and over 70,000 students in more than 30 sites in South Africa.

University World News [16]
July 1, 2012


Higher Ed Anti-Corruption Website Launched

A new website called Not in My Country [17] has been created to allow for reports of corruption, harassment or incompetence at universities in Uganda.

The idea behind the website – which also includes faculty ratings similar to RateMyProfessor.com in the United States – is that a system for anonymous reporting is badly needed for higher education in the country.

Other anti-corruption efforts have used what the site calls a “top-down” method for change — focusing on systemic change through repairing institutions, the site said. Notinmycountry.org, however, focuses on the individual experience within academic institutions.

The Wall Street Journal [18]
May 24, 2012

Ugandan Ministers Promote Nation as Regional Education Hub

Uganda’s Minister of Trade Amelia Kyambadde and Education Minister Jessica Alupo led a delegation to Rwanda in July for a three-day higher education exhibition intended to showcase Uganda as a hub of university education in East and Southern Africa.

According to a news release from the Ministry of Trade, the event served as a platform for Rwanda and Uganda to tap into mutually accessible and diverse knowledge pools, in addition to cementing socio-cultural relations.

Since liberalization in the late 1990s, there has been an increase of 89 percent in the number of licensed universities in Uganda. There are currently 16,000 foreign students at Uganda’s 29 universities, according to 2010 statistics from the National Council of Higher Education [19].

New Vision [20]
July 8, 2012