WENR, October 2013: Africa


Plans Develop for North African Higher Education Area

Plans by the Francophone University Association [1] (Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie – AUF) to develop a North African higher education and research ‘space’ to enhance cooperation between French-language universities across the region were advanced in September at a meeting in Algeria.

The AUF is a global network of French-speaking higher education and research institutions aimed at establishing international academic and scientific communities that produce and transmit knowledge. The meeting discussed management, objectives and an action plan, but the structure of the Maghreb higher education ‘space’ was not decided.

The Maghreb higher education space – which includes Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia – will focus on creating structures and mechanisms to help harmonize higher education systems, and to institutionalize cooperation and facilitate the mobility of students and staff between French-language universities in the region.

University World News [2]
September 14, 2013


U. of Liberia to Admit 1,800 Students Who Failed Entry Exam

Liberia’s main state-run university has agreed to admit 1,800 school-leavers who failed this year’s admission exam.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf told the BBC she had held talks with officials at the University of Liberia [3] over the failure of every single candidate who took the exam this spring. Nearly 25,000 school leavers failed the test, with officials saying they did not have a basic grasp of English.

President Sirleaf said the university, one of two state-run universities in Liberia, had set a higher standard for admission this year, leading to the mass failure. It is unclear how the 1,800 who will be admitted were selected.

BBC [4]
August 27, 2013

South Africa

University Demand Outweighs Supply

With university application deadlines for first-year entrants drawing to a close in early September, South Africa’s Department of Higher Education and Training [5] was readying itself to provide alternatives for hundreds of thousands of prospective students who were not going to be admitted, reports Independent Online.

The number of applications received by many of the major universities had already far exceeded the number of spaces available – despite the fact that there was still four weeks to go before the deadline at the end of September.

In Gauteng, Wits University had received more than 34,000 first-year applications by the beginning of September. The institution, however, can only accommodate 5,500 first-year students. The University of Pretoria had received over 30,000 applications, but can only take 16,500 undergraduate students. The University of Johannesburg had received about 40,000 applications and only has room for 10,800 first-year students.

It is hoped that two new universities – in Northern Cape and Mpumalanga – whose construction began this month – will help ease admissions bottlenecks moving forward. Those who won’t find a place at a university are likely to end up at Further Education and Training Colleges (FETs), which – in spite of the department’s attempts to rejuvenate them through hefty financial grants and human resource development initiatives – continue to be perceived as last resorts by many students.

The Star [6]
September 3, 2013

U.S. For-Profit Buys 50 Percent Stake in South Africa-Based Australian Campus

Monash South Africa [7] and Laureate Education [8] have announced a partnership that will enable the local higher education provider operated by Australia’s Monash University to expand its student enrollment and academic offerings. For Laureate, the initiative will allow it to expand its base across developing nations.

The Laureate International Universities network currently includes more than 72 accredited campus-based and online universities across 30 countries in North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

For Monash, the deal is aimed at growing Monash South Africa by expanding its regional and Sub-Saharan African presence. It also frees up the capital that the parent institution has invested in South Africa. There are currently students from more than 50 countries earning degrees in business and economics, information technology, social sciences and health sciences. Monash was the first foreign university to gain registration as a private higher education institution in South Africa, and opened to students in 2001 northwest of Johannesburg. Since then it has grown from 400 to 4,000 students.

According to a recent article [9] in The Australian, Laureate will take over and run the Monash South Africa campus. Monash would continue responsibility for academic matters in a model that, it said, closely replicated its successful campus in Malaysia with the private Sunway group. The deal includes purchasing the freehold land and buildings and will see Laureate’s stake in the joint company increase to over 50 percent in the next few years. Financing was provided by a US$150 million grant from the International Finance Corporation, an arm of the World Bank that among other areas finances investment in higher education in developing nations. Under the terms of the investment, the IFC becomes an almost 5 percent stakeholder in Laureate.

University World News [10]
September 14, 2013