WENR, December 2014: Africa
Doctorate to Become Requirement for University Lecturers
Kenya has set a higher qualifications threshold for the appointment of university lecturers. In a directive to be implemented in the next five years, the Commission for Higher Education said only PhD holders would be allowed to teach at universities as lecturers.
Holders of master’s degrees, no matter the years of experience or number of publications, will only be able to be appointed as junior lecturers and tutorial fellows. Previously, universities had the leeway to appoint lecturers irrespective of whether or not they held a PhD.
Kenya has been struggling to match rising enrollments with teaching staff. According to government statistics, the number of professors in public universities has risen by just 11 percent over the past three years while student numbers have soared by 56 percent – from 140,000 in 2010 to more than 300,000 this year – generating an ever-rising student-to-lecturer ratio.
The new directive is part of a wider government plan for universities to produce at least 1,000 PhDs every year, in order to produce the next generation of academics, alleviate the lecturer shortage and provide the high-level skills Kenya’s rapidly developing economy needs. The new PhD training program is to be rolled out through scholarships.
– University World News
October 31, 2014
More Than 1,000 University Programs Officially Approved
Kenya’s Commission for University Education (CUE) has published a list of more than 1,000 approved programs at the nation’s universities, in an effort to end rows over unaccredited courses and learners obtaining degrees that are not recognized. But the move has not resolved a row over professional bodies rejecting some degrees, which has led to violent student protests and the closure of three institutions.
The commission has acted in response to growing numbers of graduates presenting university qualifications that are rejected by employers, including the government, resulting in parents losing money spent on funding children enrolled in unaccredited programs.
The commission, in a list published on its website and updated in late October, has also named 67 universities that have accreditation, are registered or have a letter of interim authority alongside the programs they are permitted to teach. Also published is a separate list containing more than 100 programs undergoing evaluation by the commission, to be offered mainly at the graduate level by private universities.
– University World News
November 20, 2014
20 New Public Universities Planned
Kenya is planning to set up at least 20 new public universities in underserved areas that currently have no institution of higher learning. The proposal is contained in a bill currently being debated in the senate, and is part of a wider strategy that is meant to make Kenya’s 47 counties self-sustaining under a devolved system of government launched last year.
The Universities Bill 2014, first tabled before the senate in October, wants to guarantee a public university in each of the counties as a center of research for the region. Institutions are expected to focus on research that addresses the needs of the national and county governments, and is relevant to the area.
Early last year, the country upgraded 15 colleges to fully-fledged universities in a bid to raise capacity for at least 10,000 extra students annually. Next year, the first group of beneficiaries of free primary education will enter university. Educationists have argued that absorbing a much larger number of students will backfire if not accompanied by a rise in funding that enables institutions to expand infrastructure and hire extra lecturers.
Government statistics show state subsidies to public universities grew by 6 percent last year to reach US$624 million, up from US$588 million in 2012. During the period, enrollments to state universities rose by 41 percent, from 195,428 to 276,349. In spite of the rapid increase in enrollments, access to university education has remained a challenge, with 70 percent of the students who qualify not being admitted.
– University World News
November 28, 2014
Higher Education System Grows Despite Questionable Standards
Higher education in Morocco continues to attract an increasing number of students and new universities have opened. But a critic of government policies has highlighted problems including a lack of teachers, stagnation of research, and reforms that have not been carried out.
Soumiya Benkhaldoun, deputy minister for higher education and scientific research, said the 2014-15 academic year had seen an increase of 47 percent in the number of students, of whom 24 percent were new enrollments, necessitating construction of 10 new universities providing 75,956 new places, and a rise of 13 percent in teaching staff, reported Libération of Casablanca.
But, said Libération, her figures did not reflect the reality of the decaying state of higher education, which it claimed was “an assessment with which everyone seems to agree.”
It quoted Mohammed Saïd Karrouk, professor of climatology at the University Hassan II in Casablanca, who told the paper: “The deficiencies of the Moroccan university are numerous, beginning with that of replacements. Today, many institutions find themselves without teaching staff because they are not replaced, and the ministry has done nothing to try to fill this gap.”
A few years ago, the Conseil Supérieur de l’Enseignement (CSE) highlighted inadequacies in the national system of scientific research. These included weak research results regarding productivity and innovation, slow adaptation to socio-economic, scientific and technological developments, and a university environment that was little suited to research and innovation, said Libération.
– University World News
November 7, 2014
English Language Providers Decry Changes to Student Visa Regulations
Changes to visa regulations introduced in May are harming South Africa’s English as a Foreign Language (EFL) market and could cause some schools to lose up to 60 percent of their business, according to Education South Africa (EduSA), the country’s association of English language providers.
Some schools are already suffering the impact of the legislation, which has caused confusion over whether incoming students traveling to study at an EFL school qualify for a student visa, with reports of embassies in several countries turning them away.
EduSA Vice Chair Shaun Fitzhenry also warned that new requirements for EFL tourists to sit visa interviews will “kill business.” Fitzhenry noted that South Africa holds only around 1 percent of the international EFL market, though its share is set to more than double over the next 10 years.
EduSA has proposed the establishment of a new visa category for accredited language schools, and has requested a meeting with the Minister for Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimandi, to present its case “objectively and clearly.” While EduSA lobbies, many of its member schools have applied for TVET college accreditation that will mean their students qualify for study visas – a process that could take anything from six weeks to six months.
– The PIE News
November 3, 2014