WENR, May 2015: Africa


Six African Business Schools Forge Alliance

Six of Africa’s top business schools have forged a new association through which they will share resources and expertise, promote academic and student exchanges and conduct research aimed at boosting entrepreneurship, job creation and economic development on the continent.

The African Academic Association on Entrepreneurship (AAAE) said in a statement that it would develop cooperation – “particularly in the areas of entrepreneurship, small business development, innovation and start-ups” – through research, case studies, exchanges and academic materials and publications, professional internships and technical cooperation.

The consortium will be driven by the School of Business of the American University in Cairo until a structured steering committee system is up and running. The other participants are the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business and the University of Stellenbosch Business School in South Africa, Esca Maroc Ecole De Management of Casablanca in Morocco, Lagos Business School in Nigeria and Strathmore Business School in Kenya.

Professor Karim Elseghir, dean of the School of Business at the American University in Cairo, said the AAAE would “play a key role in leading the continent towards stronger linkages among African business schools” as well as global collaboration.

University World News [1]
April 3, 2015

International Business Schools Opening Campuses Across Africa

With an eye on Africa’s rapidly growing economies, business schools in Europe and the United States have begun expanding onto the African continent with branch campuses and international partnerships, reports University World News.

Radius – a UK-based international consulting firm – reports that it has assisted more than 10 foreign universities to open campuses in Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. Most recently, it helped Godwin College and the University of Utah, both U.S.-based institutions, to set up academic operations in Ghana.

The choice of approach is generally dependent on the nature of the program in a particular country. The University of Utah, for example, has established partnerships with several African universities and plans are underway to link those partnerships together to build a regional presence, with an extended campus in Ghana serving as the hub.

The non-profit William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan is currently working with the School of Finance and Banking in Kigali, Rwanda, while Columbia Business School is working with the Nairobi-based United States International University Africa and the University of Dar es Salaam. Brown University is working with the graduate business school at the University of Cape Town, and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is teaming up with the American University in Cairo.

According to Dr George Njenga, dean of Strathmore Business School in Kenya, the need for quality business and management education in Africa is not only about business opportunities – it is also about improving the quality of institutions that currently lack management capability. The problem is that quality business and management education is too patchy, taking into account that most business schools and business and commerce faculties in local universities lack highly qualified staff, and their learning materials and teaching methods are outdated. According to statistics from the African Management Initiative, Africa is home to only 1.4 percent of internationally recognized business schools.

“This means that there is only one business school for every 11.2 million Africans,” says AMI in a study, Catalyzing Management Development in Africa: Identifying areas for impact. This is another driving force for schools looking at Africa. Whereas about 950 business schools globally are accredited by three globally recognized bodies – the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, Association of MBAs and European Foundation for Management Development – last year only 13 were in Africa. It is currently estimated that there are just 100 business schools and universities offering MBA degrees and executive education in Africa.

University World News [2]
April 24, 2015


Kenya Drops Visa Requirement for Regional Students in Bid to Increase International Enrollments

The Kenyan government will abolish visas and special entry conditions for East Africans wishing to study at any university or college in Kenya, as it looks to boost international enrollments. Students from member countries of the East African Community (EAC) will not need to acquire a visa or an entry permit so long as they have documents showing they have been admitted to a local tertiary institution, according to Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi.

The other countries in the EAC are Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. Kaimenyi added that Kenya opening its doors to students from the rest of the EAC would also boost regional integration of education and the free movement of people. Lecturers from any of the regional countries would also be free to work in Kenya without seeking work permits.

Previously all students intending to study in Kenya had to obtain student visas or entry permits. Similarly, lecturers had to seek work permits despite repeated assurances that East Africa was integrating as a bloc regarding the free movement of labor.

University World News [3]
April 17, 2015

South Africa

South Africa Emerges as a Major Study Destination

South Africa’s popularity as a leading destination of choice for Southern Africa and other African students makes it a regional and continental hub in higher education. According to the South African Department of Higher Education and Training, students from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region constituted 5.5 percent of South Africa’s higher education enrollment and 74.3 percent of the country’s international students. The top four highest senders – Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia and Botswana – share direct borders with South Africa.

According to the findings of a recent survey of international students across seven South African universities, regional cooperation efforts – which included governmental policies and financial incentives – were key draws for SADC students. And for most SADC and other African students, South Africa offered quality higher education that surpassed what was available or accessible in their home countries, which for many equate to enhanced job mobility and opportunities.

Affordable tuition fees and cost of living compared to European and North American destinations was also a major appeal for those in South Africa. For SADC students in particular, the regional agreement made tuition comparable to studying at home, thus making tuition fees more affordable for them than elsewhere. However, South Africa is not only a regional hub, but also an emerging global destination. Among students from Western nations, studying abroad in countries outside Europe and North America in order to experience diverse cultures has become increasingly popular. Globally, South Africa is ranked 14th as a preferred destination for international students and is the only African country featured in the OECD higher education reporting.

The top non-African sending countries are the U.S. and the countries of Western Europe, with the U.S. sending most and Germany sending half of their students as non-degree-seeking students. The same holds true for some other Western European countries, including France and the Netherlands.  Non-Africans viewed the location as attractive, but for opposite reasons, which were related to getting away from home and experiencing a culture unlike their own.

University World News [4]
April 3, 2015

South African Branch of Pan-African University Set for 2016 Launch

The Pan African University Institute for Space Sciences to be hosted by South Africa is slated to enroll its first students in January 2016, completing the creation of research and PhD training nodes for Africa’s five regions and ending years of politicking. A decision has also been made to base the continental university’s headquarters in Cameroon.

A roadmap for implementing the Institute for Space Sciences, or PAUISS, was agreed to during talks between the African Union (AU) and the South African government in Pretoria last month. The AU said in a statement that a team of South African officials would finalize the plan to ensure that 2016 admissions become a reality. Which institution would host the institute was not stated, but Stellenbosch University has previously been mentioned.

Selecting a country to host the Southern African node of the Pan African University – a continental institution comprising centers of excellence based in existing universities and aimed at strengthening research and PhD training across Africa – has been fraught with difficulties, reports University World News. Nonetheless, South Africa was finally settled on last year.

The university, established in 2010, proved skeptics wrong when it admitted its first batches of graduate students in 2012 to four nodes in Kenya, Cameroon, Algeria and Nigeria. The first 54 master’s students graduated from the Institute of Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Kenya in November 2014. A further 100 masters and PhD students from 20 countries enrolled in February this year, most of them from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria. The PAU’s other operational nodes are the Institute of Water and Energy Sciences at Tlemcen University in Algeria; the Institute of Life and Earth Sciences at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria; and the Institute of Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Yaoundé in Cameroon.

University World News [5]
April 10, 2015

New Health Sciences University Opens

The Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University was officially opened in April north of the capital Pretoria, and according to President Jacob Zuma, during a speech at the opening ceremony, it represents the government’s commitment to education and skills development.

The new institution is, according to Zuma, South Africa’s first “standalone health sciences university,” offering diplomas, degrees and graduate programs. Zuma said the government will continue to invest in education and skills as the key to economic growth and development. Two new universities were opened in 2014: the Sol Plaatje University in the Northern Cape and the University of Mpumalanga. Both provinces did not previously have a university.

“South Africa today is faced with an extensive shortage and an inadequate distribution of health professionals. We have an undersupply of new and appropriately trained health science graduates, which is why we need to focus intensively on producing this important health professional core,” he said.

The new university has an initial enrollment of 5,034 students, a number which is projected to double by 2024.

SA Government News Agency [6]
April 15, 2015

Qualifications Authority Introduces New Credential Verification Measures

The SA Qualifications Authority (SAQA) is introducing new regulations on the evaluation of qualifications obtained from foreign institutions to curb the submission of fake degrees. It has also introduced new security features on its certificate of evaluation which compares the foreign qualification with those offered in South Africa.

The new regulations are contained in a draft policy which will see each application for evaluation of qualifications obtained abroad going through a stringent verification process. Previously, SAQA only verified the authenticity of some of the foreign institutions and their qualifications if there was suspicion about their legitimacy. With the new policy, all applications will go through this process.

This comes amid a heightened prevalence of fake qualifications worldwide in both the private and public sector. South Africa’s new ambassador to Washington, Mninwa Mahlangu, was recently embroiled in controversy after his BA degree was found to have been issued by the unaccredited University of Fairfax in the U.S. The institution is said to have existed since 1986 but was discontinued in 2004, nearly nine years after Mahlangu was awarded the degree.

South African ambassador to Japan, Mohau Pheko, was also entangled in a qualifications scandal after it emerged she had done course work for her PhD with an unaccredited institution overseas. The institution, LaSalle University, was shut down in 1996 but Pheko claimed to have obtained her doctorate in 2000.

SAQA said in April that it was experiencing an increased number of applications for evaluation of qualifications, particularly from government departments. This follows a cabinet directive that all government departments and entities should strictly verify their employees’ qualifications with SAQA instead of using private verification agencies.

Independent Online [7]
April 12, 2015


Overseas Scholarship Program Slashed

In the face of Zimbabwe’s new economic crisis, the government has said it will significantly reduce funding for its presidential scholarship program. The country has entered into its worst economic crisis since 2009, when adoption of the United States dollar and South African rand as legal tender wiped out record inflation that had reached 2.3 million percent when the Zimbabwe dollar was in use.

The current cash crisis has seen the government sometimes failing to pay workers, which prompted a lecturer strike in March. The presidential scholarship fund, which was initiated in 1995, uses state funds to finance talented but disadvantaged students to attend foreign universities. Over 5,000 students have graduated from the program since its inception.

South African institutions have featured strongly in the scheme, with the University of Fort Hare – Mugabe’s alma mater – being the first to participate. In recent years the scheme has expanded to cover 14 other universities in South Africa. Vice-president Emmerson Mnangagwa said in March that the government would reduce the number of scholarships and concentrate on setting up training centers within the country instead.

The Zimbabwe National Students Union, the country’s largest student association, has long opposed the scholarship fund, saying that it has been abused to benefit children of the president’s cronies. Students who receive scholarships must commit to work for the government for a period after graduation. But most beneficiaries have been reluctant to return home to a country with a nearly 90 percent unemployment rate and political as well as economic uncertainty.

University World News [5]
April 10, 2015