WENR, July/August 2015: Africa


South Africa Dominates Africa University Rankings

A new university ranking compiled by Thomson Reuters has listed the top 10 tertiary institutions on the African continent, led by South Africa’s University of Cape Town.

The ranking looks specifically at university reputation, which reflects a university’s ability to recruit high-quality staff and students, establish valuable international partnerships, and connect with greater funding prospects. The group determined its ranking by analyzing all its reputation survey results to date (2010-14), which contain more than 1.5 million individual data points and have recorded 65,000 responses, covering 6,500 of the world’s leading universities across 105 disciplines.

The ranking is dominated by South African universities in the first six places, with the University of Cape Town as the clear regional leader in academic reputation, followed by the universities of the Witwatersrand, Stellenbosch, Pretoria, KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg. Next on the list are Cairo University, Ain Shams University (also in Egypt), Makerere University in Uganda and the University of Ghana.

Business Tech [1]
May 26, 2015

Report: Higher Education the Key to Africa’s Economic Future

In the last two decades, African countries have made considerable progress in the face of global economic downturns. But future growth will depend on the development of quality tertiary education, which also holds the continent’s hope for reducing population explosion, according to the African Economic Outlook 2015, published in May.

The report noted that with Africa’s population set to triple by 2050, ambitious higher education policies would reduce population pressure, boost youth employability, foster a more educated labor force and decrease gender inequality in education achievement and in the job market.

The report predicts that if African governments fast track their tertiary education systems, the move would also improve the continent’s activity ratio by increasing the number of workers to 200 for every 100 dependants. Currently, the ratio stands at 133 workers for every 100 dependants. More importantly, such fast-tracking policies would increase the number of workers with postsecondary degrees to almost 650 million by 2060, compared with 31 million in 2010. The basic case scenario that is being recommended for Africa is that of constant enrollment in school and fast-tracking most students to attain higher education and skills.

The report calls for radical reforms to tertiary education systems that are currently too generalized and instill few of the practical skills that small businesses or self-employment require. It noted with concern that currently only less than 5 percent of postsecondary school students are enrolled in technical and vocational programs in Africa. But the situation is even worse at the university level, where Africa has the highest share of social science and humanities graduates of any region in the world and the lowest share of engineers.

University World News [2]
May 29, 2015

South Africa

Government Shutters 42 Diploma Mills

Forty-two colleges and universities offering fake and unaccredited programs were shuttered by the government in May. According to the Department of Higher Education and Training, they include three bogus universities, which purported to be U.S.-based and offered degrees in 15 days. They are Barkley University, Study for Career Success and Fargo University. Higher Education and Training Department spokesperson Khaye Nkwanyana said the department was making progress against bogus colleges.

The Independent Institute of Education called on prospective students to scrutinize colleges before enrolling as it was easy to identify credible institutions because the higher education sector in South Africa was highly regulated. The institute said key information about institutions was available in the Register of Private Higher Education Institutions which is maintained by the Department of Higher Education and Training.

All legitimate institutions must show a certificate of registration, which shows programs accredited by the Higher Education Quality Committee of the Council on Higher Education. Furthermore, all qualifications must be registered on the National Qualifications Framework maintained by the South African Qualifications Authority.

The New Age  [3]
May 21, 2015


Universities Urged to Increase Enrollments

Ten years ago, the then Makerere University chancellor, Professor Apolo Nsibambi, urged universities in East Africa to prepare for increasing demand for higher education. He has not veered from that position, but his advice has not been embraced by other institutions, according to a recent article in The Observer.

A recent report by the Turkey-based World Bulletin cites statistics published by Professor Mayunga Nkunya, executive secretary for the Inter-University Council for East Africa, who says there are 720,000 students in East Africa’s 178 universities. According to this study, only 4.2 percent of youths in the 18-25 age bracket have access to university education, while 6.4 percent are enrolled in non-university tertiary training institutions.

“These enrollment rates are not only the lowest in Africa, but [the lowest] in the world,” said Nkunya. “Education [officials] and stakeholders, as well as policy-makers, must address this crisis.”

In Uganda, the proportion of students going to university is at an all time low, according to data from the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE).

The Observer [4]
June 8, 2015