WENR, April 2017: Africa

Kenya: Multiple Universities Put On Notice After Identification of Degree Irregularities

A recent government audit found quality issues at most of Kenya’s 70 universities, many affecting the integrity of degrees. Specifically, auditors alleged that universities often award degrees to students who did not meet admission requirements, or who failed to complete the required years of study. The audit also found universities that offer unapproved degree programs, and some that have set up illegal satellite campuses staffed with unqualified lecturers. The audit also accused universities of rampant irregularities in the way examinations and graduations were conducted, with some university administrators reportedly having “leeway to print and change degree certificates at will.” In response, the government has ordered universities to review their academic programs and governance structures. It has given institutions a deadline of 30 days to present a road map for rectifying quality problems. For more insight into quality and higher education in Kenya, see our 2015 article, Education in Kenya [1].

The East African
March 29, 2017

Sierra Leone: Malaysian Limkokwing University Opens First Foreign Branch Campus

The Malaysia-based private Limkokwing University of Creative Technology opened a branch campus in Freetown in March, making Sierra Leone the fifth African country after Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland in which Limkokwing University maintains campuses. Limkokwing is the first transnational education provider to establish a campus in Sierra Leone. The venture also represents the first public-private partnership between the government and a private university. President Ernest Bai Koroma described the opening of the campus as part of the government’s efforts to develop human capital in the field of digital technology.

The Star
March 26, 2017

Rwanda: Ministry Temporarily Suspends Operation of Four of its 35 Universities

The Rwandan Ministry of Education is seeking to address quality problems in higher education after an audit of its 35 universities revealed low quality standards in degree programs, inadequate staffing and poor teaching facilities at several institutions. The private Rusizi International University, Mahatma Gandhi University Sinhgad Technical Education Society-Rwanda, and the Nile Source Polytechnic of Applied Arts in the Huye district were ordered to suspend operations for six months in order to address insufficiencies. Six other universities were ordered to temporarily suspend part of their course offerings in disciplines like medicine, medical laboratory technology, and nursing. The audit was carried out by external auditors from abroad, and follows earlier crackdowns on quality problems, including the suspension of degree programs in health fields at a number of universities in 2015.

University World News
March 24, 2017

Kenya: Lectures Resume at Some Universities after 54-day Strike Ends

Striking lecturers at 33 public Kenyan universities have reached an agreement with the government, and ended a strike that began on January 19. Observers feared that the strike would cause universities to suspend the current 16-week semester altogether; however, a number of universities have now resumed lectures and are reviewing options to revise the semester timetable to avoid delays in students’ graduation.

University World News
March 17, 2017

Nigeria: National University Commission Bans Non-Subject Related Programs at Specialized Universities

The Nigerian University Commission (NUC) has prohibited specialized universities in fields like agriculture, medicine, or technology to offer non-subject related programs in disciplines such as law, business, or accounting. The NUC started to withdraw accreditation for these programs after the Nigerian government decided in January 2017 to stop specialized universities from expanding their course offerings. The move was intended to re-focus these institutions on their core mandate: to train labor in their respective areas of specialization. While students currently enrolled in the dis-accredited programs will still be allowed to graduate, lecturers will be reassigned to other study programs or universities – a provision that is made possible by a general shortage of university lecturers in Nigeria. For more insight into quality and higher education in Nigeria, see our 2017 article, Education in Nigeria [2].

Premium Times
March 15, 2017

South Africa: International Enrollments Decline, But Still Popular Among African Students and Others

International student enrollments in South Africa have declined substantially in recent years due to two factors: ongoing student protests over tuition hikes and visa hurdles for ESL students. Between 2011 and 2014, international student enrollments decreased by 38 percent, from 70,000 to 43,000 students. Despite this decrease, South Africa is still the third most popular study destination for African students after France and the UK, with Zimbabwe, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo constituting the top three sending countries. South Africa remains attractive for African students because of lenient visa requirements and a relatively high quality of education combined with low tuition costs and living expenditures.

ICEF Monitor
March 13, 2017