WENR, May 2017: Africa
South Africa: Law Programs at Four Universities May Lose Accreditation
After a review of law programs at 17 universities, South Africa’s Council on Higher Education (CHE) has put four universities on notice for quality problems at their law programs. The institutions must address the issues within the next two years or the progams may lose accreditation. The affected universities are North-West University, the University of South Africa, the University of the Free State, and Walter Sisulu University. Among the problems found at these universities are high student-to lecturer ratios, poor integration of black students, and inadequate racial diversity among students and teaching staff. The CHE also criticized low admission requirements and discrepancies between programs offered at different campuses. For more insight into equity and quality in South African education, see this month’s overview of Education in South Africa.
Mail & Guardian
Pan-Africa: Over 20 Percent of Africa’s Children Missing Out On School Due to War
According to UNICEF’s chief of education, Josephine Bourne, over 25 million African children are missing out on school in conflict zones. The most affected countries are South Sudan and Chad, where the rates of out-of school children at the elementary level are as high as 72 and 50 percent, respectively. The countries with the highest rates of out-of school children at the lower -secondary level are Niger (68 percent), South Sudan (60 percent), and the Central African Republic with 55 percent. Just over one fifth of all African children, mostly aged between six and 15 years, are hindered from participation in education due to war.
Kenya: Government Eases Restrictions on Universities
Kenya’s government has eased two key restrictions on universities. The government lifted a ban on diploma and certificate programs at universities,. A previous ban these programs to the college sector, depriving universities of significant revenue. Revised rules will allow universities to enroll more than 50,000 prospective students who do not qualify for admission into regular degree programs. The government has also decided to allow universities to employ lecturers who do not hold Ph.D. degrees. The decision is intended to curb the proliferation of fake Ph.D. degrees, which followed an earlier ban on lecturers without doctoral qualifications. The move also eases lecturer shortages in Kenya, where only an estimated five percent of university graduates in the past three years graduated with master’s or doctoral degrees.
University World News
Rwanda: Digitization of School System Moves Forward
Rwanda’s government anticipates that 500 schools in the country will have “smart classrooms” connected to the internet by August of 2017. The effort is part of a partnership with Microsoft Corporation to bring computers, internet connectivity and basic software packages to all of Rwanda’s schools by 2020. Computer-based learning is expected to decrease the cost of education and teaching materials, and facilitate access to education in Rwanda, where presently only 531 out of the 3,500 existing schools are connected to the internet. Rwanda has made the digitization of education a priority. The country was in 2015 ranked as one of the top ten performers for ICT development in Africa by the World Economic Forum.
PM News Nigeria
Zimbabwe: Government Seeks to Criminalize Issuance of Degrees by Non-Accredited Institutions
Zimbabwe’s government is proposing a new higher education law that would make it illegal for non-accredited institutions to issue degrees. The measure is intended to contain degree mills ,and protect Zambian citizens from falling prey to these institutions. The bill, which is expected to be finalized by the end of July, also seeks to reform Zimbabwe’s universities, enabling them to better stimulate economic growth.
University World News
Egypt: More International Students Sought to Increase Foreign Currency Reserves
Egypt’s government hopes to increase international student enrollments in order to turn Egyptian universities into a source of foreign currency revenue. The Ministry of Higher Education has partnered with the Ministry of Tourism to advertise Egyptian universities in tourism exhibitions, and instructed overseas cultural offices to participate in education fairs, particularly in the Persian Gulf region. The government also plans to establish foreign student offices at all of the country’s higher education institutions. The initiatives are motivated by the country’s need for greater foreign currency reserves, which have been depleted by a decrease in foreign investment and other factors. Between 2012 and 2017, Egypt hosted 41,000 foreign undergraduate students and 50,360 foreign graduate students. See related WENR article Academic Mobility in the Middle East and Egypt: If not West, Where Will Students Go?
April 19, 2017