WENR, June 2017: Africa

Nigeria: Two Thirds of Illegal Nigerian Migrants in Europe Are University Graduates

68 percent of the 37,000 Nigerians who tried to cross over to Europe on the Mediterranean Sea in 2016 were university graduates, according to UN statistics. The migrants were mostly young adults seeking to better their economic prospects in light of missing employment opportunities in Nigeria. Some 9,000 migrants reportedly died in the desert or on the sea passage en route to Europe.

June 1, 2017

Ethiopia: Government Shuts Down Internet to Prevent Cheating in National Exams

On May 30th, the government of Ethiopia blocked the country’s internet service to prevent the leaking of exam questions before 1.2 million students sat for the national grade 10 exams on May 31st. Last year, the government already took similar steps when it blocked social media sites like Facebook and Twitter after university entrance exam questions had been leaked online. Despite having one of the lowest internet connectivity rates in the world, Ethiopia is known for vigorously curtailing internet access for political reasons. Anti-government protests that erupted since 2015 have caused the government to declare a state of emergency in 2016 and to shut down the mobile internet and ban the use of social media.

Quartz Africa
May 31, 2017

South Sudan: Underfunded Public Universities in Danger of Closure

Professor John Apurot Akec, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Juba, South Sudan’s largest university, has warned that the country’s public universities are in danger of closure should funding not be increased. South Sudan, which is currently suffering from an economic crisis, has five public universities with 20,000 students combined, half of whom are enrolled at the University of Juba. Universities lack vital infrastructure, since public funds are almost exclusively used to pay the salaries of instructors. Tuition fees, which pay for operating costs, are capped by the government while inflation has skyrocketed. The market value of professor salaries at the University of Juba has reportedly decreased from the equivalent of USD $3,000 in 2015 to less than USD $200 per month in 2017 with the majority earning less than USD $100 – a fact that has caused many instructors to look for alternative employment.

Juba Monitor
May 24, 2017

Pan-Africa: East African Higher Education Community Officially Declared

Ten years in the making, the East African Higher Education Community (EAHC) has been officially declared by East African heads of state at a summit meeting in Tanzania in May 2017. The EAHC is an agreement that aims to facilitate cross-border education and mobility between Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda (South Sudan is expected to join in the future). It will introduce a standardized credit transfer system that will allow students to freely transfer credits between institutions and to enroll in more than 110 universities in the EAHC area. Academic credentials will be mutually recognized between countries as long as degree holders register their credentials in a regional qualification register. The agreement is expected to increase student and labor mobility, and lead to the further harmonization of education systems that still differ in terms of curricula, quality and duration of degree programs.

University World News
May 19, 2017

Morocco: Degrees from Private Universities Now Officially Recognized

The Moroccan Ministry of Education has taken an important step in advancing private education in Morocco by recognizing the degrees of eight private universities. Private education is relatively new in Morocco. It was not before 2016 that Rabat International University became the first private university to be officially recognized in the country. The move is driven by concerns about deteriorating conditions at public universities, said to be plagued by inadequate infrastructure, strikes, overcrowding and a lack of professors. The government hopes that private higher education can increase competition and assist the transformation of Morocco into a knowledge-based economy. Critics, on the other hand, are concerned that placing private and public universities on equal footing will lead to the gradual privatization of higher education in Morocco.

University World News
May 19, 2017

Pan-Africa: One in Four African Students Expected to be enrolled in Fast-growing Private Sector by 2021

A study by the investment and advisory firm Caerus Capital estimates that 66 million Africans, or one in four students, will be studying at private institutions by 2021. Between 2005 and 2013, enrollments at private institutions in both secondary and higher education grew at a faster rate than enrollments in the public sector – a trend said to be caused by population growth, urbanization, the emergence of middle classes and the spread of technology. Tight government budgets and capacity shortages at public institutions have created a void that is increasingly filled by private providers. At the same time, the growth of private education is unlikely to drastically increase access to education to Africa, where an estimated 30 million primary school-age children currently do not participate in education. The growth of private education is also controversial, since it may deepen social inequalities.

Quartz Africa
May 10, 2017