WENR, May 2018: Africa
Nigeria: Severe Capacity Shortages in Higher Education Persist
Despite increased capacity at federal and private universities, less than 40 percent of applicants presently gain access to university in Nigeria. In 2017 and 2018, 1,736,571 and 1,662,762 applicants sat for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), respectively, but Nigeria’s universities and colleges only had capacity for slightly more than 600,000 of these applicants. Given these shortages, the competitive admissions process in Nigeria has been blamed for the spread of examinations fraud. After the National University Commission banned post-UTME entrance examinations that had been used by several universities, higher education institutions now screen applicants increasingly based on their scores in the secondary school leaving examination (in addition to the UTME). This incentives students to engage in examinations fraud to improve their chances for university admissions. The severe shortage of university seats also fuels growing outbound mobility among students who can afford to study abroad. Increasing numbers of Nigerian students study in foreign countries like the U.K., Ghana, the U.S., Canada or Malaysia.
Cameroon: Schools in Anglophone Regions Remain Affected by Civil War
The armed conflict between separatist rebels in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon and the Francophone-dominated central government continues to impede education in the region. Education institutions, including the University of Buea, have been intermittently closed or shuttered since November 2016 by fighting between the army and “Ambazonian independence movement”, which seeks greater autonomy for the Anglophone regions. While some schools reopened in October 2017, the conflict has since intensified and the government has declared a state of war in the affected regions in November. Recent reports suggest that rebels have attacked schools for not obeying calls for a strike and abducted staff. According to the government, at least 30 schools have been attacked this year with dozens of teachers having been killed or injured in the assaults.
South Africa: New Research Report Highlights Achievements and Problems in Education
A new research report published by the Centre for Risk Analysis concludes that a lack of education remains the biggest obstacle to socioeconomic advancement in South Africa, despite tremendous progress in past decades. On the upside, the percentage of people above the age of 20 without schooling has dropped from 13 percent in 1995 to 4.8 percent in 2016, while the percentage of people with a degree increased from 2.9 percent to 4.9 percent. Participation rates in higher education grew from 15.4 percent in 2002 to 18.6 percent in 2015 and total university enrollments increased by 100 percent since 1995. The ratio of white to black university graduates reversed from 3.7 to 1 in 1991 to 0.3 to 1 in 2015. On the downside, less than half of children survive until grade twelve and only 28 percent of the population above the age of 20 has completed high school. Only 3.1 percent of black people have a university degree compared to 18.3 percent of whites and 13.9 percent of Indian people. The tertiary participation rate among black people is low and stands at merely 15.6 percent compared to 52.8 percent and 49.3 percent, respectively, among white and Indian people. The expansion of the education system has affected educational quality and the unemployment rate for tertiary qualified people has nearly doubled from 7.7 percent in 2008 to 13.2 percent today.
Centre for Risk Analysis
Somalia: The Somali National University Sets Up New Branch Campus
In what is big and positive news in the war-torn country of Somalia, the Somali National University (SNU) is building its first branch campus outside the capital of Mogadishu. The campus will serve students from the central regions of Somalia and will have capacity for approximately 1,000 students. It is expected that the new campus will stimulate economic development in the region and make it easier for nearby students to take up studies, helping them avoid expenses and time to travel to Mogadishu. The creation of the campus is a sign of improving conditions in parts of Somalia after the civil war shuttered many academic institutions. SNU itself was effectively closed between 1990 and 2014. Since then, a number of private institutions have opened up and the rector of SNU is hopeful that the university can extend education to other regions of Somalia in the future.
University World News
Zimbabwe: Government to Create Innovation Hubs at Universities
The government of Zimbabwe has announced that it will allocate USD $5 million to promote technological innovation at selected public universities. The goal is to transform Zimbabwe’s universities from mere teaching institutions to innovation hubs that can help the industrialization and modernization of the country. The universities that will receive funding are the University of Zimbabwe, the National University of Science and Technology, the Harare Institute of Technology, the Midlands State University, Chinhoyi University of Technology and the Zimbabwe National Defence University.
University World News