WENR, August 2018: Africa
Uganda: Medical Regulatory Bodies Urge Adopting External Examinations for Medical Graduates
Representatives of medical regulatory bodies in Uganda are calling for the introduction of mandatory graduation examinations, conducted by the Uganda Medical and Dental Practitioners Council, for all Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery graduates who intend to practice in Uganda to ensure that medical doctors are adequately trained. Uganda’s medical universities are graduating growing numbers of medical graduates, many of them allegedly unqualified to practice medicine. The East African Medical and Dental Practitioners Councils of medical schools in the East African Community (EAC) found in 2016 that most medical schools lacked basic infrastructure for training, adequate staffing teaching materials and curricula. The Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda is already conducting pre-internship tests to audit the quality of graduate prior to licensure, while the Uganda Nurses and Midwives has recently devised a draft strategy for introducing exit examinations following the refusal of the Council to license 1,000 nursing graduates, mostly from private institutions, last year. According to the Council, the students had been admitted into study programs without adequate academic qualifications.
University World News
Kenya: Government Invests in Vocational Education and Training
In an attempt to develop a skilled labor force needed for the industrialization of Kenya, the government has increased spending on vocational education and training (VET) and lowered tuition fees at VET colleges. Public funding for VET will be increased by 30 percent in order to hire 2,000 additional instructors and pay for scholarships. The government seeks to have more than 70,000 students enrolled in VET programs within the next five years and intends to build 15 additional vocational training centers. VET students will soon pay less than USD$ 150 anually for VET certificate courses and will be eligible for USD$ 300 scholarships. While students who do not qualify for admission into university often enroll in VET, high costs remain a barrier, so that the new funding initiatives should help increase access, especially among students from low income households. Kenya’s prioritization of VET comes amidst warnings from the World Bank that the country will not meet its economic growth objectives because of a growing rift between skills of graduates from higher education institutions and labor demands.
University World News
Liberia: A Record 65 Percent of Senior High School Students Fail the WAEC Exams
According to provisional results published by the West African Examination Council, only 34.85 percent of Liberian students (11,544 out of 33,124 candidates) passed this year’s West African Senior School Certificate Examination. The results of an additional 855 candidates were withheld for fraudulent practices, including the use of cell phones and collusion between candidates. Observers have noted that the poor test performance is likely caused by discrepancies between examination questions and the curricula taught at high schools. In a recent survey, 66 percent of polled high school students stated that exam topics covered differed from those taught in school. At the junior secondary level, examination results were slightly better: 63.4 percent of students passed the Liberia Junior High School Certificate Examination.
Uganda: Government Closes More than 1,000 Unlicensed Schools
At least 1,132 elementary and secondary schools have been shut down for missing licenses in Uganda. In addition to lacking official permits, a majority of the schools failed to meet minimum quality standards. The Ministry of Education charged schools with using unapproved curricula, inadequate instructional materials and having no contracts for their buildings. The government last year already closed down 1,500 schools because their teachers did not have adequate training. Uganda’s Minister of Education affirmed that it will no longer tolerate schools operating without proper licenses, even though it is difficult to obtain licenses even for schools that meet quality criteria because local governments charge fees for issuing permits – a practice the central government has condemned.
Ghana: Government Establishes New Regulatory Body for Higher Education
Ghana’s government announced that it will establish a new regulatory body for higher education called the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission. The Commission will be responsible for regulating all higher education institutions in the country and is expected to help expedite the establishment of private universities, which is currently a time-consuming process. The announcement was made at the graduation ceremony of the private Ashesi University, which had to wait six years to receive a charter to operate. The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in attendance at the ceremony, expressed optimism that such waiting periods would be shortened once the new commission commences work.