WENR, September 2018: Africa

Algeria: Mounting Fiscal Pressures on Public Funding of Higher Education

Algeria’s government is increasingly struggling to provide quality free education in its higher education system, which currently enrolls an estimated 1.7 million students at 101 public universities. Education in Algeria is free at public universities – a fact that currently costs the government  approximately USD$6.000 per student annually. However, public finances are increasingly strained by the decline of global oil prices and observers have noted a deterioration of academic quality in recent years, including high drop rates at universities and a growing brain drain of academics. To ease financial burdens, the government is pursuing the privatization of higher education, but Algeria’s newly established private universities only enroll 1 percent of students as of now.

University World News
September 7

South Africa: Government to Recognize ELT Schools as Accredited Private Colleges

In a move bound to boost South Africa’s English language training industry, the government has announced that it will recognize ELT providers that are members of the national “Education South Africa” association as accredited private colleges. This will make it possible for ELT students who seek to study at these schools to apply for regular student visas, rather than entering South Africa on 90-day visitor’s visas. The new policy is a reversal of a previous decision from 2014 that barred ELT students from obtaining student visas – a change that resulted in a steep decline of ELT enrollments in South Africa in 2015. Enrollments have since recovered, but the new visa regulations could stimulate further growth.

ICEF Monitor
September 3

Kenya: Kenya National Qualifications Authority Declares Diplomas and Certificates Awarded by Universities after 2016 Invalid

The Kenya National Qualifications Authority (KNQA) has clarified that study completed in sub-degree diploma and certificate programs at universities can longer be used for transfer credit, unless the diplomas have been recognized by the Technical and Vocational Training Authority (TVETA). Since 2016, diploma and certificate programs must be accredited by TVETA, whereas degree programs fall under the purview of the Commission for University Education (CUE). The KNQA charged that most universities have sought neither TVETA accreditation nor CUE accreditation for their diploma programs and that many universities offer programs that do not meet minimum requirements. The KNQA wants universities to concentrate on offering degree programs and noted that diplomas awarded by universities after 2016 are not recognized under the Kenya National Qualifications Framework, unless approved by TVETA.

Daily Nation
August 31

Sierra Leone: Government Makes School Education Tuition-Free

Sierra Leone’s new President, Julius Maada Bio, in office since April 2018, has fulfilled a key campaign promise and announced that the government will make school education in the country tuition-free beginning this month. At the same time, tuition subsidies in higher education, which can currently be as high as 85 percent of total costs, will be scrapped and replaced with repayable student loans. It is estimated that making school tuition-free will involve costs of USD$2.9 million to pay for text books, school uniforms, and free school meals, as well as pay for salary increases for teachers. Critics question whether education will actually be completely free with individual schools being suspected to undermine the reforms by continuing to charge fees for items like uniforms and text books.

Radio France Internationale
August 24

Tunisia: An Emerging Destination for Students from Sub-Saharan Africa?

The Tunisian government seeks to make Tunisia are more attractive destination for foreign students, particularly from sub-Saharan Africa, and has announced plans to increase the number of international students in the country from 3 percent to 10 percent by 2020. In order to achieve that goal, Tunisia will create a dedicated national agency that will provide information on education in Tunisia and visa and immigration requirements to foreign students . Tunisia will also host the Franco-Tunisian University of Africa and the Mediterranean – a transnational institution slated to open in 2019 that will award joint credentials in humanities, social sciences, and communication technologies from both France and Tunisia. Tunisia currently has 13 public universities which some 260,000 students, 6,000 of which are international students. In addition, there are 72 private higher education institutions, enrolling some 32,000 students, including 4,000 international students.

 University World News
July 27

Posted in Africa, Regional News Summaries