WENR, October 2018: Africa

Tanzania: Government Seeks to Curb Malpractices among Recruitment Agents

The use of international student recruitment agents by African students is becoming increasingly popular, most notably in Nigeria, where 30 percent of students going abroad are being funneled by agents. In the case of Tanzania, Prime Minister Kassim Majalira recently accused recruitment agencies of misconduct, including scams and overcharging for sub-standard services. Since 2017, recruitment agencies in Tanzania must be officially licensed and abide by government regulations, but agents nevertheless stand accused of double-charging both students ad institutions for their services – a practice that is not condoned.

The PIE News [1]
October 12

Tanzania: Students at 110 Schools Retake Exams Because of Cheating

6,433 pupils at 110 schools had to re-take the national standard seven examinations in October. The test results at these schools had been annulled by the National Examination Council of Tanzania because teachers had leaked examination questions. The government suspended all top-level education administrators in Chemba District, where examination fraud was suspected to have occurred at all schools within the district.

Daily News [2]
October 10

Mauretania: Government Closes Islamic Teaching Institutions in Controversial Move

Mauretania’s government in September shut down and revoked the licenses of the University of Abdullah ibn Yasin (UAIY) and the Centre for Training Islamic Scholars (CTIS) because of alleged ties with Islamist parties. Mohamed Elhacen Ould Dedaw, said to be “the spiritual father of the Muslim Brotherhood in Mauritania”, founded CTIS and plays a leading role at UAIY. One of Mauretania’s main opposition parties, the Islamist National Rally for Reform and Development [3], is the Maurtanian offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, originally founded in Egypt. While the government also cited funding sources and curricula as reasons for the closures, they are widely seen as a politically motivated move. Student protests erupted after the closures, which were also criticized by other opposition parties.

University World News [4]
October 2

South Africa: School Curricula Will Include Swahili as an Optional Language by 2020

In recognition of the fact that more than 100 million Africans speak Swahili (Kiswahili), South Africa’s students will by 2020 be able to study Swahili as an optional language in school. Swahili is the most widely spoken native language in sub-Saharan Africa and an official language in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Some hope that Swahili – a Bantu language – could eventually become a lingua franca across sub-Saharan Africa. However, it is unlikely to replace English, which is widely spoken and an official language in 23 countries. There are at least 1,200 languages spoken among sub-Saharan Africa’s 1 billion people.

Voice of America [5]
October 3

Kenya: Public Universities in Dire Financial Straits

The fiscal situation of Kenya’s public universities continues to deteriorate amid Kenya’s worsening budget deficit. The country’s parliament recently enacted cuts of USD$10 million in funding for salaries, teaching materials and university infrastructure on top of already drastic spending cuts over the past year. While total government allocations for higher education institutions slightly increased for the 2018/19 fiscal year, universities now face a funding shortfall of USD$300 million that is expected to presage staff layoffs and hiring freezes and curtail research projects. In February 2017, Kenya’s auditor general already declared 11 eleven universities as being insolvent.

University World News [6]
October 5