Mozambique: Parliament Votes to Restructure School System
Mozambique’s government has passed legislation to reform the school system. Until now, elementary education was divided into a first stage (grades one to five) and a second phase spanning grades six and seven. Not all schools offered both cycles and there was shortage of teachers for the second cycle, so that some children were prevented from continuing education in the second stage. Under the new system, there will only be a single elementary cycle of six years (grades one to six) taught at all elementary schools, while grade seven will become the first grade of secondary education, which is divided into two stages (grades seven to nine and grades 10-12). Education is compulsory and offered free of charge until grade nine. The government also weighs expanding distance education to ensure that all children have access to secondary education amid an insufficient number of school seats. Distance learning is considered a better alternative to night classes, which have proven ineffective and expensive, according to the Ministry of Education.
Sudan: U.S. Universities Cooperate with Sudanese Institutions After the Lifting of U.S. Sanctions
A number of prominent U.S. universities, including Johns Hopkins University, Stanford University, and the University of California, Berkeley have signed agreements with Sudanese partner institutions for research collaborations in fields like agriculture, archaeology, energy, health and social sciences. The agreements were inked during the first university forum in Sudan involving U.S. institutions after the lifting of U.S. economic sanctions in 2017. The three-day event was organized by Sudan’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the U.S. Institute of International Education.
Liberia: Government Makes Education Tuition-free at Public Universities and Community Colleges
Liberia’s President George Weah has scrapped tuition fees at public community colleges and the country’s two public universities, the University of Liberia and Tubman University. The move comes amid student protests following reports that the University of Liberia was planning to increase tuition fees from USD$4 to USD$6 per credit hour. While these fees will no longer be levied, students will still pay fees for registration, ID cards, handbooks and other items. Liberia had close to 44,000 students as of 2012, 62 percent of which studied at public institutions, according to UNESCO.
Morocco: French Institutions Seek to Retain Students with Branch Campuses and Online Education
In an attempt to stem brain drain from Morocco, French institutions like, ESSEC, EMLYON, EIGSI and INSA have in recent years established branch campuses in the North African country and increasingly offer online content like MOOCs to Moroccan students. The number of Moroccans studying in France has grown strongly over the past two decades – they make up the largest group of international students, numbering close to 40,000 in 2018. Slowing this student migration is seen as vital to strengthening Morocco’s skilled labor force, most notably locally trained engineers. Students educated in France are seen as lacking “acculturation” and stay in jobs for a shorter time period than students educated in Morocco. The internationalization of Moroccan education is also expected to boost Morocco’s aspirations to establish itself as an education hub in Africa.
Kenya: Government Creates a National Database for Academic Qualifications
In an attempt to standardize academic qualifications and combat academic fraud, Kenya has created a centralized national database for academic credentials and established benchmark entry requirements for academic programs. Higher education institutions are required to seek re-accreditation before the end of the year to have their programs entered into the database, which will provide information on these programs and allow students and employers to look up if institutions are accredited. The Kenya National Qualification Authority also announced new minimum requirements for academic programs. For example, the minimum admission requirement for bachelor’s degree programs is now a mean grade of C- in the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examination. Previously, the minimum grade cut-off varied from year to year based on the number of available seats. Stricter rules for the transfer of credits between programs have also been adopted.
University World News
Burundi: Quality Audit Reveals Shortcomings at Private Universities
An evaluation of 33 recognized private higher education institutions against set benchmark criteria by Burundi’s Ministry of Education has revealed that several private institutions operate below official quality standards. Notably, there’s a shortage of qualified teaching staff and a lack of research activities at several institutions. The Ministry of Education will now evaluate public universities against the same benchmark criteria.