Volume 16, Issue 3
Education in Romania
Portuguese Branch University to Open
A branch campus of Independent University will open its doors this September to Angolan students wishing to study engineering and social sciences.
Among the subjects to be taught at Angola Independent University will be civil engineering and the environment, law and sociology.
Universidade Independente was established in 1993, and was the first private university in Portugal to specialize in engineering and technology.
Agostinho Neto University to Expand its Operations
Namibe province Gov. Boavida Neto and Joao Teta, rector of the publicly controlled Agostinho Neto University, agreed recently to create an institution of higher education in southwestern Angola.
It is hoped that the development of a campus in the province of Namibe will contribute to the progress of agricultural and fishery technologies in the region.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Six-Month Strike Ends; Nation Returns to School
Schools reopened in the Central African Republic in May after a six-month-teachers’ strike ended. The teachers had been demanding immediate partial payment of their salaries, which were 32 months in arrears.
The strike was called off after an agreement was reached between the Ministry of Education and the Interfederale des Enseignants de Centrafrique, an umbrella body representing five trade unions. Michel Kpingo, a union spokesman, said the teachers agreed to resume work without demanding that the new government pay most of the arrears immediately. He said the teachers made the decision because they helped overthrow President Ange-Felix Patasse on March 15.
Integrated Regional Information Networks
Birmingham Partnership Continues
Progress has been made since a May 2002 agreement formalized ties between City College Birmingham and four Gambian institutions of higher learning.
Scholarships have been made available, and a number of Gambian students are completing their first year of training at the Birmingham school. The Gambian participants are: Gambia Technical Training Institute (GTTI), Management Development Institute, Gambia College and the Directorate of Technical Education and Vocational Training.
Representatives of the Birmingham institution were in The Gambia recently to work with their GTTI colleagues on developing the motor vehicle and information technology courses and facilities.
Catholic University Begins Classes
Catholic University of Ghana recently opened its doors to 50 students in its makeshift facilities at Sunyani. The university will eventually be sited at Fiapre, in the Brong Ahafo region.
The university, which attained its accreditation in December, last year, is offering four-year degree programs leading to a bachelor of arts and bachelor of science in three faculties.
The university, affiliated with the University of Ghana, Legon, until it is granted its own charter, offers programs in information and communication, sciences and technology, economics and business administration and religious studies. Officials hope the Fiapre location will be operational by 2005.
Government Backs Proposed Presbyterian University
The Evangelical Presbyterian Church launched an initiative in April to establish a university in the Volta region of Ghana.
At the launch of the national fund-raising ceremony, senior minister J.H. Mensah commented that private universities are playing a crucial role in the advancement of education in Ghana and that the government will not relent in its efforts to encourage such initiatives. Existing public universities, polytechnics and other tertiary institutions cannot cope with the large number of qualified candidates applying for admission each year, according to the minister.
Mensah noted that religious organizations and bodies have established 10 accredited university colleges in Ghana. Based on the detailed plans for the proposed university, the National Accreditation Board has granted the church an Interim Letter of Authority to establish the institution.
University planners say the new institution will initially admit 125 students, with a total student body of 500 after four years of operation.
Donors Pull Aid After Corruption Scandal
Higher education reforms have suffered a severe blow after corruption allegations forced the withdrawal of Swedish financial aid from Eduardo Mondlane University. Fears are high that other key donors in the country’s US$200 million tertiary education restructuring program will follow suit.
Officials from the Swedish Embassy have alleged that funds from the Swedish International Development Agency, designated for doctoral staff development at Mondlane, benefited people outside the university system.
The scandal has created a credibility gap at Mozambique’s oldest and largest university, which was expected to take the lead in higher education reforms. Through a 10-year strategic plan, Mondlane University was to play a significant role in the increase in the number of university graduates.
Only about 800 students graduate from the country’s universities each year. As a consequence, Mozambique has the greatest shortage of educated manpower in eastern Africa.
The Times Higher Education Supplement
Uyo, Lancaster Forge Link
The February agreement guarantees an exchange of academic programs between the two institutions’ geography departments.
The University of Uyo will become a field base for Lancaster University’s West African environment and development field course in 2004. The field base is being shifted from Ghana, where it was located for the 2002-03 academic year.
Strike Action Suspended as Universities Filter Back
Nigerian university lecturers have ended a six-month strike to demand improved government funding of education in compliance with the ruling of an industrial arbitration panel.
Many universities had already resumed academic activities, even as hopes were fading for a resolution in the tertiary education crisis. Lecturers went on strike Dec. 29, accusing the government of failing to implement funding agreements from June 30, 2001. Those agreements promised funds needed to "sustain the minimum acceptable standards for Nigerian universities." The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) also took exception to the government's unfair dismissal of 44 academic and nonacademic staff from the University of Ilorin.
As of June 2, the following institutions had reportedly reopened:
Lagos State University
Ogbomosho, May 15
Delta State University
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, May 19
University of Jos, May 28
Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, June 2
University of Abuja, June 18
Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka
Bayero State University, June 2
Private University Gets License
Answering the government’s call for active participation from the private sector in higher education, the first private university in northern Nigeria received its operating license from the National Universities Committee in May.
According to the Daily Trust, it was determined that ABTI University’s physical facilities are more than adequate for the immediate commencement of five faculties, 16 departments and 56 programs. For its first year of operation, the university plans 16 programs in three faculties: business and entrepreneurial studies, computer science and communication and information technology and science. Engineering and law faculties will be added in five years.
The university plans an initial intake of approximately 400 students, with an ultimate goal of 8,000.
University of the North Set for Merger
The planned merger of the two institutions is in line with directives from the Ministry of Education for the reduction of the number of universities and technikons from 36 to 21.
MBA Programs to be Scrutinized
In a bid to stem the flow of inadequate MBA degree programs on the South African market, Minister of Education Kader Asmal has ordered an investigation into the quality of all MBA programs in the country. In addition to having the quality of their MBA degrees assessed, institutions will have to seek re-accreditation.
Institutions that do not measure up to minimum standards will be closed by the end of the year and will have their accreditation revoked. Institutions that are granted conditional accreditation will have to bring their standards to acceptable levels within a set period of time.
The Council on Higher Education will appoint a team of international and local experts in July to begin the evaluation of the 54 MBA programs offered at South Africa’s 24 registered public and private tertiary institutions.
Prem Naidoo, director of accreditation and coordination at the Higher Education Quality Committee, said the investigation will make South Africa the only country in the world to have conducted a national probe into MBA quality. In the wider context of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) on higher education, Naidoo said the process opens the way for local MBA graduates to become competitive on the global market and for universities to expand their products internationally.
Survey: Stellenbosch Tops Rankings
The University of Stellenbosch is the most desired study destination in South Africa, according to a survey of popular campuses among graduates.
Stellenbosch was rated the top campus by 22 percent of those questioned, followed by the universities of Pretoria (17 percent) and Witwatersrand (15 percent). The University of Cape Town slipped from third place last year to fourth place, followed by the universities of Potchefstroom, Rand Afrikaans, Free State, Natal, Rhodes and the distance learning University of South Africa. The University of Zululand featured for the first time.
The survey was compiled by the Johannesburg media analysis company Newsclip Media Monitoring. The “Matriculant Profiles 2002” report surveyed 1,700 top-scoring graduates, who were interviewed between Dec. 27, 2002, and Feb. 7, 2003.
The Times Higher Education Supplement
Medical University’s Operations Suspended
The Higher Education Accreditation Council (HEAC) of Tanzania has suspended the operations of International Medical and Technological University (IMTU) for two years for failing to adhere to the council’s regulations.
The suspension follows the recommendations of a committee established to investigate unrest among university students in the country earlier this year. IMTU’s right to process applications, initiate and run new programs and conduct graduation ceremonies will resume in 2005.
IMTU enrolls students primarily from Kenya and Tanzania. It has also been accused of transferring 66 students from a medical institution in Guntur, India, without HEAC approval.
The East African
Government Publishes List of Recognized Universities
In an apparent attempt to clamp down on the proliferation of private tertiary institutions operating illegally within the country, the National Council for Higher Education has published a list of universities and other tertiary institutions that have been granted degree-awarding powers and have been licensed by the council.
By May 5, 17 universities had been licensed. Those not yet licensed had until May 31 to register. In the public sector, the licensed schools are: Makerere, Mbarara, Kyambogo and Gulu (see following item). Licensed private universities are: Islamic University in Uganda, Kigezi International School of Medicine, Bugema University, Uganda Christian University, Busoga University, Namassagali University, Ndejje University, Uganda Martyrs, Kampala University, Aga Khan Campus University, Nkumba University and Kampala International University.
A list of legal national teachers colleges, technical colleges, agricultural institutions, forestry institutes, management institutes and cooperative colleges has also been published, as well as a list of recognized hotel and tourism institutes, vocational training institutes and health-sector training institutes.
Gulu University Gains State Recognition
The Ugandan Parliament authorized in May the existence of Gulu University amid concerns of underfunding.
The university, located at the Gulu District Farm Institute, commenced operations in 2002 but had been waiting Parliament’s approval to legalize its status.
In addition to undergraduate programs in education, business administration and development studies, the university plans to add faculties of medicine, engineering, agricultural sciences and human resources management.
University of Zambia Reopens
Closed since March 8, the University of Zambia (UNZA) reopened its doors to students May 12.
The relationship between the government and university lecturers has been tumultuous for some time. The frequent and premature closures of UNZA — due to academic strikes — have left many students wondering whether they will ever finish a full semester uninterrupted.
The familiar pattern of industrial action at the university means that the average graduate from the nation’s top institution of higher learning will take six to seven years to complete a four-year degree program. It is generally agreed that the countless closures of UNZA have led to the institution failing not only to attract foreign but also local scholars, who are opting to work and study either in private universities or abroad.
The Times of Zambia
Two New Universities Approved
The Zambian Cabinet has approved the opening of two new universities: Mulungushi University in Kabwe and Northrise University in Ndola.
Kabwe’s National College for Management and Development Studies will be transformed into Mulungushi University, which will offer graduate and postgraduate degree programs in business management and development, management and social sciences, and a center for labor studies. Nkhruma Teachers College will also offer its teaching diploma and graduate courses, as bachelor’s degrees, through the university. Northrise University, an entirely new institution, will offer programs in theology, business studies and agriculture.
Both institutions will be privately funded through tuition fees. No date has yet been set for the enrollment of new students at the two institutions.
University Strike Ends; Schoolteachers Strike Begins
With the approval of a 30 percent retention allowance back-dated to January, University of Zimbabwe lecturers returned to work April 22.
A news release from Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura advised that academic business will be conducted for 15 weeks, from April 22 to Aug. 2. Consequently, the first semester of the 2003-04 academic year will run from Sept. 8 to Dec. 20. Second-semester dates remain unchanged.
Meanwhile, the 55,000-member Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) declared an indefinite strike May 8 after the government failed to accept demands by the teachers for an immediate salary review. The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, with a membership of 13,000 teachers, immediately rallied, saying it would support ZIMTA.
Although the ZIMTA-led strike flopped five days later, this latest bout of industrial action by Zimbabwe’s educators talks volumes about the current state of a system of education once hailed as the pride of Africa. The University of Zimbabwe, once the cornerstone of a system bequeathed by colonial rule, is now finding it almost impossible to keep functioning. So many university posts remain vacant after resignations that departments are decimated and academics report that the institution is on the verge of collapse.
Despite impressive figures in the quantitative growth of education through the 1980s and 1990s, qualitative growth has been far less impressive, as per capita spending has fallen from 6 percent of GDP in 1986-87 to 2 percent in 2000. Access to education has also fallen dramatically over the last three years with the spiraling economic crisis causing many students to stop attending school as families can no longer afford tuition. In 2000, 15 percent of Zimbabwean children remained out of school. That number is now thought to be considerably higher as fees skyrocket and the government continues to use schooling as a propaganda machine for the state.