[Issue 10 and 11] Media Monitoring: Extract of Press News on Higher Education in Africa

  1. Van Guard

Afe Babalola in Oxford: Proffers solutions to education problems in Africa (Africa)

In his Book titled “A Paradise for Maggots: The story of a Nigerian Anti-graft Czar”, Wale Adebanwi, a Rhodes Professor of Race Relations and Director, African Studies Centre in Oxford University, painted a lucid but agonizing picture of how corruption has robbed Nigeria of its best in virtually all facets of human endeavor. Likewise, legal juggernaut and Founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Aare Afe Babalola, SAN, on Tuesday, May 1, recalled how the quantum and quality of education in the colonial era up to 1966 when the Military made an incursion into governance in Nigeria, was a lot better than what it is today. In his usual brutally frank, firm, fair but friendly persona, the frontline legal icon and Educationist painted a picture of how a combination of lack of true federalism among the States created at the 1884 Berlin Conference having regard to Amalgamation of many incompatible tribes, failure of successive African Governments to invest adequately in education, failure of African Governments to sensitize their citizens that no government alone can fund quality and functional education and poor leadership as well as over bloated population have over several decades rendered the search for sustainable education in post-colonial Africa illusory and utopian. Speaking during a Lecture titled “The Search for Sustainable Education in Post-colonial era in African States” in Oxford University, United Kingdom, Babalola recalled how in terms of quality, composition and structure, the educational institutions established during the Colonial era in many parts of Africa enjoyed the three essential trappings of being autonomous, collegial and self-governing as they were meticulously planned and patterned after elite UK universities. Unfortunately, the elite classical model of university education in such model institutions like the Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone (established in 1877), Achimota College in Gold Coast and Yaba Higher College (both established in 1934), and Liberia College in Monrovia (1833) and the University College, Ibadan, Nigeria among several others, started dwindling at an escalated rate with the takeover of government by military dictatorships in many parts of Africa with the attendant insufficient funding of education and overconcentration of political and financial power at the centre in most African States.

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  1. University World News

Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016-2025 (CESA), not SDG4 – A guide for the continent’s aspirations (Africa).

In a number of my articles and at different events, I have highlighted what I regard as the tenuous stance on higher education taken by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), even though my critiques have been tempered by the fact that the SDGs are more favourable to higher education than the erstwhile Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In this article I analyse SDG4, which deliberates on education, and contrast it with the Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016-2025 (CESA) which unequivocally places higher education at the centre of the continent’s development. The article was triggered by a recent dialogue at the Pan-African Conference on Education in Nairobi organised by UNESCO, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the Kenyan government. The architects of SDG4 and CESA – UNESCO and the AUC – are currently gearing up to cooperate closely in implementing the goals. Following a UNESCO presentation which listed “SDG4 Education 2030 Steering Committee members”, I raised the question of why universities – which are declared key to development – were missing from the list. The response was that “higher education is included in lifelong learning”.

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  1. University World News

Quality assurance – Guidelines for the ‘quiet revolution’ (Africa)

African universities have been urged to adopt and implement the newly-developed African Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ASG-QA) as part of a pan-continental move to improve higher education quality. Speaking to University World News on the sidelines of last month’s HAQAA (Harmonisation of African Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation) Initiative workshop held in Cairo, Egypt, Violet Makuku, quality assurance specialist and the HAQAA Initiative project officer at the Ghana-based Association of African Universities, said: “I want the African higher education community to know that all key areas are being harmonised at continental level including transport and trade, passports, visas, etc. So this is not peculiar to higher education … We need to move at a fast but sure pace.” “I’m urging all African universities to take the ASG-QA on board and implement them in order to improve the quality of African higher education,” Makuku said. Last month’s workshop, hosted by the Egyptian National Authority for Quality Assurance and Accreditation of Education (NAQAAE), aimed to discuss challenges and opportunities presented by the standards and guidelines. The latest version of the standards and guidelines are the product of a technical working group of experts from five African regions.

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  1. Daily Nation

Commission for University Education (CUE)’s new proposal major blow to non-chartered varsities (Kenya)

More than 13 private universities with letters of interim authority have suffered a major blow after the Commission for University Education (CUE) recommended that they should not be given government sponsored students. In their proposal to Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, CUE says only chartered universities should be allocated government sponsored students as per the legal provisions. This means that some of these universities are likely to shut down since a majority of students in those institutions are sponsored by the government under a programme introduced two years ago. Also some of the institutions attracted less than 100 students in last month’s placement that was conducted by Kenya Universities and Colleges Central Placement Service. There are 73 universities in Kenya categorised as follows: 31 public chartered universities; six constituent colleges; 18 private chartered universities; five private constituent colleges and 13 institutions with letters of interim authority.

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