[Issue 12]Media Monitoring. Extract for Higher Education news in Africa

  1. University World News

PhD training – Why African government funding is needed (Africa)

While international donor funding for PhD training programmes in Africa helps to accelerate progress and achieve results more quickly, financial contributions to such programmes by African governments are critical and have a range of long-term benefits, higher education experts suggest. Aminata Sall Diallo, a professor of physiology at Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar in Senegal, and Ekua Bentil, an education specialist with the World Bank’s Africa region who works on the implementation of initiatives under the Partnership for Skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET), told University World News it was important for governments to lead PhD training initiatives’ funding in order to enhance sustainable development. The duo was speaking after the launch last month of 15 PhD training scholarships under the PASET Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF). The initiative, led by African governments, will see this inaugural cohort of scholars commence PhD programmes in food security, information and communications technology (ICT), and materials, minerals and mining engineering. The RSIF aims to train 10,000 PhDs in 10 years. The training is offered at one of the RSIF’s four host universities: Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania; University Felix Houphouet-Boigny, Cote d’Ivoire; African University of Science and Technology, Nigeria; and Gaston Berger University, Senegal. Commending RSIF, the experts said that through its PhD training, research grants and innovation grants, the initiative will help to address many of the challenges African countries are facing.

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  1. University World News

Radical shake-up to boost quality in higher education (Kenya)

As part of a broad set of recommended changes to higher education aimed at raising quality, all PhD holders admitted via executive masters degrees will no longer be eligible to teach at universities in Kenya.The recommendations by the Commission for University Education (CUE) are contained in a report entitled Policy Advisory on Rationalisation of Universities and Programmes in Kenya, which was presented to the Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed on 2 May. Executive masters degrees permit executives and managers to study and work towards a degree while remaining in their full-time jobs. The CUE has proposed the formation of an inter-ministerial committee to harmonise accreditation of academic programmes whose graduates are registerable by professional bodies. “All PhD holders admitted through executive masters degrees will not be eligible to lecture in Kenyan universities. The weighting and point system for publications should be reviewed to be consistent with international standards. This should be treated as a matter of urgency since the current system discourages collaborations and teamwork in research and publications,” reads the report. The report also recommends that only chartered universities – public and private universities fully accredited and approved to admit students by CUE – will be allocated government-sponsored students.

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  1. Vanguard

No more Government jobs to absorb thousands of graduates – Obaseki (Nigeria)

Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said that the absence of a robust, well-modeled, well-organised, adequately monitored and quality technical and vocational education and training with appropriate national and international certifications is responsible for the massive movement of young people abroad in search of greener pastures. Governor Obaseki said this while delivering the Anniversary Lecture at the 60th Anniversary of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association, in Trenchard Hall, Ibadan, on Friday. In the lecture entitled, Technical and Vocational Education as Imperative for Youth Empowerment, Obaseki said that a lot has to be done to change the perception of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) by fostering public support, redesigning the institutions and putting them under quality management. According to him, “Lean resources cannot be the excuse for not prioritising and investing in technical and vocational education training. Leaders must take it upon themselves to change the wrong public perception. There are no more government jobs available to absorb the thousands of graduates that our higher institutions produce every year. “If we truly want to work for peace, stability, growth and development in the interest of our people and nation, this is the time to wake up and reposition TVET in Nigeria. For us in Edo State, we have recognised the challenges and we are confronting them frontally. If we succeed in Edo State, it may inspire similar transformations elsewhere.” He said it was regrettable that several governments in the past had paid lip-service to youth empowerment, noting, “Unfortunately, despite seeming propaganda about involving the youth in decision-making over the decades since political independence, not much has been achieved. The hundreds of skills acquisition programmes in the country hardly prepare our people to deliver quality service and earn incomes that can improve their quality of life.

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  1. The New Times

Maintaining the momentum toward universal education (Rwanda)

On the surface, mass illiteracy seems like an evil that should be easy to eradicate. Achieving that goal requires neither a technological breakthrough nor a scientific discovery. And yet universal education has long eluded mankind, even when achieving it has been a globally shared objective. Today, 750 million adults – two-thirds of them women – are illiterate, and 260 million children are not in school. Education is a basic right codified in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child. It was further enshrined in the 1990 World Declaration on Education for All, at a summit in Jomtien, Thailand, and then at the 2000 World Education Forum in Dakar, Senegal. Achieving universal primary education was one of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals for 2015, and universal education has since been included in the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. But, despite these commitments, the international community has yet to deliver for the world’s children. In addition to those who are not in school at all, 500 million children currently receive no more than a primary education, which itself is often inadequate. And by 2030 – the year when the world has promised to provide universal primary and secondary education for all – an estimated 800 million people will enter adulthood without the qualifications necessary for the modern labor force. Many of them will be illiterate. In many regions of the world, educational standards fall far short of what is needed. In Africa, for example, educational outcomes today are estimated to be 100 years behind those of a typical high-income country.

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