- Quartz Media
Africa needs another million PhD scientists to develop homegrown solutions (Africa)
It’s been a recurring refrain: Africa still lags woefully behind the rest of the world in generating new scientific knowledge. As figures collated by the World Bank in 2014 show, the continent—home to around 16% of the world’s population—produces less than 1% of the world’s research output. These are painful admissions to make, but there are several projects and initiatives that offer hope amid all the bad news. One is a major funding and agenda setting platform, the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya, which was established by the African Academy of Sciences in partnership with NEPAD. It will award research grants to African universities, advise on financial best practice and develop a science strategy for Africa. It also offers an opportunity for African scientists to speak with one voice when it comes to aligning a research and development agenda for African countries. Another is the US’s National Institute of Health and Wellcome Trust’s commitment to invest nearly $ 200 million into Africa-led genomics projects, biobanks and training of bioinformatics personnel. This investment targets diseases that affect the African continent and gives African scientists the opportunity to set priorities with regard to health interventions and skills development.
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- Business Daily Africa
A strong university champions transparency student feedback (Kenya)
The ability to think critically, examine phenomena, build confidence to adapt, boost economic resiliency, and contribute towards community empowerment all form reasons for prospective students to pursue undergraduate education. However, not all university education is created equal. In continuation of Business Talk’s mini-series on tertiary education in Kenya, last week this column investigated selection criteria that every student and parent should utilise to choose a university for undergraduate studies. Today, we delve into part two of selecting an undergraduate programme. First, how much does the university collect, evaluate, and modify programming based on undergraduate student feedback? The tertiary education sector stands as a famous example of an industry slow to respond to market demands and customer feedback. Unfortunately, since undergraduate students consume service but others, such as parents, often pay for the education, then the low elasticity demand for bad lectures, slow administrative services, or dismal campus environments builds complacency. Prospective students should ask admissions personnel for concrete examples of when undergraduate student feedback forms following a course actually changed something in the classroom. Universities should remove poorly evaluated faculty from lecturing responsibilities.
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- Mail and Guardian
How collaboration can help grow and transform agriculture in Africa (Africa)
It’s been four years since African leaders met in Equatorial Guinea to commit themselves to boosting agricultural growth across the continent. This is an important way to create real change in Africa. During the gathering, all the African Union’s heads of state signed the Malabo Declaration. It offered a blueprint for Africa’s agricultural sectors, to be achieved by 2025. For example, the declaration called for at least 10% of any nation’s public expenditure to be allocated to agriculture and rural development. It also set out plans for increasing countries’ food security by intensifying agriculture in a way that didn’t destroy the environment. There has been some progress in attaining these goals, as a recent status report conducted by the African Union Commission shows. But there’s still a great deal of work to be done. The report shows that in 2015 and 2016 only ten of the 47 signatory states reached or exceeded the target of 10% investment in public expenditure in agriculture and rural development. These are Malawi, Ethiopia, Angola, Egypt, Sudan, Mauritania, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea. Some other countries had invested as little as 0.6% of public expenditure in these crucial sectors. Only 20 of the 47 signatories are on track to meet the declaration’s goals by 2025.
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