1. University World News
Experts weigh in on higher education challenges (Africa)
A selection of experts and scholars in African higher education share their views on the key challenges and trends facing higher education in the upcoming year. Tertiary education is an essential driver of economic and social development in all African nations. Skilled human capital and a strong research base are not only key elements of a country’s economic growth strategy, but they also determine its capacity to attain the Sustainable Development Goals. African nations must formulate a clear vision for the future of tertiary education, put in place favourable governance frameworks, and mobilise resources to overcome the challenges facing their tertiary education systems: poor access and equity; inadequate quality and relevance; and insufficient research and knowledge transfer. They must also overcome political rivalries and mistrust to promote SouthSouth cooperation and pool their resources in support of regional projects, such as the African Centers of Excellence. The slow verification of qualifications has been a major challenge. The situation has been aggravated by refugees fleeing both natural and man-made crises, who have nothing to prove their academic and professional qualifications. Degree mills and degrees offered by institutions that are not accredited have also become a major challenge. National qualifications frameworks for African countries need to be harmonised and there should be mutual trust among member countries. There is need for a continental database for African universities where all student qualifications are deposited on the cloud with passwords and different levels of administrative powers controlling access. For more details, click here

2. The Daily Monitor
Formula of making money from sunflower farming (Uganda)
Bukedea cattle market, a dusty market centre located off the Bukedea-Kumi Road in Bukedea Town, is just a stone throw away from the ancient rocks, making it a potential tourist centre. The smell of roast chicken wafts in the air as I venture into the centre. Chicken and beef roasting is a popular business here, drawing in hundreds of people particularly at the weekend. It is in this centre that Norah Ebukalim, a farmer, and member of P’KWI farmers association has established their sunflower cooking oil business. The group process their own cooking oil from sunflower that they grow on five acres thanks to the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM). RUFORUM is ensuring students pursuing courses in agricultural related topics reach out to farming communities to sensitise them about agribusiness initiatives especially value addition. Planting. Sunflower grows well in areas with sparse rainfall, and the soil should be slightly acidic with a pH of between 6.0 and 7.5. Several varieties, which include Sunbeam, Mammoth, Autumn Beauty, Teddy Bear and Fedha, are grown in different parts of the country, in particular eastern and northern. They mature in three to four months. One needs at least an acre for a commercial venture, monoammonium phosphate or di-ammonium phosphate fertiliser or farmyard manure and certified seeds, which are readily available at agrovets. For more details, click here

3. University World News
No PhD, no tenure policy – Is it the best way forward? (Ghana)
The importance of higher education in the development of any nation cannot be overemphasised. It has become a major driver of development for most countries. The role of higher education in Ghana’s sustainable social, political and economic development is not contested; its expansion serves the social, political and economic aspirations of Ghana. Hence, successive governments have assumed gatekeeper roles in order to ensure that quality higher education is offered. Central to this goal is the hiring of qualified lecturers to teach at Ghanaian universities. Ghana’s key higher education regulatory bodies – the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and the National Accreditation Board (NAB) – set the doctoral degree as the minimum qualification for university teaching. However, some circumstances peculiar to Ghana’s higher education sector often lead to the relaxation of this policy. There are often shortages of academics with doctoral degrees in some specialised fields, which compel the universities to recruit staff with lower credentials. This practice seems to be common in both public and private universities but the government has vowed to stop this practice. In mid-November 2018 Ghana’s minister of education made a public pronouncement to the effect that the government was working to enforce in the near future the implementation of the existing policy that requires a doctoral degree as a prerequisite qualification for university teaching. This seems to have won the support of some higher education stakeholders including the president of the University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (UTAG) who claims it is in line with global standards, which Ghana should enforce to be competitive in the global higher education system. For more details, click here

Download Issue 31 issue 31 media monitoring.extract for higher education news in africa. 31

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