1. Morocco World News

Morocco, EU Sign Partnership to Bolster Research and Innovation in Mediterranean (Morocco)

Morocco and the European Union (EU) signed a cooperation agreement setting out the conditions for Morocco’s collaboration in the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA) on Tuesday, in Brussels. The partnership was signed at the headquarters of the Council of the European Union by Morocco’s Minister of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education, and Scientific Research, Said Amzazi; President-in-Office of the EU Council, Dimiter Tzantchev; and European Commissioner for Research, Science, and Innovation, Carlos Moedas. The Ambassador of Morocco to the EU, Ahmed Reda Chami, also attended the signing ceremony.With this agreement, Morocco is now formally part of the 19 member States and countries around the Mediterranean that are working to develop innovative solutions for sustainable water management and food production, which remain major challenges in the region.

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  1. Mail and Guardian

A more flexible curriculum approach can support student success (South Africa)

Financial access is extremely important for poor and working class students wanting to get a foot in the door at universities. But on its own this isn’t a guarantee of success. South Africa has very poor student throughput (that is, from enrolment to graduation) and low retention rates in undergraduate education. Only 30% of students complete a three-year bachelor’s degree in three years. And less than two-thirds complete within an additional two years. A recent study of students’ experiences in BA and BSc degree programmes found that curriculum structure and flexibility can play a crucial role in students’ progression and success. The study traced the influence of higher education on the lives of 73 young people who had registered for a BA or BSc at one of three South African universities. In-depth interviews were carried out with them six years after their first year at university. We found that most students didn’t enter university with fully formed ideas of their interests and strengths. The experience of knowing exactly what they wanted to do, coming to university and seamlessly doing it, was rare.

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  1. TechZim

Five Lies about Technology In Higher Education Most Lecturers Believe (Zimbabwe)

Higher education in the 21st Century shouldn’t be boring. Gone are the days where students endured a two-hour mental assault from a disinterested professor. At least they should be gone, by now. After all, education is not a consultation but a collaboration. Therefore, the role of a university professor is not to prove how much she knows but to facilitate learning. I believe it is time for universities in Zimbabwe to enter the digital age by embracing technology as an essential aid to learning. It is quite shocking that even though all universities have an IT department and sometimes even teach computer science up to postgraduate level, none of them have fully embraced online learning. Education is about relevance, engagement, and synthesis, and not just knowledge acquisition as we are forced to believe. It is pointless to acquire knowledge that you don’t know how to apply. So, how can universities, and even relevant government ministries make education more relevant? How can lecturers ensure their students are engaged with the subject matter, so that they reach a point of creating new knowledge? If you ask any lecturers in Zimbabwe they will tell you this: for the quality of education to improve, the infrastructure should improve, new and more textbooks should be bought, the classes should be small and intimate, the education system in primary and secondary level should improve, lecturers should not be overworked.

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The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) has organized a proposal Write-shop as part of its effort to mobilise and strengthen research capacity in African agricultural universities and research institutions. The Write-shop targets developing proposals for submission to African Union Research Grants 2018 Call for proposals with a deadline of 22nd May 2018. The Write-shop which is taking place from 16th to 20th April 2018 in Entebbe, Uganda was supported by PAEPARD under the capacity building Work Package and the private sector and university engagement of the mastercard foundation TAGDev Project, universities contributions, and participants own contributions.

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Working Groups at the Writeshop

The writeshop has brought together over 120 participants from 18 African countries[1] and two European[2] countries and focuses on building capacity of African researchers to design research projects that integrate diverse stakeholders including researchers, private sector, farmer organisations, and civil society to strengthen the relevance of research in addressing rural development, and national and regional challenges. It has also provided a platform for African researchers to network and link across the continent to collaboratively develop and implement projects beyond the current African Union Research Grants 2018 Call for proposals.

The African Union Commission (AUC) launched Phase 2 of the African Union Research Grants programme (AURG) with an open call for proposals for Research and Innovation in Africa, supported by the European Union (EU) under the Pan-African Programme (PanAf). This Call supports the Africa’s Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy-2024 (STISA 2024) which addresses the aspirations identified under the AU’s Agenda 2063 and Priority 3 (Human Development) of the EU-Africa Partnership. The 2018 Call supports research on Enhanced Food, Nutrition Security and Sustainable Agriculture (FNSSA) with particular attention on Agriculture and food systems for nutrition.

In his welcome and opening remarks to participants, Prof. Adipala Ekwamu the Executive Secretary of RUFORUM said that “No economy can advance without a strong research and innovation capacity, and mobilizing actors to work together is a key success factor. He reassured the participants that RUFORUM Secretariat is there to serve all the member universities, adding that RUFORUM however, does not work in Isolation but also with non-member universities and non-university actors in Africa and the world over.

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Prof. Adipala Ekwamu, Executive Secretary, RUFORUM

Jennie Van der Mheen from Wageningen University shared some tips with participants attending the writeshop. She said that the issues facing communities today are many and complex, and exist at a wide range of scales and as such, universities need to come up with more practical and realistic solutions to these issues. One of the ways in which universities can do that is through partnerships which are increasingly becoming the answer for many of these community challenges. She said, these partnerships must however be well thought through and should involve many stakeholders to offer more solutions.

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Jennie Van der Mheen from Wageningen University, Netherlands

The participants were introduced to the “Market place” by the Lead facilitator Mr. Gerald den Ouden who encouraged them to look through areas of research that were of interest to them and or their universities/ institutions, as a basis for forming working groups. The workshop is divided into plenary sessions, topical presentations, peer review and group work around proposal topics:

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Participants looking through research topics for potential proposals.

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After the 5 days, some of the expectations of the participants were to network,  be able to understand the concept of writing proposals, to write and complete their concept notes, come up with a sound project structure and above all to write the winning proposals on behalf of their institutions.

Notes:

[1] Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, DRC, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe

[2] Belgium and Netherlands


The Africa Center of Excellence in Materials, Product Development and Nanotechnology (MAPRONANO ACE) supported by the World Bank and hosted by the College of Engineering Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) at Makerere University, Kampala Uganda is announcing Master’s and PhD scholarships for academic year 2018/2019. The scholarship program is meant to support research costs for local and regional students in their second year of study in the fields of Engineering and or Health Sciences. The scholarships tend to promote the core research mandate of the center in three key thematic areas; 1) Materials & Product Development 2) Nanotechnology Innovations 3) Nano medicine.
The scholarships are tenable for a period of 3-4 years for PhD, and 2 years for Masters programs. The center will fund a maximum of 30 students under this scheme.

Download the complete Scholarship call  MAPRONANO Scholarship Advert_12.04.18

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