[Issue 22] Media Monitoring: Extract of Press News on Higher Education in Africa

  1. University World News

The challenges of growing PhD graduate numbers (Africa)

Sub-Saharan African countries need to increase the production rate of PhD graduates and substantially improve investment in doctoral education, according to recommendations emerging from a six-country study examining the PhD landscape in the region. While there is little disagreement about the need for more PhDs in Africa, experts say caution is needed on the issue of how such expansion takes place. The report Building PhD Capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa, produced jointly by the British Council and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in cooperation with the African Network for Internationalisation of Education and University College London Institute of Education, builds on two key studies – the joint International Association of Universities and Catalan Association of Public Universities report, and the Higher Education Research and Advocacy Network in Africa (HERANA) 2014 report focusing on flagship African universities. Countries covered in the report include Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa. Released last month, it aims to widen the evidence base on PhD provision “using national-level data, and to take into account doctoral training provision in a cross-section of diverse institution types”. It also seeks to address gaps in areas such as format and conditions of provision, patterns of engagement between PhD programmes and industry, the private sector, the community and policy-makers.

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  1. The Guardian

Where are the black scientists, artists and thinkers in university syllabuses? (Africa)

What do you think of when you hear the word “black”? Do you think of a colour? A race? A culture? A movement? There are many different ways of interpreting “blackness”, prompting the question: is it a concept worth studying? Although there is a tradition of “political blackness” in the UK, by referring to someone as black you are usually describing them as having sub-Saharan African origins. These people have been in the UK for centuries, and many important black British figures of the past, such as Olaudah Equiano, Ignatius Sancho and Walter Tull, have too often been overlooked in our nation’s history. Black people have also interacted with our island nation more recently through slavery, colonialism and the Commonwealth. Yet there seems to be collective amnesia in the UK about the contributions of people of sub-Saharan African origin. So much so that, when prominent black figures criticise our government for their inaction or complain about the racism they have experienced, they are often told they should be “grateful” to be here in the first place. Luckily, in many institutions, there is a burgeoning movement of higher learning that seeks to change our widespread ignorance, and to value the experiences and contributions of black people in Britain. Many UK universities offer degree programmes centred on Africa and black people. For more than 50 years, Soas and Cambridge University have provided excellent graduate programmes dedicated to the study of Africa, and Edinburgh, Birmingham and Oxford universities have followed suit. What’s changed more recently is the emergence of the study of blackness, which looks at the cultures and politics of the African continent, as well as the lived and historical experiences of the African diaspora.

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  1. University World News

Agriculture e-learning hub goes live (Africa)

An e-learning hub for African universities mooted by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 2017 is now operational, offering more than 35 member universities from across Africa access to free content intended to enhance the teaching of agriculture. The hub will enable students, staff and researchers in universities to access free online learning material, providing them with up-to-date quality material on subject areas such as sustainable food systems, food and nutrition security, responsible governance to secure tenure rights and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests, among others. The RUFORUM-FAO e-learning hub for African universities will also offer material on climate-smart agriculture, food losses and waste, food safety, social protection and resilience, child labour, gender equity and women empowerment, and responsible agriculture investments. “As a RUFORUM member, you are invited to visit the RUFORUM-FAO e-learning hub, assess the offer and match the various courses to your existing university learning programmes being regularly offered through your academic institution or university,” said a statement by RUFORUM. The content, developed by experts in various fields for learners from Africa and across the globe, will be delivered in major international languages used in Africa, including English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. It comprises a mixture of multimedia content, targeted learning strategies, dynamic screens, interactive tests, and exercises with feedback and illustrative case studies, that help to make complex topics accessible to both new and more experienced learners wishing to update their skills in a way that is not covered by the traditional university curriculum.

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Download complete Media monitoring here Media Monitoring.Extract for Higher Education news in Africa. 22

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