Edition 107 - March 2010

How is higher education going in the African continent?

African countries, and leading amongst them, South Africa seem to be more and more aware of their need to reform education and training system. The continent is required to solve its serious demographic, social and economic challenges, while focusing on the improvement of the education sector at the same time. During the past years significant steps have been taken as many initiatives and more ideas made it on the agenda.

In South Africa, there is a currently ongoing consultation process on the potential of free education for the historically marginalised, the poor and working-class communities. Simultaneously the government is criticised for not having spent enough finances on education, many students face difficulties to repay their study loans. Further, as five South African universities debuted in international rankings there seems to be a strong need for establishing an Africa-wide university accreditation system.

In parallel, the African Globelics Academy for Research, Innovation and Capability (AGARIC) will introduce its first PhD school this year. Another institution, the African Doctoral Academy plans to start a programme for PhD students’ generic skills development. Connecting local researchers with those who have already been working overseas and a joint science prize to facilitate innovation and cooperation between research communities in South Africa; creating a professional pool of researchers and journals, increasing the volume of scientific articles and publications, are some of the most noticalble points on the agenda.

Besides some tangible results on the institutional level, the system-wide initiatives, plans and ideas are still in a very early stage and hopefully will survive the play of the conflicting political forces.

Department of education, Republic of South Africa

NSFAS

IERI

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