21 July 2003
Ten private tertiary institutions have had their licences revoked by the Council of Higher Education (CHE). The criteria for the withdrawal of accreditation included the quality of staff, learning resources, the level of staff experience as well as their competency to assess students. According to the director of accreditation for CHE, Dr Prem Naidoo, 80% of the staff at these institutions were not qualified.

The deadline of June 30 has come and gone for universities and technikons that face mergers to make recommendations for their new names. Potchefstroom University and the University of the North West have agreed to be called North West University, while technikons in Pretoria, Northern Gauteng and North West concurred on the Tshwane University of Technology as their new moniker. Natal and ML Sultan technikons teamed up last year as the Durban Institute of Technology, propitiously dodging one suggestion that it be named the Southern Hemisphere Institute of Technology, which bears an unfortunate acronym. Education Minister Kader Asmal will have the final say on names in September.

A furore broke out at Wits University's recent conference on Sexuality, Culture and Society over an exhibition of photographs by Danish photographer Ditte Haarlov-Johnsen, which, she said, aimed to portray the lives of "bravely open" young black gay men. Some delegates at the gathering were offended by the images, labelling the pictures racist and offensive. "Why it is that in every conference I attend, white 'experts' present on black lives?," one complainant lamented in a lengthy letter that organisers posted to the opinion clipboard.

A growing number of South Africans are getting educated, while there has also been an increase in students completing their tertiary education in time, according to the results of the Census 2001 survey released in Pretoria two weeks ago. The Census report suggests that South Africa is winning the fight against illiteracy, and it says access to education in all nine provinces has increased, to the point of 6% to 8% of access to tertiary education in the country.

Kenya's Egerton University will seek over Sh1.9-billion (more than R193-million) from the African Development Bank (ADB) to help in the completion of stalled projects at its Njoro campus. The stalled projects include a state-of-the art faculty of education and human resources centre, administration block, kitchen and dinning hall.

Kenya's president, Mwai Kibaki, renounced his role last month as chancellor of the country's public universities and appointed seven chancellors to replace him. The move is meant to lessen government control of higher education and reduce intimidation of professors and students.

After more than a year of controversy and upheaval, Harvard University's department of Afro-American studies has announced that it is changing its name to African and African-American studies. The new moniker is part of a plan to add a major in African studies and to broaden the scope of the department to include the study of African languages and cultures.

George Washington University in the US has created a special distance-learning programme for half-a-dozen members of the Saudi royal family. Representatives of the 40 000-member Al Saud family - which has been widely criticised for stifling democracy, civil liberties, and human rights - cited "travel concerns" and "personal issues" when they proposed the plan to the university this year, says William Frawley, dean of its Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. The students will pursue a typical undergraduate curriculum online, and a university administrator in Riyadh will oversee their progress. Some faculty members may travel to Saudi Arabia to teach courses.

American businessman Ward Connerly, who led successful campaigns to ban racial and ethnic preferences in California and Washington State in the 1990s, has announced that he and other affirmative-action foes plan to embark on a similar campaign in Michigan, and may take the battle to other states. Connerly made his statement on the campus of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, the target of two lawsuits that led, last month, to US Supreme Court decisions upholding the limited use of race-conscious admissions policies by colleges.

Law-enforcement authorities in Russia imprisoned several skinheads last month for killing a college student from Bangladesh, setting a precedent by convicting them under a rarely used hate-crime law. Prosecutors have been reluctant to apply the statute in the widespread cases of attacks on foreign, mostly dark-skinned, students. But prosecutors in Ivanovo, about 230-km northeast of Moscow, convicted six men of "group hooliganism committed on the grounds of racial hatred".

Sources:, Independent Online, Chronicle of Higher Education

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.