World Watch

23 September 2003
An independent assessor will investigate alleged governance and management problems at the University of Durban-Westville (UDW). Education Minister Kader Asmal said Transnet chairman Dr Bongani Khumalo, who has been appointed as independent assessor in terms of the Higher Education Act, will report to him within 30 days of starting the investigation. Hugh Amoore, registrar of UCT, will assist him.

The National University of Lesotho has had to suspend teaching indefinitely at the main campus and branches following an eruption of violence as students protested the delayed issuance of allowances from the National Manpower Secretariat. The chaos started when students clashed with security guards and police. Students had petitioned both the university administration and the government department that handles students' loans and bursaries and demanded a rapid response to their petition.

In Kenya, police officers clashed with hundreds of students from the University of Nairobi, who were angered over the murder of a political-science professor. Many of the students believe that Crispin Odhiambo Mbai, who was shot dead by unknown assailants inside his house and in front of his daughter, was killed because of his efforts to reform Kenya's Constitution. Students armed with sticks and stones battled police officers during a march to the office of the national-security minister, Chris Murungaru.

Last week an armed man claiming to be a member of Al Qaeda held hostage about a dozen students and a professor at Dyersburg State Community College in Tennessee. The standoff started at approximately 12h50 when the gunman burst into a mathematics classroom. Spokeswoman for the Dyersburg Police, Lisa Mc Dowell, said that no one had been harmed and that the campus had been evacuated. The gunman has been identified as Harold Kilpatrick, a 26-year-old Memphis resident who had no known connection with the college. Apparently Kilpatrick was disgruntled with the State of Tennessee

In Afghanistan, government security officials may still be detaining a number of medical students who were arrested a month ago during violent clashes in the university district of Kabul, the country's higher-education minister said. About 40 students at the Kabul Medical Institute were arrested in mid-August after a period of unrest that was sparked by inter-ethnic rivalries between Pashtuns and Tajiks, and by opposition to the nascent Afghan government.

The Philippines government plans to begin random drug tests on college and other students as part of a nationwide campaign against illicit drugs. Authorities will test the urine or blood of an undisclosed number of the country's 2.6 million students in colleges and vocational schools, said Roger P. Perez, executive director of the Commission on Higher Education. The tests will be conducted at public and private institutions of higher learning as well as at high schools.

Sources: Independent Online,, The Chronicle for Higher Education, The Natal Witness

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