World Watch

29 September 2003

ARTS, CULTURE, SCIENCE and Technology Minister Ben Ngubane and Education Minister Kader Asmal have launched the African Institute for Mathematical Science (AIMS) in Muizenburg, Cape Town. The new science and technology institute offers postgraduate courses with foundations in mathematical research. AIMS diplomas will be fully accredited by the three Western Cape universities. Students will be taught in association with the universities of Oxford and Cambridge in the United Kingdom and the University of Paris-Sud in France.

PRETORIA TECHNIKON awarded management certificates to 100 students, all members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).The certificates were a culmination of a two-year course on the Senior Management Development Programme started in 1999 after the technikon was awarded a tender to provide training to SANDF members who had no formal academic qualifications. The programme focuses on managerial development and aims to offer the SANDF members an opportunity for intense academic growth.

IN BOMBAY, angry parents and frustrated students clashed with police this month after private medical schools tripled tuition, forcing government to suspend the admissions process for the third time. The protests began after hundreds of students and their families arrived in the city to register for medical school. Most were shocked when they learned that annual tuition had jumped to $7,500, far beyond the means of most Indians.

IT SEEMS THAT BRITISH students are not nuts about paying for their higher education. Mark McGowan, a Londoner who is starting a master's programme in art history at Goldsmiths College, part of the University of London, can attest to that. McGowan spent 10 days in September rolling a nut, with his nose, six miles through the city, all the way to 10 Downing Street. The reason? He wanted Prime Minister Tony Blair to accept the peanut, as a substitute for the $24,000 in student debt he has incurred while getting his undergraduate degree. McGowan says the cost of higher education deters the poor from enrolling.

A NEW ONLINE UNIVERSITY, Universitas 21 Global, aimed primarily at students in developing countries, began offering its first courses last month. This follows years of effort by a global consortium and its partner, a publishing giant, to create an online institution from scratch. Students living in one of the 10 countries where the consortium's institutions are located, pay 80% less for an MBA from Universitas 21 Global than they would on the campus of the member institution. Universitas 21 is a group of 17 research universities from 10 countries. Chairman of the university's board of directors, Alan D Gilbert, who is also vice chancellor of the University of Melbourne in Australia, said that new students would be enrolled weekly.

Sources: Independent Online, AllAfrica, The Chronicle for Higher Education

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