27 October 2003

Education Minister Kader Asmal last week announced the names of new institutions of higher learning in the country, as a result of ongoing mergers in higher education. Rand Afrikaans University and Technikon Witwatersrand are to be merged as the University of Johannesburg.

The merged Universities of Potchefstroom, North West and Vista Sebokeng Campus will now be North West University, while the merged University of South Africa and Vista University Distance Education Campus will retain the name Unisa.

Tshwane University of Technology is the new name of the merged Technikons of Pretoria, Northern Gauteng as well as North West. Cape Technikon and Peninsula Technikon will be called the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

The University of Transkei, Border Technikon and Eastern Cape Technikon will be called the Eastern Cape University of Technology and the Medical University of South Africa (MEDUNSA) and the University of the North will be called the University of Limpopo.

The Dental Faculty of the University of Stellenbosch will be incorporated into the University of the Western Cape and the East London campus of Rhodes University into the University of Fort Hare.

At the same time, the Mamelodi campus of Vista University (VU) will be incorporated into the University of Pretoria, the Welkom campus of VU into Technikon Free State, the Port Elizabeth campus of VU into the University of Port Elizabeth and the East Rand and Soweto campuses of the university into the Rand Afrikaans University.

In Nigeria, representatives from 26 institutions in the United Kingdom (UK) will be in the country to recruit prospective students for their universities. This is a part of a British Council managed Education UK Fair, which promises to be the first in Nigeria. The Education UK fair will take place from October 30 to November 6 and is designed to reach all prospective students in Nigeria.

An Iranian-American lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley is being detained in Iran on charges of espionage. Dariush Zahedi, an adjunct faculty member in the political science department, was arrested in Tehran in late July during a trip to visit relatives in Iran. Zahedi is a naturalised American and a former Iranian citizen. Members of Zahedi's family in California were unavailable for comment and are said to fear that publicity will result in direct harm to him, according to a source. University officials are concerned about Zahedi's detention although they have declined to disclose what they are doing to win his freedom.

In the United States a former women's basketball player at Sacred Heart University has settled a lawsuit in which she accused the Connecticut institution of dismissing her from her team and rescinding her scholarship because she became pregnant. In the lawsuit, Tara Brady, who was the team's starting center in 2000/01, said that she discovered she was pregnant in June 2001 and had notified her coach, Edward Swanson. A few days later, she was told that her pregnancy would be a distraction and that her scholarship was being rescinded. Brady said she had repeatedly sought a hardship waiver, which would have allowed her to sit out a season, but keep her scholarship and not lose any eligibility. Brady transferred to West Chester University of Pennsylvania, where she is now a senior on the basketball team.

According to a study carried out by Brunel University in London, women work harder than men, and achieve better degrees as a result. The research tracked 200 students over four years and found that although they had begun their courses with almost identical A-level results, women consistently outperformed men. While girls are known to outperform boys at school, the finding suggests that the trend continues at university. The study was launched after members of Brunel's geography and earth science department became concerned that male students were under performing.

Sources: Independent Online,, The Chronicle of Higher Education

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