In his Budget Speech on 17 February, finance minister Pravin Gordhan announced an allocation of R165 billion to the Basic Education and Higher Education departments for the next financial year. This is up by more than R17 billion on the previous year. A further R2.7 billion will be made available to the Department of Basic Education for the rollout of workbooks in all 11 official languages to help raise numeracy levels in Grades 3, 6 and 9.
Last week, police used a water tanker to spray students at the University of Johannesburg who were blocking one entrance to the campus, part of their protest action for free education for the poor. The South African Students' Congress vowed to close down nine universities countrywide in their campaign. In turn, two of the nine identified universities - University of Zululand and the Durban University of Technology - indicated that they would not close their campuses.
The (UCT) branch of the ANC Youth League has called on the vice-chancellor, Dr Max Price, to apologise for a statement he made in a speech at the memorial assembly and protest march for slain student Dominic Giddy. Branch chairperson, Sipe Mgqibi, said Price's statements were disrespectful, and he accused him of "hijacking" the event for political reasons.
Georgette d'Offay, born in the Seychelles, graduated with a pharmacy degree from the University of the Western Cape recently, but the national Department of Health will not let her do community service because she is not a South African. Without completing that community service, the South African Pharmacy Council will not be able to register her as a qualified pharmacist.
In Nigeria, violent protest - leading to the death of two students - broke out at the state-owned Ambrose Alli University, after the university increased its fees from 18 000 Naira (about R900) to 50 000 Naira (about R2 500).
In January, India's Education Minister, Kapil Sibal, asked the country's Supreme Court to strip 44 universities of their official status as universities. They are part of a cluster of about 120 higher-education institutions known in India as "deemed" universities. The term was devised in 1956, when Parliament gave the federal government authority, with the backing of federal regulators, to grant university status to private higher-education institutions.
No fewer than 14 graduate programmes - half in the humanities - could either be restructured or cut as the University of Iowa in the US looks to tighten its belt. The 14 programmes were said to require additional evaluation and have "significant problems", with no "viable plans for improvement". The list includes programmes in comparative literature studies, educational policy and leadership studies, film studies and linguistics.
On 12 February, Harvard-trained researcher Amy Bishop apparently opened fire during a faculty meeting at the University of Alabama-Huntsville in the US, killing three colleagues and wounding two more, one critically. The attack was witnessed by several staff members, say news reports.
A project at Harvard University in the US has found that 'Generation X' professors did not want to be holed up in their campus offices until late at night, and talked of the "diminishing returns" of working too many hours. The professors perceive their attitudes to be different from those of older faculty members, who they see as being completely devoted to their jobs and unable to say no to more work.
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