South African Minister wants to prioritize rural universities
Mail & Guardian reports that South African Minister of Higher Education, Science and WaterTechnology Blade Nzimande plans to prioritize development of rural universities. One of the biggest challenges is infrastructure, and particularly student accommodation. The plan is to have at least 80% of students stay in student residences or campuses. Nzimande added: “If you [a rural university] do not have university accommodation, unfortunately some members of our community they build some shack-like structures and charge students to stay there in an environment that is not conducive for learning. We are aware of that as government. We might not be having enough money to deal with the whole problem all at once, but it is clear that rural universities must be a priority.”
Universities from England and UAE want to tackle world water shortages
Water Online reports that the University of Manchester and Khalifa University of Science and Technology are partnering in order to develop graphene-based membranes to take salts out of water and to tackle water scarcity. Depletion rate of fresh water resources is the main reason for increased need for this kind of project. Peter Budd, Professor of Polymer Chemistry at The University of Manchester, said: “This collaboration is enabling us to develop both membranes that like positively charged ions and membranes that like negatively charged ions, and together they offer exciting possibilities for helping achieve the global goal of clean water for all”.
Fear of job losses at the Kenyan university
AllAfrica reports that massive disruption has hit Moi University, which will start huge reorganization. As a direct consequence, many staff members are expected to lose jobs. This Kenyan university will scrap or merge various departments in order to cut costs. The teaching staff said: ”It is not being done in an open manner so we are not sure if our jobs are safe. We just read in the newspapers about the ongoing restructuring. We hope to get more information this week.” Dr Ishmael Aiyabei, the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union Moi University branch secretary added: ”We were told that the merging will only affect the administrative section and not the academic unit. This could mainly affect some of the non-teaching staff and not the academic staff. The heads of departments were told to send their proposals on the matter and we believe they have done so.”