• Written by Aregu Balleh

Pan-African University opens doors

Reading room at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Nigeria's University of Ibadan will host the PAU West African institute, specialising in life and earth sciences. The host institutes — each representing one of Africa's five geographical regions — have been allocated different themes. Photo: Flickr/gallagher.michaelsean.[ADDIS ABABA] Three of the five nodes, or branches, of the Pan-African University (PAU) — a higher education institute first proposed by the African Union (AU) in 2008 — will admit their first students in September.

Jean-Pierre Ezin, AU Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology, announced this month (10 July, 2012) that the PAU's Western, Eastern and Central African nodes have recruited a total of 300 students selected out of 1,200 applicants from across the continent.

The students will follow postgraduate courses in selected thematic areas such as life and earth sciences, basic sciences, innovation and technology, humanities and social sciences.

The PAU aims to make Africa's higher education and research institutions more effective in driving development, while attracting the best intellectual capital from across the globe, including Africans in the diaspora.

  • Written by IRIN eb/he

Education aid – is it value for money?

Quality needed, as well as quantity. Photo: Nancy Palus/IRIN.[LONDON] The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) has escaped drastic cuts despite a tough austerity budget, but in a new report the National Audit Office has told the government it should get better value for aid to overseas primary education, and take "a tougher, clearer stance" on costs and performance. Andrew Mitchell, the new development minister, said there would be a spending review.

An expected total spend of around US$1 billion this year - mainly to support national education in developing countries by direct funding, technical assistance, and programmes for textbooks, school buildings and teacher training - makes the UK one of the biggest donors, alongside the Netherlands and the World Bank.

The Audit Office accepted that DFID had successfully helped developing countries increase primary school enrolment and improve educational chances for girls, but said educational quality and attainment were still at very low levels; it had helped deliver quantity, but not quality.

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