The HE Bite: 4th August – which African country is gearing up to double the number of universities to meet local demand?

The HE Bite: 4th August – which African country is gearing up to double the number of universities to meet local demand?

From the continent of Africa to the Teaching Excellence Framework in the UK, here’s what’s been happening in the world of Higher Education over the past week.


The number of Nigerian universities may double to meet local demand

The Nigerian National Universities Commission is currently processing 200 applications for private universities in the country. This move is necessary as the country’s population is over 150 million and there are only 153 universities.  Nigeria has struggled to cope with demand, each year applications are turned away, despite the applicants passing qualification. Data from the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (charged with overseeing centralised exams for university admission in Nigeria) indicates the number of applicants is nearly double the number of seats available.

As always, the increasing privatisation of the HE sector brings about conversations of quality assurance, consistency in teaching methodologies and examination, and government regulation.  However, with a growing population, Nigeria has been keen to address this issue and the number of universities has increased.

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Why does this matter to you?

Nigeria sends more international students to study overseas than any other country in Africa. Per the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), Nigerian students have decreased by 10% between 2013 and 2016. Despite this, Nigerian students remain in the list of top 10 non-EU international students in the UK. It is important to be kept abreast of changes in Nigeria’s shifting HE landscape in order to potentially understand factors which may contribute to the number of Nigerian students coming to the UK to study.

Increasing number of universities to appeal TEF results

The TEF framework, in response to a shifting ‘value for money’ narrative in the Higher Education sector, has sparked increased debate on the merits of its metrics. Of course, these outcomes are still new and the policy implications for the Higher Education sector are yet to be fully determined. Lobbying by the House of Lords has resulted in a review of the TEF by 2019, as per the Higher Education and Research Act. Also, the Government has noted its intention to produce a subject- level TEF exercise as a more precise measurement tool for students.

However, in the interim period, the number of universities mounting formal appeals has increased, including the University of East Anglia and Soas, University of London.

This doesn’t come as a surprise to those following the TEF results. Times Higher Education surveyed 91 providers awarded the “silver” or “bronze” (the lower rankings on the TEF) in the sector-wide assessment of teaching quality. Of the 70 responses, 11 institutions (including 4 Russell Group institutions) confirmed that they had submitted appeals.

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Why does this matter to you?

The impact of the TEF has yet to be determined, and it is important to be informed! Institutional responses may shape the process. How are your students responding to the impact of a less than stellar TEF result? Knowing about the policy implications, the debate surrounding TEF, and the potential for tweaks in future metrics, can help your HEI contribute to the larger conversation.

Is Brexit increasing enrolments in Irish HEIs?

University College Cork’s new president, Patrick O’Shea, has stated that international enrolment is up 40% at his institution. Brexit has been creating the perfect conditions for competition between alternative European providers.

Click here to read more about how Irish HEIs are responding to demand, including the question of balancing international interest with local need (as well as the capacity of Ireland’s education system to absorb such demand) check out:

Why does this matter to you?

UK universities are increasingly involved partnership agreements in Ireland that solidify their retention of research funding.  As post-Brexit competition for research funding and academic talent heats up, it is important to think about international retention strategies in the sector.  

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