DEVELOPMENT REPORT - Money for African Universities

By Caty Weaver

This is Bill White with the VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT.

Four of the largest private American aid organizations have announced a one-hundred-million dollar gift for universities in Africa. The money will be given over a five-year period.

The organizations are the Carnegie Corporation and the Rockefeller, Ford and MacArthur Foundations. The joint project is called the Partnership to Strengthen African Universities. Partnership officials say they decided to give the money to support the progress that is taking place in Africa. They say a number of African nations are making important democratic and economic reforms. And the Partnership says many universities in those nations are finding creative ways to support the reforms and to meet the urgent needs of their countries.

The project is designed to help universities in African countries south of the Sahara desert. Universities in Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique have begun receiving the assistance.

Makerere University in Uganda is one of them. It has increased the number of its students one-hundred percent in the past six years. The university also has expanded its programs to include nursing, business administration, bio-medical laboratory technology and tourism.

Dar Es Salaam University in Tanzania also has received assistance from the Partnership to Strengthen African Universities. The university is planning major changes. Dar Es Salaam University is proposing a new legislative and leadership structure for the school. The university also recently established a modern computer center. In time, the center will pay for itself based on a university business plan.

The Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique is the third university that is receiving financial help. That university has improved the quality of its teachers in recent years. It also established one of Africa's first providers for the Internet computer system.

The officials of the foundations say they are not deciding changes for these universities or their countries. They say they are just helping make such changes possible. The president of the Ford Foundation is Susan Berresford. She says strong African universities can help protect freedoms, improve learning and influence national policy.

This VOA Special English DEVELOPMENT REPORT was written by Caty Weaver. This is Bill White.

Voice of America Special English