July 20, 2010

African Educator Calls for University Ombuds

In the wake of student riots at several prominent universities in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, a leading educator is recommending that campuses adopt Ombuds programs.

Goolam Mohamedbhai, the former Secretary-General of the Association of African Universities, the former President of the International Association of Universities and the former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mauritius, says there are many reasons for the unrest after years of neglect and under-funding. He offers several solutions and called in particular for "Campus Ombudsmen" to listen to student grievances and avert major crises. Mohamedbhai cited the positive effect of Ombuds programs at American universities and the UK Office of the Independent Adjudicator.

In response to the article, Boubakar Barry (Coordinator of the Research and Education Networking Unit at the Association of African Universities) pointed out that there are several African universities with Ombuds programs, including Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal which has had an Ombudsman for about seven years. (Inside Higher Education.)

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