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The East African : May 31st 2015
14 The EastAfrican NEWS MAY 30 - JUNE 5, 2015 HIGHER EDUCATION IN AFRICA Students at a university in Kenya sit an exam. There is a growing concern that graduates from universities in Africa are unable to compete effectively in the international job market. Picture: File University bosses to review learning status Talks in Kigali will be seeking new modes of teaching By DAVID ADUDA The EastAfrican T he heads of African universities converge this week in Kigali to discuss the status of the continent’s higher education at a time of massive expansion of degree-offering institutions, declining funding and high graduate unemployment. The 18th Conference of Rectors, Vice-Chancellors and Presidents of African Universities (Corevip) will examine the quality of higher education in Africa and its relevance in a globalised economy. In particular, the conference will be seeking new modes of teaching and learning to enhance the quality of graduates leaving African universities. At the centre of discourse is the concern that African universities do not produce graduates who can compete effectively in the international job market or lead in innovation. African countries have concentrated on establishing many universities in recent years to absorb rising numbers of high school leavers yet they do not provide matching resources. Ultimately, this has compromised quality, research, creativity and innovation. AGENDA Participants of the 18th Conference of Rectors, Vice-Chancellors and Presidents of African Universities will: Debate how the universities can promote student and staff mobility; allow for credit transfer from one institution to another; and conduct joint research initiatives. Deal with the question of harmonisation of academic programmes and qualifications. Deliberate on the emerging centres of excellence, mostly focusing on research or postgraduate studies. The theme of the confer- ence is “Internationalisation of Higher Education in Africa” and in this context, participants will debate how the universities can promote student and staff mobility; allow for credit transfer from one institution to another; and conduct joint research initiatives. Equally significant, the scholars will deal with the question of harmonisation of academic programmes and qualifications. Thus far, the African Union has embarked on the process of developing strategies and criteria for harmonising higher education qualifications on the continent. Closer home, the East Afri- can Community, with the assistance of the German Academic Exchange (DAAD), has developed a framework for harmonising academic qualifications within the region. The initiative is spearheaded by the Inter-University Council for East Africa, and once complete will lead to the creation of a common higher education zone, where students will easily join any university within the region or transfer their credits from one university to another. Similarly, lecturers will be able to move from one university to another under staff exchange programme and also participate in joint research projects. Organised by the Associa- tion of African Universities, the conference will also deliberate on the emerging centres of excellence, mostly focusing on research or postgraduate studies. Among these is the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture, which is based in Kampala, Uganda, and brings together some 25 universities in East, Central and Southern Africa to foster research and innovation in agriculture. The Pan African Univer- sity, an initiative of the African Union, is another centre of excellence, which promotes postgraduate training and research and has five institutes across the continent, with one hosted at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, in Juja, some 40 plus kilometres from Nairobi.
May 24th 2015
Jun 7th 2015