The HAQAA2 Initiative (Harmonisation, Quality Assurance and Accreditation in African Higher Education) has supported a series of online policy dialogue events entitled ‘CESA Higher Education (HE)in Focus’ between May and June 2021, with a common thread linked to data collection for policy making in African higher education. The events were proposed as part of the Policy Component of HAQAA2, which provides support for the implementation of CESA (the Continental Education Strategy for Africa, of the African Union) and specifically for the CESA ‘Cluster’ of stakeholders responsible for higher education.
The events were organised in close collaboration with the respective CESA Higher Education ‘Sub-Cluster’ coordinators,who oversee a range of topics, from curricula reform to quality assuranceand leadership in higher education.
Six online events have been organised as round table discussions, webinars and debates, open to all relevant higher education stakeholders in Africa, with interpretation provided in French, English and Portuguese, so as to facilitate the participation of different linguistic groups across the continent.
The schedule has been as follows:
- Event One: 6 May, 2021 – Towards the Development of a Continental Database for Effective Policy Formulation on CESA (HE) Initiatives. CESA HE Sub-cluster on Harmonisation, Quality Assurance and Accreditation. Coordinator: JumaShabani (with the support of Peter Okebukola)
- Event Two: 12 May, 2021 – Preparing Higher Education Students for a Complex World: Exploring the Fluidity of Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Post-COVID. CESA HE Sub-Cluster on Curriculum, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Coordinator: Charmaine Villet.
- Event Three: 20 May, 2021 – Expert Consultative Roundtable on Transitioning from Distance Learning and E-learning in Higher Education in West Africa. CESA HE Sub-Cluster on Open, Distance, Online Education and Flexible Learning. Coordinator: Goski Alabi.
- Event Four: 26 May, 2021 – Strengthening personal, leadership development and work readiness of graduates in African Universities. CESA HE Sub-Cluster on Student Affairs. Coordinator: Matete Madiba.
- Event Five: 10 June, 2021 – Industry-Academia Collaboration and Technology Transfer in Africa. CESA HE Sub-Cluster on Research and Graduate Studies. Coordinator: Olusola Oyewole.
- Event Six: 29 June, 2021 – Leadership and Management. CESA HE Sub-Cluster on Leadership and Management. Coordinator: DamtewTeferra.
The summary report highlights first the recommendations of CESA HE in Focus, as they pertain to a future Policy-Data Unit for higher education, and then provides a snapshot of the events and the main discussion points.
The recommendations pertain to both structural and operational aspects of a PDU. As a result of the opening CESA HE in Focus event, a 10-point agenda was proposed to take this forward: (i) Select national data collection units in every country in the region that can feed continental data, (ii) Establish a sub-regional coordinating node for national agencies/units, (iii) Establish a Policy Data Unit for CESA (HE) in a location that is determined through objective criteria and geopolitical considerations, (iv) Institutional capacity building for data, (v) Human capacity building for data collection and analysis, (vi) Establish regional standards for higher education indicators that form the core operations of the PDU, (vii) Data verification, validation, and security at all levels. (viii) Partnerships, (ix) Monitoring and evaluation, and(x) Incentivisation.
Other specific inputs were provided from the subsequent CESA HE in Focus events, to enrich the above.