OBREAL Global

  1. The Higher Education Reform Experts South Africa/HERE SA https://thensa.co.za/projects/higher-education-reform-experts-here/ project organised a Leadership Training Workshop and Partner Meeting in Durban on the 21st – 24th March 2022 looking at how to achieve more coherent and effective approaches to Work-Based Learning, entrepreneurship education and teaching for the Forth Industrial Revolution
  2. OBREAL Global together with European University Association organised a pre-event of the Africa EU-Summit Africa-Europe: Enhancing Higher Education Systems through Regional and Inter-Regional Approaches on 10 February 2022. The three-part webinar shared distinct experiences and examples of Africa-EU Higher Education collaboration, but also pointed to the importance of further investment in enabling frameworks and capacity building at various levels. The event focused on continental and regional cooperation and integration frameworks: a basis for EU-Africa higher education engagement, recognition of studies for regional integration and quality assurance – a basis for exchange and collaboration. It drew upon the Abidjan commitment to meet global and local challenges by prioritising education and research.
  3. OBREAL Global, as important side event to the UNESCO World Conference hosted in Barcelona in May, 2022 co-organized a Cocktail-Debate – Higher Education and the SDGs: Interregional Perspectives with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the African Association of Universities (AAU) and the Latin American and Caribbean Higher Education Area (ENLACES), and with the support of the Generalitat de Catalunya, the Spanish Service for the Internationalisation of Education (SEPIE), the African Union, the EU-LAC Foundation, the University of Barcelona, the HAQAA initiative and the Colombian Association of Universities (ASCUN), this debate and cocktail was the opportunity to share interregional perspectives on how higher education institutions are tackling the SDGs and how cooperation is essential for this feat. The meeting took place in the Ferran Soldevila gardens of the Historic Building of the University of Barcelona

German Academic Exchange Service – DAAD

CAMES – DAAD: Networking and exchange for sustainable cooperation in higher education management, research and innovation

In the course of the cooperation between the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Conseil Africain et Malgache pour l’Enseignement Supérieur (CAMES) a virtual partner event took place on 10 March 2022. The event was organised through the DIES programme, which is jointly coordinated by the DAAD and the German Rector’s Conference (HRK) and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The aim was to increase knowledge about current challenges and projects in the region of francophone countries in Africa as well as Germany and Europe and to promote exchange on current higher education topics. Dr. Kai Sicks, General Secretary of the DAAD, and Prof. Abou Napon, Interim General Secretary of CAMES, as well as Dr. Heike Kuhn, Head of the Education Division at the BMZ, opened the event. This was followed by two keynote speeches by Prof. Abiba Tidou SanogoKoné, President of the Rectors’ Conference of Universities of Francophone African Countries and the Indian Ocean, entitled “L’état des lieux de l’enseignement supérieur dans l’espace CAMES : dynamiques de transformation qualitative” (“Status quo of higher education in the CAMES region: dynamics of qualitative change”) and Dr. Jens-Peter Gaul, Secretary General of the HRK, entitled “AktuellehochschulpolitischeEntwicklungen in Deutschland” (“Current higher education policy developments in Germany”). The second part of the event offered DAAD and CAMES staff the opportunity for discussion and exchange on the topics of digitalisation, quality assurance, internationalisation and university and research cooperation. The event concluded with two virtual sightseeing tours through Bonn and Ouagadougou. The two keynote speeches’ recordings are available (in French and German only) here. Further information in French is available on the CAMES website.

Association of African Universities – AAU

  1. African Vice Chancellors deliberate on strengthening NRENs

On the 21st and 22nd February 2022, the Association of African Universities (AAU) hosted 25 Vice Chancellors from across the continent to discuss the national research and education networks (NRENs) and the strategic role that vice chancellors must play to develop the NRENs in their countries. NERNs are special internet service providers for the education and research communities. They are established at a national level to not only provide affordable, high-speed internet connectivity infrastructure, but also provide specialized services required by educational and research communities.

The AAU organized this meeting in recognition of the vital role vice chancellors need to play in promoting NRENs to advance digital transformation strategies by African Universities. The lessons during the height of the pandemic were instructive in meeting the challenges of teaching, learning, research, and collaboration through robust internet infrastructure. The pandemic also highlighted the forbidding costs of data and connectivity, the nagging digital divide affecting students and faculty and the inadequate campus network infrastructure in most African higher education institutions.

At the Nairobi meeting, the vice chancellors were reminded that they must not “be spectators” in the NREN development. Vice chancellors have an important advocacy role in creating awareness of the importance of NRENs to their governments. As key stakeholders, the vice chancellors must be part of the governance structure of the NRENs – and support in the design of robust, transparent, and accountable NRENs.

  1. CESA Higher Education Cluster Virtual Meeting hosted by the AAU & INHEA

On the 7th of February 2022 the Association of African Universities (AAU) and the International Network for Higher Education in Africa (INHEA)hosted a meeting themed “The Future of Higher Education in Africa: Crisis and Resilience” under the 2016-2025 Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA) Higher Education Cluster. This was the first 2022 virtual meeting of the higher education cluster of the CESA, organised by the AAU and INHEA, coordinators of the Higher Education Cluster of the CESA under the patronage of the Department of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation of the African Union Commission.  The delegates to the virtual meeting explored both the crisis in the sector in the past and the present as they looked forward to resilience.

Presentations were received from the following sub-clusters – Harmonization, Quality Assurance and Accreditation; Gender Inclusivity, Equity and Diversity; Research and Graduate Education; Student Affairs; Private Higher Education; Open, Distance and Online Education; Public-Private Partnerships and Entrepreneurship; ICT, Libraries and University Networking; Curriculum, Teaching and Learning; Internationalization and Diaspora Mobilization; Scholarly Publishing and Knowledge Dissemination; Leadership and Management; and The Professionalization of the Academia.

Several issues were raised by the delegates including that the operationalisation of the CESA higher education sub-clusters was hindered by lack of a dedicated funding; COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on African higher education; development of appropriate and relevant curricula was priority; attention needs to be paid to open distance education and e-learning; Africa’s research and knowledge production has been very low; COVID-19 had a serious impact on internationalisation; the university presses for scholarly publishing have “collapsed”; African academia is turning part-time; the academic profession in Africa has been unionised and this has implications for higher education.

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