Dr. Beatrice Njenga, Prof. Etienne Ehile, Prof. Orlando Quilambo, and Prof. Damtew Teferra
Dr. Damtew Teferra is a professor of higher education, the leader of Higher Education and Training Development, and founding director of the International Network for Higher Education in Africa, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He is also the Editor-in-chief of the International Journal of African Higher Education. He may be reached at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Higher Education Cluster for the implementation of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 2016-25) and Agenda 2063 has been officially launched on June 8, 2017 at the culmination of the 14th Association of African Universities (AAU) General Conference and Golden Jubilee in Accra, Ghana. The President of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa AKUFO-ADDO, officially opened the Conference.
The Higher Education Cluster will be implemented under the leadership of the African Union Commission and coordination of the AAU. The International Network for Higher Education in Africa (INHEA), under the leadership of its founding director, Prof. Damtew Teferra—who is the Leader of the Higher Education Training and Development, at the University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa—will facilitate the Cluster.
The launch of the Cluster was presided over by the newly elected president of the AAU, Prof Orlando Quilambo, the Vice-Chancellor of Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique; Dr. Beatrice Njenga, the Head of Education Division of the AUC; and Prof. Etienne Ehile, the Secretary General of the AAU.
Objectives of CESA
CESA was developed as a strategic intervention in the realization of the African Union’s vision as articulated in Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want. The Agenda explicitly pronounces the building and expansion of “an African knowledge society through transformation and investments in universities, science, technology, research and innovation.”
CESA stands on six Guiding Principles, seven Pillars, and 12 Strategic Objectives. The objectives include:
- Revitalize the teaching profession to ensure quality and relevance at all levels of education
- Build, rehabilitate, preserve education infrastructure and develop policies that ensure a permanent, healthy and conducive learning environment in all sub-sectors and for all, so as to expand access to quality education
- Harness the capacity of ICT to improve access, quality and management of education and training systems
- Ensure acquisition of requisite knowledge and skills as well as improved completion rates at all levels and groups through harmonization processes across all levels for national and regional integration
- Accelerate processes leading to gender parity and equity
- Launch comprehensive and effective literacy programmes across the continent to eradicate the scourge of illiteracy
- Strengthen the science and math curricula in youth training and disseminate scientific knowledge and culture in society
- Expand TVET opportunities at both secondary and tertiary levels and strengthen linkages between the world of work and education and training systems
- Revitalize and expand tertiary education, research and innovation to address continental challenges and promote global competitiveness
- Promote peace education and conflict prevention and resolution at all levels of education and for all age groups
- Improve management of education system as well build and enhance capacity for data collection, management, analysis, communication, and use
- Set up a coalition of stakeholders to facilitate and support activities resulting from the implementation of CESA 16-25.
The Higher Education Cluster Mandate
During the CESA planning meeting held in Addis Ababa at the premises of the African Union Commission in June 2016, it was agreed that a Higher Education Cluster be created in support of the realization of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa. It is on the basis of this directive that the Cluster was launched to help realize the strategy in particular and Agenda 2063 in general.
Higher Education Cluster—Objectives
The objectives of the Higher Education Cluster include:
- Mobilize member organizations’ expertise and technical support in implementing agreed work plan and other joint activities in higher education
- Facilitate and support information sharing, communication and interaction within the cluster and beyond
- Agree on key indicators for measuring progress
- Contribute to the development, implementation, monitoring and reporting of agreed annual or biennial work plans, anchored against established baselines
- Establish sub-clusters as need arises and also when a group of stakeholders wishes to coordinate and implement a higher education initiative within the objectives of the Strategy
- Provide a continental platform for dialogue and communication through regular meetings to create awareness and ownership of Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25), particularly on higher education related objectives.
- Develop programmes to support national, regional and continental higher education activities with keen focus on quality assurance; harmonisation and mutual recognition of qualifications; excellence in research, innovation and entrepreneurship; teaching and learning; and institutional leadership.
- Promote policy dialogue at relevant regional, continental, and global conventions interested in and committed to higher education.
The Higher Education Cluster has the following leadership and management bodies. AUC, as a chair, will provide overall leadership, policy guidance, supervision and administrative coordination. Other one or two regional/international body/ies may be designated as co-chairs to provide technical and logistical support. The Association of African Universities, as a designated coordinator, will be responsible for technical leadership and programmatic coordination.
The Cluster will be facilitated by the International Network for Higher Education in Africa (INHEA), at the University of Kwazulu-Natal, by its founding director Prof. Damtew Teferra. Prof. Teferra is the leader of the Higher Education Training and Development at the University and Founding Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of African Higher Education.
Cluster Membership is open to a wide variety of stakeholders and it is anticipated to include
- AU Member States’ Ministries responsible for higher education and research
- National and Regional Quality Assurance Agencies
- Representatives from departments in charge of education of Regional Economic Communities (RECs)
- National, regional and other institutions of higher learning and research
- Regional and continental university associations: IUCEA, SARUA, CAMES, RUFORUM, AWAU, ACDE, AVU, and Pan African University
- International organizations
- Knowledge networks and think tanks
- Development actors
- Private sectors, foundations, and civil societies
- Other stakeholders that can contribute to the achievement of CESA’s strategic objectives related to higher education
The modality of implementing the higher education clusters is predicated on the establishment of multiple and relevant sub-clusters in higher education. Each sub-cluster, that will be coordinated under the Higher Education Cluster, will be headed by a committed expert who is willing and able to undertake its specific objectives.
The Higher Education Cluster is expected to catalyse the realization of CESA 2016-25. It is anticipated that all relevant stakeholders actively participate and contribute to the promotion of this African blue print developed based on Agenda 2063 taking cognizance of other regional and international development strategies.
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