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Concept Note: Curriculum, teaching and learning



Concept Note

The Continental Education Strategy for Africa: Higher Education Series

Curriculum, teaching and learning

Book Series Editor/Coordinator:
Professor Damtew Teferra


About the African Higher Education Series

The Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA) 2016-25 Higher Education Series is conceived as a strategic intervention in the advancement of higher education in Africa in the framework of CESA’s Higher Education Cluster. The Series is intended to systematically produce evidence-based knowledge through a rigorous process of a collective academic and professional engagement with direct implications for policy, discourse and actions from continental perspectives guided by the African Union’s blue print compass, Agenda 2063. This initiative is further intended to systematically build the next generation of academics, researchers and policy makers in higher education.

The CESA Higher Education Series will publish thematic issues, in a series, along the established sub-cluster themes of the higher education cluster. Each theme will be assigned a lead editor who will work closely with the coordinator of the Series, who also serve as a joint editor.

The following five themes are identified to start the Series: (1) Harmonization, quality assurance and accreditation; (2) Research and graduate education; (3) Private higher education; (4) Scholarly publishing and knowledge dissemination; and (5) Curriculum, learning and teaching.


Curriculum, Learning and Teaching in Africa Higher Education

Volume Editors:

Assoc. Prof. Proscovia Namubiru-Ssentamu
Dr Charmaine. B. Villet and Prof. Damtew Teferra


Brief Overview of the Volume

African higher education has witnessed a massive expansion in the last decades with an estimated 15 to 20 million enrolled currently in the system (Teferra, 2018). This unprecedented growth wrought about considerable stress on learning and teaching in the system with considerable implications on the overall quality and integrity of the system (Mohamedbhai, 2014; Shabani, Okebukola and Oyewole, 2014).

Discourses, perspectives and views on the relevance, currency and aptness of curriculum and pedagogy in African higher education abound. African higher education has long been a subject of criticism on matters of curricula and programmes and the pedagogical approaches and epistemological cultures. The critique and dialogue on curricula span from a tenuous interest to revise an outmoded curriculum, as in numerous countries, to an energetic one to a complete overhaul and decolonization in South Africa (Heleta 2016; Le Grange 2016; Fomunyam and Teferra 2017).

To be sure, universities throughout the world and those in Africa in particular have been criticised for being ivory towers: aloof, unaccountable and disengaged from the interests of their communities. African universities especially have been incessantly, unfairly and harshly attacked for not lifting the continent out of its cycle of poverty and economic deprivation – as if they were the only players in the complex web of the development universe (Teferra and Tamrat 2020).

The pedagogic praxis in teaching and learning and the epistemological cultures and pathwaysof the knowledge domain have been massively affected by developments since the advent ofinformation and communication technologies. The modalities of teaching and learning hasseen major shifts in countries where such technologies have taken stronghold. In Africawhere such technologies are yet to fully develop, their status and significance have been putto test following the COVID-19 pandemic which has pushed the frontiers of teaching and learning spaces, modalities and praxis.The impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on virtually all aspects of human life globally is now also providing a unique opportunity for HEIs on the African continent to rethink and reimagine their education systems, particularly in light of the competencies, modes of delivery and reach.

This book therefore wishes to will explore the philosophical and ideological foundations of curriculum thought, planning and implementation and the complex issues of teaching and learning praxis in HEIs in Africa. It will also provide an analysis on how (well) HEIs in Africa are responding to the local and global learning and teaching challenges, as well as probing the ways in which HEIs in Africa are rethinking and reimagining their roles in a rapidly changing world order.


Rationale of the Book

As global competitiveness and economic success of nations have increasingly relied on their capacity to generate, develop, consume and market knowledge, the importance of the knowledge citadels—higher education institutions—have been catapulted enormously. It is predicated that without knowledge creating and consuming capacity, no successful and durable social and economic development is guaranteed. As a consequence, while those already at the cutting edge of the knowledge domain are consolidating their positions, others are striving to catch up through a host of both strategic and ad hoc approaches. According to UNESCO (2008), at no time in history has it been more important to invest in higher education as a major force in building an inclusive and diverse knowledge society and to advance research, innovation and creativity.

The knowledge economy and the globalization of our world, projected Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) into strongholds of knowledge, research and innovation needed to propel countries into global competitive nations. Such countries have come to rely on their universities’ capacity to generate, develop, consume and market knowledge which will positively impact their economic growth and reduce poverty.

Our collective understanding of how developed nations achieved their “developed” status, have come to accept that a multi-pronged development strategy at all levels of education are important. This started a shift in the international policy community’s attitude toward the role that Higher Education (HE) can and should play in the socio-economic development and transformation of African nations.

The book intends to showcase how HEIs in Africa conceptualize their curriculum, and what kinds of curriculum thought underlie learning and teaching decision-making in HEIs. It is further intended to provide an understanding and an explanation of how knowledge is organized in HEIs in Africa, how learning and teaching take place, and how learning is assessed.

It is against this background that the book will explore the relevance of curricula in HEIs in Africa, the applicability of the learning practices for current global challenges, and how well HEIs are preparing graduates for a rapidly changing world. The book is anticipated to provide rich perspectives and in-depth analysis on the way knowledge is constructed in HEIs in Africa, the learning and teaching approaches, the methods, content and spaces of learning. It is geared towards documenting, mapping and analysing the key trends and issues in the planning, development and implementation of curriculum, learning and teaching in HEIs in Africa.


The Book

The book will include 11 chapters, written by experts in the field of education and curriculum development, solo or jointly, following a review of resumes and approval by an Editorial Team. Each chapter will be subjected to a double-blind review, may be between 8 000-10 000 words long including references. Chapters will follow the APA style. All manuscripts will be produced in English, with the possibility of a French abstract should it become necessary.

Subsequent to the acceptance of the final version of the manuscript, each participating author may need to contribute policy/think pieces on professional and popular platforms, such as the University World News.


Proposed Chapters/Topics

The following is a list of anticipated proposed chapters for this book. The content and structure of each chapter will be provided to help guide the discussion between the contributors and the editor/s.


Chapter 1 – Introduction – Curriculum, Learning and Teaching

This chapter will explore and analyse the major issues on curriculum, teaching and learning in African HEIs. It will discuss emerging trends, key challenges and opportunities in these key aspects of higher education.


Chapter 2 – The History of Curriculum Development in African Universities

This chapter will explore how African HEIs designed and implemented curriculum to address both the socio-political aspirations and economic needs of their countries. It will examine the trends in curriculum policy planning, development and implementation.


Chapter 3 – Conceptualizing Curriculum, Learning and Teaching

This chapter will address modern day conceptualizations of HE curriculum in African institutions, and how learning and teaching are happening. It will explore the key issues that impact on curriculum, teaching and learning, and how HEIs in Africa are responding to those elements. The chapter will explore the labour market and its relationships with HEIs in developing relevant curricula and meaningful teaching and learning praxis.


Chapter 4 – Knowledge Co-creation, Application and Learning – A Humanistic Approach

This chapter will analyse the policy formulation, planning and implementation of a humanistic approach to curriculum for HE that speaks to issues of social inclusion, relevance, socio-economic justice, and equity. This chapter will interrogate the significance and implications of disparities in educational opportunities.


Chapter 5 – Students in the Emerging Academic Landscape

This chapter will interrogate the notions that learning is an active, constructive process rather than a passive reproductive process. It will explore the theories of learning and cognition from the perspective of the learner, not only as an individual but also from a socio-cultural, socio-global position. The chapter will present a critique on traditional curriculum, learning and teaching practices in HEIs.


Chapter 6 – The “Learning” Academic

Academics are no longer the sole custodians of knowledge which is now accessible at the click of a button. This chapter will explore the status, qualities and characteristics of contemporary academics, their approaches to learning and teaching, as well as research and knowledge production.


Chapter 7 – The Stakeholders in Curriculum Development

The significance of involving multiple stakeholders in the curriculum is now well established. This chapter will discuss the role and importance of stakeholders in the development, implementation and review of curricula in HEIs.


Chapter 8 – Inclusivity and Inclusive Educational Approaches

Narratives of exclusion in higher education institutions in Africa remain prevalent.  This chapter will illuminate the concept of inclusivity in higher education by focusing on economic, social and cultural factors that play a role in student success.


Chapter 9 – Educational Technologies, Digital Pedagogies and the Digital Divide

Advancements in information and communication technologies in the last two decades have had a tremendous impact on higher education. This chapter will dwell on their significance, role and implications on higher education with particular emphasis on the realm of curriculum, teaching and learning.


Chapter 10 – Transformation, Re-imagination and Learning to Learn

The world of learning and teaching is changing in leaps and bounds as the sources of knowledge and the emerging tools of pedagogy are exploding. The chapter will analyse learning and teaching approaches, methodological and epistemological leanings as the continent strives to transform its institutions in particular and social and economic structure as a whole.


Chapter 11 – Conclusion: The Way Forward

This chapter will closely analyse the key themes and emerging trends as drawn from all the chapters.



February – April 2021

  • Develop a concept note for the theme
  • Identify co/editors
  • Identify contributors

May – September 2021

  • Develop book structure and chapters
  • Develop extensive guidelines for contributors
  • Invitation to contributors
  • Research and write up

October – December 2021

  • First Draft submission
  • Revision

January – February 2022

  • Final Submission
  • Editing

March 2022

  • Publishing: Scholarly and popular media



The African Higher Education Series is supported by the joint initiative of the Commissions of the African and European Union for higher education development within the HAQAA2 Framework coordinated by OBREAL, in Spain.

Each selected contributor will be paid a modest, pre-determined honorarium at the submission of the final edited version of the manuscript, ready for typesetting.



Proscovia Namubiru-Ssentamu will be the lead editor of the Book. Proscovia is Assoc. Professor of Education and head of the Quality Assurance Department at Uganda Management Institute. With an academic and professional experience spanning over 20 years, Proscovia is scholar, educator, researcher and consultant in Curriculum, Teacher Education and Development, Quality Assurance, and Teaching and Learning. She has supported several public and private universities and organisations within and beyond Uganda in curriculum design, development and evaluation; capacity building in her area of expertise, and in institutionalising quality assurance practices. She has published in several internationally-referred journals: ORCID ID: 0000-0003-4853-3968, and participated on various consultancies supported by the World Bank, Belgian Technical Cooperation, NUFFIC, UNESCO, UNICEF, USAID, Baylor Foundation, CDC, MasterCard Foundation, German Technical Cooperation, Compassion International and World Vision. She serves on several Boards and Committees including being a Director of the Julius Nyerere Leadership Center at Makerere University, co-chair of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards Technical Committee of the Education and Learning Services Standards, and chair of the DIGI-FACE Quality Assurance Body of 23 Germany Academic Exchange Services (DAAD)-funded African [higher education] Centers of Excellence.



The Higher Education Series will be headed and coordinated by Prof. Damtew Teferra who is the Founding director of the International Network for Higher Education in Africa at the University of Kwazulu-Natal and the co-coordinator of the CESA Higher Education Cluster, and the book series editor of The Higher Education Series. For more details see: https://www.inhea.org/the-african-higher-education-series/



Assoc. Prof. Proscovia Namubiru-Ssentamu
Head Quality Assurance Department,
Uganda Management Institute, P.O. Box 20131, Kampala,
psnamubiru@umi.ac.ug | pros07@yahoo.com