Tag Archives: Higher education

Global challenges need global talent
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This week we brought together higher education and research leaders from across the world to think about how global talent could be harnessed to address global challenges. Jon Harle discusses the importance of working together and the role that INASP can play. Continue reading

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Transforming teaching and learning in East Africa
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Students at Mzumbe University

Young people have a vital role to play in development, and universities are important sites to nurture their skills and to harness that energy for social change (as I blogged about last week). But there is work to do to realize this potential. In East Africa, the rapid growth of universities (there are now 45 universities in Uganda compared to just one university 50 years ago at Independence) and a huge expansion in student places – coming after many years of under-investment in infrastructure, learning resources and in academic staff – has had a serious impact on quality. In neighbouring Kenya, a recent audit by the Commission for University Education has revealed the extent of the problem. The content of many courses is out of date, the styles of teaching reflect the ‘chalk and talk’ mode of lecturing, and in many institutions there are few incentives and rewards for investing in teaching … Continue reading

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Critical skills for change: universities, young people and learning
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Young people have a vital role to play in their countries’ development. There are now 1.8 billion young people (between the ages of 10 and 24, 2014 UN figures)  — out of a global population of 7.3 billion — and nine out of 10 of them live in developing countries. This makes youth a vital dimension of development policy and practice, and more and more, the role of young people is being recognized. In a speech last year, the UN Deputy Secretary General put it clearly: “Young people must be recognized for who they are: agents of change whose contributions will bring benefits both to themselves and to society”. A set of institutions that have long known the potential of young people are universities. It’s through university study that young people can develop the knowledge, skills, ideas and attitudes that will enable them to contribute to their societies and economies, and also through … Continue reading

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Research and knowledge systems in difficult places part 3: Somalia and Somaliland
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In the last few weeks we’ve been exploring what we’re learning about doing research and using evidence in “difficult places”. We’ve introduced new papers on South Sudan and Liberia. Today we turn to the Somali regions. Looking beyond the headlines Somali has become almost synonymous with the term “failed state”, and Somalis have certainly suffered years of conflict and hardship. But the label of failed state, and the stories of war and refugees disguise a region of complex, adaptive and resilient political, social and economic systems. Similarly, there is more going on in research and higher education than I’d certainly imagined. In our latest viewpoints paper, Faduma Abukar Mursal considers the South-Central and Puntland regions of Somalia, while Abdullahi Odowa explores the situation in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland. Jason Mosley provides an introductory piece of political analysis, which places the subsequent accounts of the research and knowledge systems in … Continue reading

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Research and knowledge systems in difficult places part 2: Liberia
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In April, we published a blog post featuring South Sudan, introducing the first of a series of new papers on research and knowledge systems in “difficult places”. Around 4000 miles west of Juba, hugging the Atlantic coast of the continent is Liberia, which is the subject of our next post. While South Sudan is the world’s newest state, Liberia is Africa’s oldest republic, independent since 1847. But when we chose Liberia we weren’t tracing a simple conflict or crisis theme. Instead, with strong partnerships in Ghana, and new projects in Sierra Leone, it was a logical next step for INASP to consider working in Liberia. Common threads Of course, as countries which have both suffered many years of violence, there are some obvious, if superficial, similarities between Liberia and South Sudan – both are slowly rebuilding basic infrastructure and developing new institutions, and both lost many people during these crises, … Continue reading

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Building capacity of Africa’s library consortia
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Jon Harle reports on the recent library consortia meeting in Addis Ababa about building strong foundations for research to deliver African Union’s ‘Agenda 2063’ Last week’s workshop in Ethiopia wasn’t about libraries. It was about taking a vision of research and higher education – a vision of enabling development, tackling critical problems, improving the delivery of basic and much-needed services, preparing Africa for a changing world – and pulling that down to the detail of skills, of organizational processes and structures, of defining and addressing priorities through the incremental, day-to-day steps through which capacity is developed, services improved and progress made. One of my frustrations after the Senegal African Higher Education Summit in March was that we weren’t discussing the ‘how’ – and realising these ambitions for research and higher education will depend on taking high-level goals and translating them to real and sustained improvements in myriad areas, so that … Continue reading

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