Tag Archives: Higher education

Transforming teaching and learning in East Africa
avatar

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 – and many smaller training institutions, compared to just one university 50 years ago at Independence). 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 The content of many courses is out of date, the styles of teaching reflect the ‘chalk and talk’ mode of lecturing, and in many institutions there are few incentives … Continue reading

Tagged , , Leave a comment

Critical skills for change: universities, young people and learning
avatar

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

Tagged , , Leave a comment

Research and knowledge systems in difficult places part 3: Somalia and Somaliland
avatar

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

Posted in General, Series | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Research and knowledge systems in difficult places part 3: Somalia and Somaliland

Research and knowledge systems in difficult places part 2: Liberia
avatar

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

Posted in General, Series | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Building capacity of Africa’s library consortia
avatar

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

Tagged , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Meeting supports publishers and libraries to strengthen Southern academia
avatar

INASP and the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) work in partnership on the Publishers for Development (PfD) initiative. The annual PfD conference is a forum bringing together key scholarly publishers with developing-country researchers, librarians and academics. PfD encourages dialogue between these parties, promoting a greater understanding of the unique challenges they face, while encouraging mutually beneficial, cooperative working relationships and practices. In this blog post Neil Johnson from the ACU talks about the organization’s new Research, Knowledge and Information Community, and how the ACU’s work in fostering cooperative relationships forms the basis for its involvement in PfD. The university library is a vital part of every academic institution. This central repository of academic work, research outputs and data, and published information is essential to ongoing research. Without access to this knowledge the academic process would be impossible. Despite this, the library is often misunderstood, overlooked, and undervalued – often considered … Continue reading

Tagged , , , , , , Comments Off on Meeting supports publishers and libraries to strengthen Southern academia