Strengthening Higher Education Stakeholder Relations in Africa

BACKGROUND

The Association of African Universities (AAU) and the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (www.aucc.ca) are organizations with shared interests and mandates which were formalized in 2003 with a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate, promote and support cooperation between African and Canadian universities.

In 2009, the two organisations developed a joint three-year proposal titled Strengthening Higher Education Stakeholder Relations in Africa (SHESRA) to CIDA, now Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), for funding. Approved by CIDA, the project was run from April 2010 to December, 2013.

PROJECT GOALS

The ultimate aim of SHESRA, which has three components, is to link African universities more closely with the productive sector, positioning them to better develop the skills and knowledge of their students to meet their countries’ needs, and in the process enhance graduate employability and technology transfer.

The three components of the projects were:

COMPONENT 1: Strengthening African University Outreach: Fifteen African universities (grant recipients) partnered with Canadian universities to strengthen their strategic plans to improve their outreach to external stakeholders, specifically industry, government, and communities.

COMPONENT 2: University- Industry Linkages:African universities partnered with Canadian counterparts to develop and showcase six African model case studies on university-industry linkages.

COMPONENT 3: Strengthening AAU Stakeholder Relationsrequired AAU and AUCC to work in partnership to strengthen the AAU’s ability to support its member universities’ external stakeholder relations and to strengthen AAU member universities’ with the needed tools to enhance collaboration with external stakeholders through the development of a number of advocacy tools.

PROJECT ADMINISTRATION

The Project was jointly managed by the AAU and the AUCC. From the AAU were the following

  • John Pancras Ssebuwufu (Project Director)
  • Ransford O. Bekoe (Acting Project Officer)
  • Rebecca Ramsey (Field Liaison Officer)

The team at the AUCC was made up of the following:

  • Philip Landon (Director, Partnerships Program)
  • Robert White (Acting Director, Partnerships Program)
  • Kethline Garoute (Program Manager, Partnerships Program)
  • Jennifer Bedore (Administrative and Information Officer)

The Project also has a Proposal Selection Committee comprising of the following:

Prof. Akilagpa Sawyerr – Ghana
Prof. Francis Allotey/ Prof. Beban Sammy Chumbow – Ghana
Prof. Goolam Mohamedbhai – Mauritius
Prof. Christiane Rabier / Prof. Sue Horton – Canada
Prof. LietteVasseur – Canada

PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION

COMPONENT ONE: STRENGTHENING AFRICAN UNIVERSITY OUTREACH

Under Component 1, 27 African universities partnered with 19 Canadian counterparts for consideration for grants to develop the African institutions’ strategic plans. Fifteen (15) partnerships were subsequently selected (see below) for sponsorship:

  • Addis Ababa University/University of Prince Edward Island
  • Hawassa University/University of Saskatchewan
  • Jomo Kenyatta Univ. of Agriculture and Tech./Univ. of Western Ontario
  • Masinde Muliro Univ. of Science and Technology/Univ. of the Fraser Valley
  • Mzumbe University/University of Alberta
  • National University of Rwanda/University of Western Ontario
  • Njala University/University of Guelph
  • Université Cheikh Anta Diop/ l’Université de Sherbrooke
  • Université d’Ouagadougou/Université de Moncton
  • Université de Bamako/Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
  • Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis/Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières
  • University of Botswana/Carleton University
  • University of Dar es Salaam/Carleton University
  • University of Mines and Technology/Memorial University of Newfoundland
  • University of Nairobi/Simon Fraser University

PROJECT OUTCOMES

It is worth noting that somenotable lessons and indirect outcomes of SHESRA have been noted by the participating institutions as follows:

  • A heightened understanding and increased capacity of the African participants to implement strategic plans for strengthening stakeholder relations
  • Better understanding of the type and benefits of industrial linkage in developed universities
  • Contacts and networks with various companies and units have been initiated
  • Lessons have been learned on the different approaches employed in higher education institutions towards the development of  higher education strategic planning
  • Lessons have also been learned on how the university system and governance function across different higher education institutions, as well as on the development and implementation of research policy, university-community, university-industry linkages and networking strategies

 

PUBLICATION

PUBLICATIONS UNDER SHESRA

Component 1

Beside the Strategic Plans developed/revised by the African universities, the publications under Component 1 are:

1)  Practical Guide on Strategic Planning

2)  Policy Brief on Strategic Planning

 

COMPONENT TWO: UNIVERSITY-INDUSTRY LINKAGES

Component 2 led to the underlisted 6 institutions out of 18 applications being selected to develop successful case studies on their linkages with external stakeholders:

  1. Kenyatta University, Kenya
  2. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
  3. Makerere University, Uganda
  4. Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Senegal
  5. University of Botswana, Botswana
  6. Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar, Senegal
  7. Practical Guide on University – Industry Linkages
  8. Policy Brief on University – Industry Linkages
  9. Training Module on University – Industry Linkages
  10. Policy Brief on gender equity in higher education stakeholder relationships – 2013
  11. A Synthesis of Six Case Studies, titled on Showcasing Models of University Partnerships with External Stakeholders

 

COMPONENT THREE: STRENGTHENING AAU STAKEHOLDER RELATIONS

Under Component 3, the aim was to strengthen AAU member universities’ with the needed tools to enhance collaboration with external stakeholders through the development of a number of advocacy tools. An important first step was to map the extent and nature of the African universities’ external stakeholder relationships including those relationships with industry to serve as the basis for better understanding what the AAU membership needs are in order to more fully strengthen (and possibly develop) their broader stakeholder relations including those with industry.

The survey result, titled “Strengthening University Industry – Linkages in Africa: A Study of Institutional Capacity and Gaps” is published in both hard and soft copies.

Other publications undertaken Component 3 are:  

Another important output of the SHESRA Project is the Validation Report of the Project Evaluation held in Addis Ababa in April 2013 to review each component of the project to determine if their stated objectives have been met, according to the project’s LFA and work plan, which state the ultimate and intermediate outcomes, as well as outputs, for each component.

 

Workshops

Three workshops reports were produced under the Project between 2011 and 2014.

1)      A workshop report held in Accra in June, 2012 to share information, lessons learned and best practices to improve the development of the six model case studies.

 2) A workshop report held in November 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya to deliberate on the development of the 15 strategic plans

3) Another important output of the SHESRA Project is the Validation Report of the Project Evaluation held in Addis Ababa in April 2013 to review each component of the project to determine if their stated objectives have been met, according to the project’s LFA and work plan, which state the ultimate and intermediate outcomes, as well as outputs, for each component.

 

CONTACT DETAILS

Association of African Universities

P. O. Box AN 5744

Accra – North

Ghana.

E-mail: ransford@aau.org