Vice Chancellors and policy makers meet to shape the future of Higher Education in EAC
By IUCEA Team
The Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) held its 12th Annual Meeting and Conference from the 29-30 July, 2021 at USIU-Africa and virtually. The theme of the conference ‘Competency-Based Education: Implications on the future of Higher Education in the EAC’ brought together regional stakeholders in education, policy makers, university administrators to start discussions and generate policy recommendations to shape the future of higher education in the region.
Growing disruptions and new developments in higher education have prompted collaborated efforts in order to navigate the growing challenges and provide long-lasting solutions. Technological advancements such as artificial intelligence and augmented virtual reality coupled with alternative models of higher education, championed by technology firms, has emphasised the need to re-think the traditional model of teaching and learning.
Speaking at the conference, Hon. Ken Obura, the Chief Administrative Secretary who represented the Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of EAC and Regional Development in the Republic of Kenya, Hon. Adan Mohamed, asked IUCEA to take a lead in reforming higher education and guide policy direction to produce graduates with requisite skills for socio-economic transformation of the region. “I challenge higher education institutions not to be victims of change but to also impact change by producing graduates that are flexible and proactive in their response to changing times. This is the only they will create impact in our economies,” Hon. Mohamed said.
Mr. Stephen Niyonzima, the Director Social and Productive Sectors who represented Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki underscored the relevance of collaborative research among universities in EAC to address socio-economic challenges in the region. “I encourage IUCEA to bring our scientists together and establish regional research hubs or networks for the purpose of undertaking collaborative research targeting problems that beset the region,” Dr. Mathuki said. “There is need to constantly review and adapt education curricula to remain in tandem with the current development agenda of the region, needs and trends in the society and labour market,” he added.
IUCEA Executive Secretary, Prof. Gaspard Banyankimbona reiterated IUCEA’s commitment to be a champion of reforms needed to refocus higher education curriculum to meet the needs of the labour market by producing graduates that solve socio-economic challenges. “The emergence of new technologies has drastically changed the education landscape and put emphasis on skills in the production sector, which requires graduates with competencies that match the industry demands,” Prof. Banyankimbona said, noting that universities globally were facing competition from technology driven platforms such as EdX, Coursera, and other similar platforms points as alternative forms of education.