Feb 11- 19, 2024 – A delegation from the Education Collaborative visited institutions across Southern Africa, engaging leaders, administrators, students, and key stakeholders, as part of preliminary steps towards establishing a regional hub.  

The institutions included Botho University, Botswana; Stellenbosch University, South Africa; Nelson Mandela University, South Africa; and North-West University, South Africa.

 “When we started the Education Collaborative in 2017, it was an answer to extend the impact of higher education beyond traditional expansion models of new campuses, or brick and mortar,” shared Rose Dodd, Director of The Education Collaborative. “We sought to identify, connect with, and effectively partner with like-minded institutions across Africa striving for better student an. Hubs enable close collaboration among partner institutions within the same region – some even within driving distance. They share similar regulatory challenges and resource needs, facilitating efficient data capture, publications, and knowledge exchange. Ultimately, it’s about streamlining collaboration for greater impact.”

The Southern Africa hub will empower local institutions to connect, identify resource gaps, and offer contextual support. This builds upon the success of existing Eastern and Western regional hubs.

The visits allowed the Education Collaborative to better understand the participating institutions’ priorities and their interest in joining the network. The Collaborative also gained valuable insights into the campus communities and the key departments and units focused on career services and entrepreneurship development.

“As a young university, we’re constantly adapting to the rapid pace of innovation in education while determining how best to tailor those changes to our institution. This can be daunting, as there’s uncertainty about which strategies will be most effective for us,” shared Priya Iyer, Vice Chancellor of Botho University, a member of the Education Collaborative since 2021.“This is where membership in the Education Collaborative has been invaluable. Comparing notes with more established institutions that have experimented with the approaches we’re considering gives us a clearer roadmap. We gain insights into scaling ideas and learn from their experiences when things didn’t work out as planned. This prevents us from repeating mistakes and reinventing the wheel.”

The Education Collaborative’s regional hub model, first piloted in East Africa in 2021, provides context-specific support and leverages the shared experience of leading universities. The recent establishment of a West Africa hub in 2022 further demonstrates the model’s success. A Southern Africa hub would continue the Collaborative’s mission to expand its regional footprint and foster impactful collaborations on the continent.