October 10-11, 2022, Kigali, Rwanda – 76 higher education executives, administrators, and regulators from across East Africa participated in The Education Collaborative’s inaugural East Africa hub convening, engaging one another on improving educational outcomes and scaling quality within the region. 

Against the backdrop of Africa’s growing population (70% of whom are under 30), expected to double to 2.5 billion people by 2050, The Education Collaborative’s focus is to collaborate with institutions across the continent to train over 1.1 million young Africans over the next decade to become ethical and entrepreneurial leaders. 

“We all recognize the significant youth population growth in Africa; we see it in our universities, our offices, and in our cities,” shared Rose Dodd, Executive Director of the Education Collaborative. “Africa is getting younger by the day, and to unlock this demographic dividend, Africa must create 12 million jobs by the end of this decade. The sheer size of people we have to effectively prepare for this future and the pace at which we need to do it is impossible for any one university or institution to go at it alone. To move this needle, we need universities to work together, driven by a shared set of outcomes for educating ethical, entrepreneurial leaders. This is the vision that drives The Education Collaborative.” 

The first of its kind, the two-day event provided a platform for higher-ed stakeholders to learn more about The Education Collaborative’s work in partnering with institutions to improve educational outcomes across Africa. Over the period, participants engaged one another in panel discussions, workshops, lectures, and a commitment summit, learning and sharing best practices across different institutions. 

“This convening is very important because the mismatch between what we produce and what is [needed] is immense,” shared Hon. Prof. Manasseh Nshuti, Minister of State in the Rwandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in charge of the East African Community. “It is our business [as educators] to provide training for the skillsets that are fit for purpose and fit for the market. We need to figure out what the market and policymakers are asking for [from the universities] and train students who are not only fit for the market in Africa but also for the global market.” 

Under the theme Accelerating Entrepreneurship and Graduate Employability for Regional Development, the Convening sessions touched on the role of regulators in promoting graduate employability; approaches for boosting collaboration amongst higher education stakeholders in East Africa; the role of venture funding as a catalyst to entrepreneurship and employability, and the resources available from The Collaborative to support institutions to improve graduate employability outcomes in East Africa.  

“I’ve been very excited to hear from other institutions and been encouraged by their willingness to share how they’re working towards transforming educational outcomes,” said Nathalie Munyampenda, CEO of Kepler, convening hosts and pioneering members of The Education Collaborative. “Kepler joined The Education Collaborative because we saw a commitment [from institutions] within The Collaborative to transform and have a wider impact on the continent. Each institution in The Collaborative is committed to improving and sharing its learnings, models, and failures so that there can be something transformative happening.”

Since its inception in 2017, The Education Collaborative has engaged some 268 universities, introduced curriculum reforms, improved student services, and created new programs that have impacted learning outcomes for 149,000 students in Africa. Through the regional approach, The Collaborative drives context-relevant programs and solutions for higher-ed stakeholders in the region. 

“When we were thinking about this conference, the first thing that came to mind was employability, and that’s a reality of our higher educational institutions, our growth, and our continent,” shared Lizzie Chongoti, Director of the East Africa Hub. “Our success in East Africa is success for The Education Collaborative, so that we will be able to impact not just East Africa but the whole continent through this convening.” 

Click here to learn more about programs and initiatives by The Education Collaborative.