24th – 25th August 2021 – University leaders from 8 institutions convened at Rongo University, Kenya, to draw a roadmap for operating and driving impact through the Education Collaborative’s first regional hub. Starting from East Africa, the Education Collaborative looks to scale impact across the continent through a regional hub approach that works through clusters of exemplary African universities.
“We are excited about the opportunity to learn from and reap the advantages that come with collaborating with our colleague universities within the East African region,” shared Prof. Samuel Gudu, Vice-Chancellor, Rongo University, in his welcome address. “The Education Collaborative’s focus on employability, entrepreneurship and ethical leadership is crucial. And as a network of universities, we can learn from each other in these areas.”
University leaders present included Paul Swaga, President, Davis College, Rwanda; Prof. Robert Gateru, Vice-Chancellor, Riara University, Kenya; Eric Saulo, Director, Advancement and External Relations, Strathmore University, Kenya; Prof. Samuel Gudu, Vice-Chancellor, Rongo University, Kenya; Prof. Daniel Mugendi, Vice-Chancellor, University of Embu, Kenya; David Mutabanura, Executive Director, Cavendish University, Uganda; Dr. Bonn Jonyo, Principal Research Officer, United States International University – Africa (USIU), Kenya; Prof. Baylie Yeshita, Vice-Chancellor, Kepler, Rwanda; Araba Botchway, Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, Ashesi University; Ghana, and Rose Dodd, Director, Education Collaborative.
The diversity in African higher education creates a unique context for institutions across the continent. As such, driving impact and addressing challenges in each requires a unique approach. Through the regional hub model, the Collaborative looks to provide a blueprint for success through shared and relatable experiences from exemplary universities.
“Several higher education institutions in the East Africa region are open to innovation, and have shown exemplar models, making the region an excellent starting point for hub development,” shared Rose Dodd, Director of the Education Collaborative. “With this approach, institutions can customize best practices learned from peer institutions across Africa to suit their unique contexts.”
Over the next ten years, the institutions within established regional hubs will build the capacity to drive transformation in ethics and leadership, career readiness, entrepreneurship ecosystems, diversity, equity, and inclusion, while ensuring accountability and sustainability. Additionally, the hubs are estimated to impact over 1.1 million students within the decade.
“Higher learning institutions often focus on competing with each other,” shared Dr. Ogutu, Vice-Chancellor Designate, Strathmore University. “It is refreshing to see the Education Collaborative fostering a unified approach, because for us at Strathmore, collaboration is critical to our mission. We know we can’t educate everyone, and so our impact has to be exemplary; designing models that others can learn from and adjust to suit their context.”
Each regional hub will have an office situated in a selected institution where the Collaborative will coordinate all activities within the region. Each institution will engage in a set of project-based activities aligned with the Collaborative’s focus areas. Member institutions will also share their expertise with their peers, learn from their peers, and drive initiatives that will contribute to sustainability within the network at the end of each year. This way, members can solve specific problems they face by approaching institutions excelling in those areas.
“Being part of the East Africa hub has come at a critical time for us at Davis College,” shared Paul Swaga, President, Davis College. “As we are currently in the middle of developing a roadmap for our Bachelor’s degree program, the opportunity to learn from other higher education institutions that have effectively run similar programs is priceless. Ultimately, the regional hub is going to help us approach our colleague institutions as collaborators, not competitors.”
“Often, most African universities look beyond the continent for model universities to learn from,” shared Ms. Dodd. “The Education Collaborative is focused on identifying and working with committed African institutions ready to improve our collective excellence. This way, we raise the outlook of higher education on the continent, and we look forward to seeing the impact our collaboration will make on the continent.”