400 Higher Education Stakeholders to meet in Nairobi

The Kenya based Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) is organising a stakeholder forum for Academics in African Universities to appraise the impact of one of its pet projects, Pedagogical Leadership in Africa (PedaL) which is currently revolutionising methods in African Universities.

The Deputy Executive  Director of PASGR, Dr. Beatrice Muganda, who is also the Director of Higher Education, disclosed in a concept note that the event will bring together an estimated 400 higher education stakeholders and will fulfil  four key objectives: Share outcomes of PedaL emerging from practice as well as the external evaluation of PedaL; Strengthen collaboration across universities on pedagogical transformation; Discuss options for scaling PedaL across the education system; Highlight opportunities for educational reforms.

The stakeholders’ forum will include a combination of opportunities for sharing information and learning from a variety of experiences through: A keynote address on excellence for skills development and research; Presentations of case studies of classroom interactions and emerging outcomes; High level panel discussions with university leaders on university management structures, enabling environment and collaboration for pedagogical transformation;High level panel discussions with policy actors on opportunities for scaling pedagogical transformation across education system.

Dr. Muganda disclosed that the event will foster a deeper understanding of issues around pedagogical transformation. It will also provide an opportunity for integrating lessons learnt on PedaL approached pedagogical transformation in the design of relevant programmes. It is also envisaged that this forum will spark broad based ownership for not only mainstreaming pedagogical reforms, but also broader educational reforms at university and national levels.  She posited that, scaling pedagogical innovations across education systems should enhance the quality and relevance of education and produce quality job-ready, entrepreneurial graduates to accelerate economic development, build inclusive societies and contribute to the social transformation of their countries.

The Executive Director explained that African Universities have the mandate of transforming society through knowledge production, dissemination, research, and extension. However, they face two major crises, first the “quantitative” crisis occasioned by the inadequacy of universities to meet the ever-growing need and demand for education in the context of the continent’s increasing population. Secondly, the more critical, quality and relevance crises manifested in an increasing mismatch of skills with labour market demands. While both the crises of quantity and quality are as a result of the economic downturn in Africa, they can also be causes.

According to Muganda, at the university level, a wide range of systemic weaknesses are manifested in increased class sizes, inadequate infrastructure and a heavy and administrative workload that is exacerbated by a weak or lack of a reward for excellence. It is also worthy of note that staff in African universities are highly qualified in their disciplines, but lack appropriate pedagogical skills, the statement said.

Commenting stakeholders’ forum, Dr. Ezekiel Major Adeyi, Head of Political Science Department, University of Jos, Nigeria said the Forum is slated for Monday 29 November, 2021 at Movenpick Hotel Nairobi, Kenya. The event, he explained further will be hybrid of online and face-to-face interactions. Scholars from 90 African Universities are participating, including the University of Jos, University of Ibadan, University of Lagos, Osun State University, and University of Ilorin from Nigeria. Dr. Adeyi commended PASGR for the revolution in education and urged policy makers in Africa to embrace PASGR’s vision.