EAC future of higher  education on drawing board

EAC future of higher education on drawing board

AS the East African Community (EAC) integration process gathers pace on many fronts, on the drawing board now is the future of the bloc's higher education.

Higher learning education stakeholders, including vice - chancellors of universities within the six partner states have been sharing experience and exchanging ideas on how best such education could be shaped. With formalisation of issues in different sectors across Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan aim at actualisation of the EAC priorities 2017 – 2021, including institutional transformation at the regional and partner state levels-the Inter University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) has initiated discussions and generate policy recommendations to shape the future of higher education the region.

IUCEA Executive Secretary, Professor Gaspard Banyankimbona, reaffirmed the Council's commitment to be a champion of reforms needed to refocus the higher education curriculum to meet the needs of the labor market by producing graduates with the capacity to solve the region's 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.

Globally, universities are facing competition from technology-driven platforms such as EdX, Coursera and other similar platforms as alternative forms of Continued from Page 1 education.

Technological advancements such as artificial intelligence and augmented virtual reality coupled with alternative models of higher education, championed by technology firms, have emphasised the need to re-think the traditional model, given the fact that the partner states are in different stages of technology and on policy issues.

IUCEA, the specialised institution of the EAC responsible for development of higher education in the region, organised a conference to start discussions and generate policy recommendations on Saturday, to shape the future of higher education in the region.

Kenyan Chief Administrative Secretary, Mr Ken Obura, sees a necessity for 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 just 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 way they will create impact in our economies,” he said at the Conference where he represented Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for EAC and Regional Development, Mr Adan Mohamed.

The Acting Director of Social Sectors at the EAC Secretariat, Mr Stephen Niyonzima, who represented EAC Secretary General, Dr Peter Mathuki, underscored the significance of collaborative research among universities in the EAC region 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. “There is a 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 labor market,” was the Secretary General's message.

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