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The Inter University Council For East Africa


NEWS RELEASE President Museveni Urges Universities to Invest in Science and Support Research,

Saying it is very vital for prosperity, for security, for health, for environment and for quality of life

Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), East African Business Council (EABC) and the East African Development Bank (EADB) under the auspices of the East African Community EAC) held  the Academia-Public-Private-Partnership Forum and Exhibition 2015, on 22nd – 23rd October,  2015, in Entebbe, Uganda at Imperial Golf View Hotel. The theme of the forum was “Developing the Ideal Graduate through Academia-Public-Private Partnership”.

The Forum was officially opened by the President of the Republic of Uganda, His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who was represented by Prof Tickdori Togba, Minister of State in Charge of Higher Education, Republic of Uganda.  

 

The President said that, a modern labor market requires people with qualification in science and technology. “It is not only doctors, pharmacists, engineers and technicians who need science or technological education. For example, health workers handle complicated and dangerous equipment and secretaries need good computer literacy. Likewise lawyers and juries in court trials have to understand and critically judge evidence and statistical arguments in which knowledge of science and considerations of probability and chance play a major role”, said the President.

He said Knowledge economy is the one driving new information technology which is essential in ensuring business efficiency. Commending the collaboration of different universities, colleges, and institutes (providing both academic and professional training) from all African countries, the President said, that would make the forum and exhibitions unique, competent and high rated. The president told the participants that the

 

Government is planning to transform Uganda into an upper middle income country as envisaged in the vision 2040.

“We must invest in science. We must support research. Research is not a luxury. Science and research are very vital for our prosperity, our security, our health, our environment and our quality of life” added the President emphasizing to educate the next generation.

Welcoming the Guest of Honour and participants to the Forum, Ambassador, Dr. Richard Sezibera, the Secretary General, East African Community, informed the participants that   IUCEA in collaboration with the East African Business Council and the East African Development Bank are now developing a capacity building programme in research and innovation that will focus on, among others, human resources capacity development through postgraduate training, postdoctoral research programmes, and reskilling human resources for adaptation into the new labour market, and supporting the development and strengthening of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).  “However, the development of this programme requires inputs from different stakeholders in the academia, and the public and private sectors. Therefore, the choice of the theme for the 2015 Academia-Public-Private Partnership Forum and exhibitions “Developing the Ideal Graduate through Academia Public-Private Partnership” that will help in tackling higher education dynamics in East Africa is very appropriate at this point in time”. Said the Secretary General. Ambassador Sezibera assured the forum organizers of the EAC commitment to provide all the necessary support in making the emerging academia-public-private partnership in the region a success.

Addressing the Forum through the video, His Excellency Dr. Horst Kohler, Former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, in his Goodwill message Dr. Kohler told the participants of the Forum that he is addressing the conference that is dealing with higher education to create perspectives for the youth of Africa, the youngest and fastest growing continent on the planet and one of the most pressing issues of the time, adding that Europe will only be able to have a good future if Africa’s youth is doing well.

According to Dr. Kohler, perspectives for the youth means education, jobs and participation, having the possibility to shape one’s own future and to shape the society around. He observed that Africa has all the right potential which include natural resources and bright young people but the need for Africa are jobs. “But the massive job creation in Africa will only happen if we have growth and right kind of growth, not the kind of growth where all the money lands in the pockets of a few resource exporting businesses.  Now we need jobs that is based on manufacturing and modern services industry. In short Africa needs thrive that is based on creativity. I have an impression that more and more African Leaders recognize that diversification and structural transformation is Africa’s priority”, Said Dr. Kohler.

Commending the East African Community for being pioneer for Good Governance and Good Climate for the private sector to survive, the Former President emphasized good environment for businesses where there is an encouragement to invest and in which young people are encouraged to be entrepreneurs. He said that African Leaders have to fight corruption, which every day is killing the chances of young people to have a better future. Talking about relationship between Africa and Europe the President said “Europe has to wake up. The attitude of Europe towards Africa has to change fundamentally. We have to take Africa’s potential much more seriously. We have to engage more, to offer more scholarships and exchanges to young students, to have more of European companies to invest and create jobs in Africa. That also means changing our trade agricultural policies which too often are hurting Africa’s for industrialization”, emphasized the President.

In his welcome Statement, Mr. Kassim Omar, Vice-Chairperson, East African Business Council, Chairperson, EABC Uganda Chapter and Chairman, Uganda Clearing Industry and Forwarding Association told the Guest of Honour that since the beginning of this collaboration, 3 forums have been held and beneficial in developing an understanding and a spirit of collaboration towards a better future.

 “I am also happy to note that the Centers of Excellence which are progressively being established across the region are evidence of responsiveness of stakeholders to create productive scientific networks and integrated collaboration where research, creation of technologies, production and commercialization of products are part of a continuous process in the EAC region and beyond” said Mr. Kassim, commending on the ongoing harmonization of curricular across the region as a commendable effort that will ensure that graduates can work anywhere across the region.

He urged the Universities and Higher Learning Institutions to commit themselves to develop Research & Innovation across all institutions that can be translated into business ideas and promote enterprise development for overall sustainability and socio-economic development and to promote consultative engagement in curriculum & research development and implementation so that end products can be realized from universities that fits the job market in terms of innovation, skills and work attitude, more particularly in the human-capital development area.

 

Prof. Mayunga Nkunya, the IUCEA Executive Secretary, in his welcoming remarks informed the participants that the Forum 2015 was geared towards coming up with strategies to produce graduates who are able to transform the region into a knowledge-based economy and respond to the region’s aspirations for the partner states to become middle-income countries in the near future. Noting the importance of enhancing the linkage between the private sector and higher education institutions, Prof. Nkunya told the participants that higher education managers, researchers, the business community and policy makers from East African Partner States and abroad had gathered again to deliberate on practical strategies to support the development of academia-public-private-partnership platforms in the region and coming up with strategies to produce graduates who are able to transform the region into a knowledge-based economy and respond to the region’s aspirations for the partner states to become middle-income countries in the near future.

The dialogue sessions of the forum focused on, among others, the role of higher education institutions, employers, the private sector, and governments in providing the best possible opportunities to students to enable them build, refine and articulate their knowledge and entrepreneurial skills, creativity and attitude, for them to become ideal graduates for the world of work. The Forum involved panel discussions guided by the sub-themes on:

 

a) Who is an ideal graduate and what does the development of an ideal graduate entail?

(b)       Role of Academia-Public-Private Partnerships in developing an ideal graduate;

(c)        Role of the “African Centers of Excellence” initiative in producing an ideal graduate in Africa; and

(d)       How will harmonization of higher education in East Africa contribute towards the development of an ideal graduate?

During the Forum several publications were launched which were developed under the coordination of IUCEA. These include: 

The Principles and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education in East Africawhich have been developed for the purpose of guiding harmonization of quality assurance processes and practices in higher education in the national commissions/councils for higher/university education, and higher education institutions in the EAC Partner States.

The revised combined volumes 1 and 2 of the Handbook for Quality Assurance – Roadmap to Quality. The Handbook was developed in order to provide a common understanding of the concept of quality and quality assurance as applied to higher education, and to use common quality assurance approaches by facilitating the region to “talk the same language” in quality and quality assurance in higher education.

Benchmark for academic programmes: These constitute important building blocks of the East African Quality Assurance system, as they provide a frame of reference for higher education institutions when developing and reviewing academic programmes and curricula in order to ensure academic programmes and curricula in the region are harmonized. They are also important in tools in accreditation of academic programmes, particularly for guiding mutual recognition at the regional level of the national programme accreditation standpoint.

The benchmarks that have been developed and are now in use by stakeholders are:

i)        Benchmarks for Bachelor of Business and Related Studies

ii)     Benchmarks for Bachelor of Computer Science and Information Technology Programmes.

The East African Qualifications Framework for Higher Education

The East African Qualifications Framework for Higher Education has been developed as an all-encompassing tool for guiding systematic approaches to human resources development in the region. It is designed to serve as a useful instrument for guiding higher education institutions in curriculum development, delivery, assessment and certification, in line with the needs of the labour market. It is designed to serve both as a higher education supportive tool and as an instrument for guiding structured human resources development in the EAC region, focusing on skills and competences development, and the relevance of such skills and competences to the region’s human resources needs. The qualifications framework, which incorporates a credit accumulation and transfer system for East Africa, will also ease student mobility in the Community. The four documents are important instruments that guides the East African Community to operate as a Common Higher Education Area.

Another Publication which was launched was the book on EAC title “East African Community: Journey Towards Regional Integration”  The book presents a comprehensive account about the East African Community by systematically tracing the development of regional integration in East Africa from the pre-colonial days to the present time. It puts it clear that the Community has come a long way that also witnessed the breakup of the first East African Community (1967 – 1977) in 1977 and its rebirth starting with provisions that set in the revived East African co-operation in the early 1990s, up to the signing of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community in 1999 and expounds on the Pillars of Integration, which include the Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union, and Political Federation. Furthermore, the book portrays the trend in the East African Community of today, which focuses on the people and leadership to think, plan and act more and more in a coherent East Africa as a vibrant regional block.

In 2011 IUCEA in collaboration with the East African Business Council (EABC) established a partnership to promote the link between knowledge generation and human resources produced by higher education institutions in the region. The partnership focused on (a) promoting consultative engagement in curriculum and research development by identifying areas for higher education curriculum and research systems that are relevant to the region’s sustainable development; (b) enhancing linkage between the private sector and universities, including encouraging the private sector to support research and innovation activities in universities; (c) promoting the utilization of research outputs and innovation from universities by the business community; and (d) jointly organizing dialogue forums and exhibitions on an annual basis under the auspices of the East African Community, for promoting the development of academia – public – private partnerships in East Africa. Later the East African Development Bank (EADB) joined the partnership. To date 3 forums have been held and the fourth was held on 22nd – 23rd October 2015.

The Forum was preceded by the inauguration of IUCEA Headquarters Building at Kyambogo, Kigobe Road on 21st October 2015 by the President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni who was represented by the Minister of State for East African Affairs, Uganda, and Hon. Shem Bageine.

At the end of the Forum the IUCEA Executive Committee and IUCEA Staff used the opportunity at the Gala Dinner to bid Farewell to the outgoing Executive Secretary Prof. Mayunga Nkunya whose tenure is ending on 6th November 2015 and welcoming new IUCEA Executive Secretary Prof. Alexandre Lyambabaje.

 

For more information contact:

The Office of the Executive Secretary,

Wilhelmina Balyagati,

Corporate and Public Relations Officer

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

+256 77 4165 467 / +255 788467339 

 

 

 

 


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