INTER-UNIVERSITY COUNCIL FOR EAST AFRICA (IUCEA)
Minister of State EAC Affairs, Uganda and Permanent Secretaries/Principals responsible for Ministries of East African Community Affairs visit IUCEA
To familiarize with IUCEA activities in the East African Region
Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), Kampala, Uganda, 11th July, 2017: Minister of State for East African Community Affairs, Republic of Uganda, (MP) Honorable Maganda Julius Wandera and Permanent Secretaries/Principals responsible for East African Community Affairs visited Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) on 7th July, 2017 to familiarize with IUCEA activities, streamline collaboration between IUCEA and Ministries responsible for EAC Affairs and be briefed on the implementation status of the decision of the 35th EAC Council of Ministers.
7th July, 2017 Led by Honourable Maganda Julius Wandera the delegation comprised of Mrs. Edith Mwanje, Permanent Secretary, MEACA, Uganda, Ambassador Jean Rigi, Permanent Secretary Ministry of the Office of the President Responsible for EAC Affairs, Burundi, Her Excellency Grace Mgovano, Tanzania High Commission in Uganda representing PS, Ms. Tabitha Masinjila, State Department for EAC integration, Kenya (representing PS) Mr. Mou Mou EAC Secretariat Southern Sudan, Mr. Baguma Ismael, Rwanda High Commission to Uganda representing PS), the delegation was received by IUCEA Executive Secretary Prof. Alexandre Lyambabaje.
Welcoming the delegates to IUCEA family in the presence of IUCEA Management Committee, Prof Alexandre Lyambabaje, briefed the delegates the genesis of the meeting which was to know each other, to be briefed about IUCEA’s roles and functions, achievements made and the current task ahead of IUCEA and higher education stakeholders in the operationalization of the East African Community Common Higher Education Area that was recently declared on 20th May, 2017 by the 18th Summit of Heads of State of the East African Community. The Executive Secretary informed the delegates that the Common Higher Education Area is aimed at providing an opportunity for the East African citizens to free movement of professionals and students, acknowledging the enforced mutual recognition of qualifications, equal treatment of students across the region and credit accumulation and transfer, harmonized fee structure model spanned by high quality of education and research in EAC Higher Learning Institutions.
“We are embarking on a very critical period where IUCEA is spearheading the operationalization of East African Common Higher Education Area” said the Executive Secretary emphasizing the need for higher education stakeholders to understand what it entails, responsibility of each stakeholders and tools, policies and guidelines which are in place to guide the operationalization of the related activities.
Prof. Lyambabaje updated the delegates on the progress made in the implementation of Eastern and Southern African Centers of Excellence (ACE II) Project. He said that IUCEA which is a Regional Facilitating Unit (RFU) for ACE II Project signed with the World Bank a Financial Agreement for a grant of 8 million USD for 5 years starting July, 2016 the funds among which three million USD being dedicated for scholarships for graduate students and building partnerships with industry. “Another important achievement that IUCEA has recorded is hosting the Regional Facilitation Unit of the African Centers of Excellence for Eastern and Southern Africa (ACE II), funded by Partner States and other Governments in the region with the World Bank Loan started their activities in six countries out of eight hosting countries; only Uganda and Zambia are yet to start noting that the Republic of Uganda has completed all the required eligibility criteria as of June 2017” revealed Prof. Lyambabaje to delegates, adding that as a result, a number of Regional Centers of Excellence have accessed funds amounting to 1.1 million USD each, sent out calls for applications for Masters and Ph.D. students using their own website and IUCEA website.
On IUCEA Rolling Strategic Plan 2016/2021 which is under final stages of completion for approval, the Executive Secretary listed key areas where the Strategy will focus, namely Strengthening collaboration among IUCEA Members for teaching, research and innovation; Coordinating the operationalization of the Common Higher Education area;Fostering research and innovation through establishment and monitoring of Regional Centers of Excellence for graduate and post-graduate trainings,Facilitating mobility of staff and students across EAC and beyond; and Reinforcing of IUCEA capacity; human, financial and infrastructures including ICT; to enable IUCEA to coordinate and facilitate effectively the required interventions.
The Executive Secretary extended the Council’s sincere appreciation to EAC Partner States for the continued budgetary support that has enabled IUCEA to achieve significant milestones that are contributing to the EAC integration agenda and to the Government of the Republic of Uganda for the courteous hosting IUCEA close to 47 years and for the diplomatic status and privileges accorded to the institution and her staff.
In his presentation to the delegates about the IUCEA and the achievements made Prof. Mike Kuria, Deputy Executive Secretary IUCEA, mentioned IUCEA’s achievements especially in facilitating staff and student mobility programs which are conducted annually including student debates on EAC matters, supporting to local publications (academic/text books), developed Quality assurance instruments where Quality Assurance (QA) handbook in 5 volumes have been completed and already in use by higher learning institutions and the development of subject benchmarks by involving industry and professionals. Other areas of achievement mentioned by Prof. Kuria included completion of benchmarks (IT, Computer Science, Education, Business Studies) while (Agriculture, Medicine, Engineering) are ongoing.
On policy documents that are in readiness for the East African Common Higher Education Area (EACHEA) Prof. Kuria cited Regional Qualifications Frameworks for Higher Education (EAQFHE), Principles and Guidelines for quality assurance in higher education in East Africa, Capacity building for universities (over 100 QA officers trained) and the established East African Quality Assurance Network (EAQAN) which holds Quality Assurance conferences every year (May) on topical issues. Others areas mentioned included Academia Public Private Partnerships Forum and Exhibitions (APPPF) on an annual basis and Partnerships with key stakeholders, Germany Academic Exchange Service, (DAAD), World Bank, KFW and African Development Bank while pointing out the Declaration of East Africa as a Common Higher Education Area on 20th May, 2017 by the 18th Summit of EAC Heads of State and IUCEA Rolling Strategic plan 2016/17- 2021/22 in completion stages as significant recent developments in the development of East African higher education sector.
On his turn Minister of State for East African Community Affairs, Republic of Uganda, (MP) Honorable Maganda Julius Wandera appreciated the opportunity to interact with IUCEA and expressed how important it was for the delegation to know the EAC institution hosted in Uganda, its roles and functions in the development of higher education sector in the East African region. Admitting his awareness of what IUCEA is doing, the Minister was eager to know about the challenges faced by IUCEA in implementing its activities and how EAC countries were being brought on board when it comes to harmonization of higher education in the Community considering different systems of education, languages which are mainly English and French and how IUCEA was creating her own source of funding mechanisms in consideration of inadequate funding by EAC Partner States for all activities expected to be implemented by IUCEA. The Minister appreciated the achievements achieved so far by IUCEA in coordinating the Council’s activities while emphasizing the need of more publicity activities geared to sensitize the public and pledged support to the Council.
For more information contact:
Wilhelmina Balyagati, Corporate and Public Relations Officer
Inter-University Council for East Africa, Plot M833, Kigobe Road
Kyambogo, Kampala, P. O. Box 7110 Kampala, Uganda
Website: www.iucea.org, Tel: 256 414 256251/2
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