In its quest to transform higher education and its outcomes, a Nairobi-based pan-African non-profit organization, the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) through its Educational Leadership in Africa Program (PedaL ) does not back down in its efforts to build the capacity of scholars to use innovative pedagogy to improve the design, context, processes and content of teaching and learning.
PASGR Executive Director Dr. Anthony Mveyange while welcoming stakeholders to the forum, which was recently held as a hybrid of online and face-to-face interactions with a few guests hosted at the Nairobi’s Movenpick hotel, with the majority participating virtually on zoom, expressed hope for very engaging and enlightening conversations that would have a positive impact on education in Africa.
According to him, government officials, education policy actors from various national, regional and global organizations; media, development partners and teaching staff and university students are the esteemed participants in the forum with Dr Julius Jwan, the principal secretary of Kenya’s Department of State for Early Learning and Basic Education being the l guest of honor at the event.
Speaking on behalf of the PASGR Board, PASGR Program and Research Committee Chair, Prof. Karuti Kanyinga advocated the need for Africans to go back to the drawing board and start respecting science in formulating their policies, adding “it’s so much that our development policies can be much more informed by evidence.
“The research that is used to form government policy across Africa is such that it is produced by people using some sort of helicopter to land and then take off. It is a common tendency that research based on real realities in Africa inform government policies and end up being flawed or having less impact. The reasons for this are many; African scholars don’t publish and when they do, they don’t publish amazing papers,” Prof Kanyinga said.
Deputy Executive Director and Director of Higher Education Program, PASGR and PedaL Team Leader, Dr. Beatrice Muganda, while speaking about PedaL’s journey at the forum, noted that the event brought together 300 stakeholders of higher education to discuss the results of the educational leadership project in Africa and explore its future paths.
She hinted that PedaL, as one of eight projects supported by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office through the Strategic Partnership for Innovation and Reform grant scheme Higher Education (SPHEIR), had trained more than 2,700 academics in 90 universities as well as 38 technical and vocational students. Education and training institutions across continents, adding that he has also catalyzed transformations in the management and delivery of university programs.
Highlighting part of the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) at the event, Dr. Muganda said that “PASGR leads seven founding partners, namely the Alliance of African Research Universities (ARUA ), the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, UK as well as five implementing partner universities: University of Ibadan in Nigeria; Egerton University in Kenya; University of Ghana in Ghana; University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania; and Uganda Martyrs University in Uganda to develop and integrate educational innovations into university curricula across the continent.
She added that over the past four years, the PedaL partnership has grown to include 90 universities in 11 African countries: Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Botswana and Malawi with the aim of maximizing student learning outcomes in African universities and subsequently producing quality graduates who will meet labor market needs.
She said the PedaL training program is offered as both a face-to-face program and an online variation known as “PedaL Online: Technology for Transformative Pedagogy,” adding that ‘Because of its versatility, PedaL has scaled and achieved unprecedented growth even in the face of a devastating COVID-19 pandemic.
“In an independent external evaluation of PedaL by experts drawn from African countries, and undertaken between October 2020 and June 2021, it was found that scaling up pedagogical innovations in education systems would improve the quality and relevance education and would produce quality jobs – graduates ready and enterprising to accelerate economic development, build inclusive societies and contribute to the social transformation of their country,” she added.
In a concept that is not made available to the Online forum, the educational leadership partnership was found to have involved a wide range of education stakeholders throughout the life cycle of the PedaL project; from planning to design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the project and it is the collective and invaluable effort of PedaL stakeholders that has allowed PedaL to spread across different disciplines, levels of education and country in four years.
According to her, “the main objective is to bring about 400 actors of higher education included to share the results of PedaL emerging from practice as well as the external evaluation of PedaL; strengthen collaboration between universities on educational transformation; discuss options to extend PedaL to the entire education system and highlight opportunities for educational reforms.
“The stakeholder forum included a combination of opportunities to share information and learn from a variety of experiences through a keynote address on teaching excellence for skills development and research ; presentations of case studies on classroom interactions and emergent outcomes; high-level roundtables with university leaders on university management structures, enabling environment and collaboration for educational transformation; high-level roundtables with political actors on opportunities for scaling up educational transformation across the education system.
“The event which is expected to foster a better understanding of issues related to educational transformation also provided an opportunity to incorporate lessons learned on how PedaL had approached educational transformation into the design of relevant programs, generated wide ownership not only for mainstreaming educational reforms, but also broader educational reforms at university and national levels.
“In this context, there is a need to address the graduate skills mismatch gap and improve the overall quality of higher education in African universities, which has led to growing pressures to accelerate adoption. pedagogical skills relevant to pedagogical leadership in Africa. (Pedal) program.
At the end of the forum which brought together experts from different parts of African nations and all continents, they discussed changing teaching and learning practices: how to improve student learning outcomes, sustainability of results, integration of PedaL in university centers, progress towards policy changes at university and national levels, what can be done differently, adaptation of PedaL to the whole education system-Basic/TVET /Tertiary, expanding regional scope, among others.
Education stakeholders at the forum, which was a consortium, included the Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Nigeria, HE Professor Sonni Gwanle Tyoden; Chairman, Guest of Honour, Principal Secretary, Department of State for Early Learning and Basic Education, Kenya Dr Julius Jwan; Technical Advisor, Federal Ministry of Education Reform Implementation Committee, Nigeria; former Director of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Africa, Professor Pai Obanya and other online and on-site speakers, the Vice-Chancellor of Riara University, Kenya, Professor Robert Gateru; former Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka; National Council for Higher Education, Uganda, Dr Syrus Ssebugenyi; Chief Executive, Commission for University Education, Kenya, Professor Mwenda Ntarangwi and Africa Partnerships Manager, British Council, Monica Blagescu.
Others were Dr Jethro Pettit from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK, Curriculum and Teaching Expert, Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, UK, Dr. Linda Waldman; Head, Professional Development and Training, PASGR, Dr Pauline Ngimwa; Deputy Director of Quality Assurance, Moi University, Kenya, Professor Khaemba Ongeti; Chief Executive, Commission for University Education, Kenya, Professor Mwenda Ntarangwi; Deputy Permanent Secretary, Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation, Botswana, Dr Gladys Mokhawa, among others.