- University World News
New partnership puts university teaching in the spotlight (Africa)
African universities need a systematic change in teaching and learning approaches to help lecturers deal with growing student numbers and inadequate facilities, and to produce graduates who can make meaningful contributions in today’s knowledge-based economies. This message was a key driver of discussions at a pedagogical leadership training session aimed at lecturers in the social sciences from five countries in Africa, held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 8-14 July. The session marked the start of a three-and-a-half-year pilot training programme for higher education lecturers that aims to catalyse systematic change in teaching and learning at all levels in African universities. The programme, known as the Partnership for Pedagogical Leadership in Africa or PEDAL, is to be implemented by the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR) with funding from the United Kingdom’s Strategic Partnerships for Higher Education Innovation and Reform. Participating institutions at this stage include the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, the University of Ghana, Uganda Martyrs University, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Kenya’s Egerton University. “This programme aims to transform teaching and learning in African universities through innovation,” said Beatrice Muganda, director for higher education at PASGR. Muganda, who leads the implementation of the programme, said that the uptake of PEDAL could result in more innovative teaching and learning methods, assisting in the development of higher-level thinking, greater innovative capacities and in the better application of content-specific knowledge and skills in different contexts. Muganda said PEDAL will eventually extend its reach to other universities. The target, she said, is to train over 1,000 university teaching staff who will use this initiative to deliver social science programmes to benefit over 7,000 students. Some of the courses targeted in the training included research and public policy, gender and development studies, refugee and migration studies, economics and development studies. Paul Effah, president of Radford University College, based in Ghana, said there was a need for university lecturers in Africa to be better equipped so that learning becomes more rewarding. “Most of our university lecturers have knowledge in technical skills but that does not necessarily translate into good teaching,” said Effah.
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2. University World News
‘Sustainable development needs both arts and sciences’ (Africa)
“Sustainable development requires both the sciences and the arts to work together and complement each other for execution of development agendas,” according to Professor Samuel Sefa-Dedeh, vice president of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. Speaking on the sidelines of the academy’s recent conference on Sustainable African Cities held in Accra, Ghana during the first week of July, Sefa-Dedeh said the arts and sciences cannot work in isolation and their amalgamation is necessary in sustainable development. He said innovations developed by university academics and researchers from the scientific world in fields such as agriculture, health and engineering need academics from the arts to help the public and policy makers make sense of research and find mechanisms to roll out technologies. Sefa-Dedeh said that the academy has sought to develop its service to Ghana through collaborations with other national bodies on the essential issues affecting science and humanities, governance, and the formulation and implementation of policies. The academy has also established formal and informal links with Ghanaian universities that enable collaboration on a number of activities concerning research and development. “We have also undertaken assessment of issues especially in the higher education sector making workable recommendations for improvement,” noted Sefa-Dedeh. He said the academy had, for example, registered its concerns over requirements for the pre-university science and mathematics courses, which were now drawing larger numbers of students to the fields. Delegates at the conference, organised by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Network of African Science Academies and the Academy of Science of South Africa, endorsed the need for increased interaction and collaboration between the arts and sciences to enable Africa to find local solutions to challenges facing urbanisation on the continent. Sefa-Dedeh called on governments in Africa to support academies which could, through think tanks and other fora, respond to a range of emerging development challenges such as climate change. He challenged other academies in Africa to form smart collaborations and share knowledge to advance development agendas on the continent. “That’s how we can achieve sustainable development: if the humanities and science work together,” said Sefa-Dedeh.
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3. Daily Nation
JKUAT and MERU Universities get new Vice Chancellors (Kenya)
Professor Victoria Ngumi is the new Vice-Chancellor of Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (Jkuat). Prof Ngumi replaces Prof Mabel Imbuga who has retired after serving the institution for the last 10 years. Until her appointment, Prof Ngumi was deputy vice-chancellor, administration, at the University. In her previous post, she was responsible for corporate planning, staff recruitment, training of administrative staff, promotions and discipline, personnel administration, health care services, registry administration, transport, and central services. The new appointment, dated July 18, was made by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed. Ms Mohamed has also appointed Prof Romanus Odhiambo Otieno as the new vice chancellor of Meru University. Prof Otieno replaces Prof Japheth Magambo whose term was not renewed following deadly student riots at the institution early this year. Before his appointment, Prof Otieno was deputy vice-chancellor in charge of academic affairs at JKUAT. He headed the academic division, which is tasked with planning of academic programmes, preparation of syllabuses, and teaching. The office is also responsible for student’s affairs— including admissions, keeping records, and welfare. In their new capacities, Prof Ngumi and Prof Otieno will act as the chief executives of their respective universities.
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