International Association of Universities

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IDEA - PhD Portal and Activites

Innovative Approaches to Doctoral Education in Africa

After analysing the data reported throughout Phase I of the project, carried out with our partner pilot institutions - the University of Douala, Cameroon, University of Ilorin, Nigeria, Kenyatta University, Kenya, Université des Sciences et Technologies du Benin, Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Senegal, and the National University of Rwanda – IAU published a report of our findings on the IAU website. (Please click here for the full report).

Phase II of the project incorporates a new series of sub-Saharan African institutions who completed the survey questionnaire in order to form a more robust report of trends and reforms affecting doctoral programmes on the continent. The sample of universities taking part so far include a wide variety of institutions that represent the diversity of doctoral programme operation and implementation in sub-Saharan Africa and thus incorporates a wide range of perspectives and practices in the IAU project.

The IAU Questionnaire and Survey dually functions as an institutional self-assessment tool, developed and tested in the first phase of the project, enhanced during the second phase, and which proved to be extremely effective for information gathering and for promoting reflexion on policy issues and ways to improve the quality of doctoral programmes. Institutions are able to review and, where needed, adjust their data storage and collection mechanisms, which enhances their ability to develop evidence-based strategies and responses to the challenges facing doctoral programmes in Africa.

The information and data collected from the participating institutions have also played a large role in determining the content and structure for the IAU interactive portal on innovative approaches to doctoral education in Africa which has been developed in partnership with IAU Members and in particular with the partner Universities, with ACUP – the Catalan Association of Public Universities and FUOC – the Open University of Catalonia, thanks to financial support provided by Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and the Spanish International Development Agency. The Portal was launched at the IAU 14th General Conference, on 30 November 2012. Contact: Dr van 't Land

Addis Ababa Seminar IAU - ACUP International Seminar on Innovative Approches to Doctal Education and Training, EiABC, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, July 2012

Hosted by the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC), Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 12-13 July 2012.

The International Association of Universities (IAU) and the Association of Catalan Public Universities (ACUP) were pleased to co-organize the international seminar on doctoral education and research training in Africa.

Bringing together participants from 19 higher education institutions, representing 14 countries, and 8 different higher education associations and organizations, the Seminar allowed for a discussion of the current state of doctoral education in Africa and was also the opportunity for participants to present various success stories. The participants also set out a series of recommendations and steps for future action to improve doctoral education.

  • The seminar programme and presentations can be accessed here.

  • The list of institutions and countries represented is available here.

  • For pictures from the seminar, please click here.

  • The Seminar Report and the Addis Conclusions and Declaration are available here.

IAU and ACUP are also delighted to announce the creation of an Interactive Web based Portal on Doctoral Education in and for Africa. Developed by IAU and ACUP, in cooperation with the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), this portal on doctoral education and training is to encourage the exchange of information and ideas related to doctoral programs and their overall management. The portal will be launched in October.


Phase I of Changing Nature of Doctoral Programmes in sub-Saharan Africa

In 2009, the IAU secured funding support from the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) to work on The Changing Nature of Doctoral Programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the context of globalization and internationalization, and noting the constantly evolving higher education landscape, the purpose of this two year pilot study was and is to identify what changes are taking place in doctoral programmes in sub-Saharan Africa; to analyse the impact of these changes on training for research in six Anglophone and Francophone higher education institutions (HEIs) in sub-Saharan Africa; to understand if and how institutions have developed their institutional practices and how this impacts on and improves the management and functioning of their doctoral programmes; and to identify the challenges or difficulties encountered and solutions being tested in different institutions.

The six pilot institutions selected to take part in the pilot study were:

  • University of Douala, Cameroon;
  • University Ilorin, Nigeria;
  • Kenyatta University, Kenya;
  • Université des Sciences et Technologies du Benin, Benin;
  • Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis, Sénégal;
  • National University of Rwanda, Rwanda.

An additional purpose of the study was to stimulate focused debate on models of Doctoral training that have proven to be most appropriate to developing nations or those that need yet to be tried, and to offer a new and dynamic networking opportunity to a small set of HEIs to facilitate joint elaboration of comparative approaches and answers to the challenges they individually face. The study considered programmes in several branches of science, namely: the life sciences, the applied sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. The project WebPages provide details about the project, related actions and outcomes.

For further information, please contact: Dr. H. van’t Land, Director Membership and Programme Development

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