Intra-Africa Academic Mobility SchemeAcademic Mobility for African Sustainable Development/AMAS
Sustainability of the AMAS project is a key mandate of its joint policy and the partnership action. The successful commitment to intra-Africa mobility of all Partner Universities involved in the project of AMAS will help further shaping of the internationalisation agendas of the respective HEIs for the future. Moreover, it will influence the general attitude towards intra-Africa internationalisation strategies in higher education of the participating universities. An envisaged output from this partnership is harmonisation of study programmes and courses that will appear compatible for the mutual benefits of partnering and mobility exchanging universities.
Furthermore, the AMAS project has potential to influence a wider range of universities outside the partnership in various ways. As an ‘Intra-Africa mobility model’, AMAS has the likelihood to showcase best practices and set benchmarks in academic mobility as a pathfinder with reference to Africa. As a result, the project can serve as a reference point and motivator of intra-Africa academic mobility in higher education systems around Africa.
Thus, the AMAS project can intrinsically generate its own sustainability from within showcased by best practices. Handled as such, AMAS will offer valuable experiences and approaches for intra-African mobility and can therefore also serve other higher education institutions in Africa who might be interested to set up similar actions. The most important factor in this context is, indeed, how effective the respective coordinators in the institutions and regions collaborate in AMAS. We do see our commitment and dedication absolutely crucial to implement smooth and successful mobility and eventually enjoy positive feedback, excellent evaluation by individuals and the partnering universities. The successful delivery of all objectives mentioned in the passages before will be the basis to increase the availability of qualified trained human resources at Master and Doctorate level in Social sciences and Governance, the number of enthusiastic advocates of higher education mobility will increase and with it as well the idea of intra-Africa academic mobility.
After satisfactory completion of the individual mobility and satisfactory acquisition of knowledge, the consortium capitalises on the enthusiasm in several respects. Concretely this means: We present the testimonials of the master students, doctorates and staff and their personal experiences and success stories on the website right from the beginning of the project. Those academics who enjoyed the mobility can then later become advisors for the next cohort to travel and inform as multipliers how and what they gained from the action. Public dissemination will then serve to gain further acknowledgement for the project at one hand and advertise the general action of intra-Africa mobility on the other hand. We expect that this also triggers acknowledgement in our institutions. To sum up: students and staff will benefit from this mobility programme through linguistic, cultural and professional exchanges from the accredited programmes. One important measure is then to explore financial institutional sustainability of the project within the partnership. In this, we consider the individuals evaluation and feedback as a major factor for AMAS institutional sustainability.
As alumni these individuals will encourage other students directly to seek individual funding externally (e.g. by the Julius Nyerere Scheme, international funding organisations, private sector et al.). We can well imagine that they even contribute as private donors once they found employment, become leaders in a professional job environment and follow the idealistic pathway of philanthropy in Africa in their own capacity that recently gains momentum on the continent. One of the institutional efforts we make for securing funding for sustainability beyond the funding period awarded by the EACEA, is to identify internal and external funds within and beyond the respective universities at a mid-term stage (beginning in the third year) of the project when evaluations have been taking place already.
-Internal institutional funds are a certain regular sum that the university itself dedicates to respective mobility flows of individuals in the context of it’s the internationalisation strategy. However, this internal measure is envisaged but needs the successful implementation and organisation of the entire scheme to build upon it.
-External funding shall be fundraised by engaging Ministries of higher education, National Councils in charge of research and higher education, Science Academies and other institutions and stakeholders in the higher education sector. Since our universities dispose of well-established relations to the governments and Ministries of science, research and education, we seek ideal support to implement the project as a national strategy and strive for negotiating means for AMAS as pioneering institution and also within a broader scene. Another external source for funding are the future employers of well-trained academics. We expect not only universities, but the governments and ministries to seek for high potential employees among the well-trained academics in AMAS. By creating awareness for the social benefits of academic mobility employers in the private business sector further national or international agencies etc. will strive to attract respective alumni of the project.
We will therefore create a critical mass of supporters of the project and its specific approach. The third possibility of securing funding is to respond as an experienced group of cooperation partners to calls for proposals by international agencies in the distinct higher education areas in Africa. We are quite sure that we are predestined to also collaborate on respective calls in academic mobility programmes in the future. In general: By triggering the development of an open-minded academic mobility culture that in the long run not only takes the chance to leave the continent for international academic mobility but esteems also intra-African pathways of South-South mobility, we design the academic professionals of high potentials for sustainable development in Africa.
Internationalisation and academic mobility can lead to addressing development priorities of partner university countries in various ways. AMAS capitalises on this for national development priorities of countries involved in the partnership. The main development priority in Benin is poverty reduction. The World Bank report shows that female-headed households experience lower levels of poverty (28% compared to 38% for male-headed households), however they experience a lack of economic opportunities and are heavily underrepresented in high-level decision-making positions (http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/-benin/overview). AMAS proposes strong measures for equal opportunities of women in its academic mobility, in recognition of the important role women play at household levels. As role models for a generation of young female academics their mobility experience will have certainly an impact of the successors. In the same way, Ethiopia’s development priorities are among others gender equality and mainstreaming, good governance and state building. However, Ethiopia is facing unemployment.
AMAS mobility flows aim at ensuring capacity building in the respective development priorities and therefore beneficiaries from Addis Ababa University who, for example, register at Moi University, can benefit from the Special Benefit Programmes (SBP) such as Tourism Management, which is offered there. Moreover, Kenya’s development priorities are addressing challenges of peace and security, poverty, inequality, governance, low investment and low firm productivity in order to achieve rapid, sustained growth rates that will transform the lives of ordinary citizens. To address for example insecurity, beneficiaries of the academic mobility programme will gain skills and competencies in the unique programmes offered by Addis Ababa University such as ‘Managing Peace and Security in Africa’. The main development priority in Morocco strives for the promotion of competitive and inclusive growth; Building a green and resilient future; and strengthening governance and institutions for improved service delivery to all citizens.
Gender, youth, voice and participation have also been retained as crosscutting themes (http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/morocco/overview#2). Beneficiaries will gain knowledge, skills and competencies from special programmes that focus on youth, empowerment and emancipation in development from other partner universities. In the same way, Mozambique’s main development priority is to reduce poverty and improve health services including access to water, sanitation. Mozambican authorities consider the social sectors as top priority followed by transport and information and communication, education and social, urban, rural and resilience (http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/mozambique/overview#2). The fact that Mozambique considers the social sector as top-priority for each development opens up opportunities for beneficiaries of the mobility for example hosted by Moi University to follow Development studies with specific focus on socio-cultural and economic factors that influence development. Training in governance based on intra-Africa mobility flows of students and staff will strengthen regional integration, and collaboration among academia so as to foster internationalisation and capacity building of higher education institutions through partnership schemes. The outcome will also be reflected in benchmarking and fostering the best practices out of the intra-Africa mobility training for both students and staff for sustainable development. The best practices also includes sharing academic human resources, knowledge and skills for supervision and mentorship of students, encouraging brain circulation as part of brain gain for the benefit of partner universities. This is an important move to tackle the challenges of brain drain in Africa.
Dissemination for Sustainability
The project outcomes will be disseminated and exploited by partner universities among other institutions that have interest in intra-mobility studies. Dissemination will be through the project website, reports, conference presentations and publication that will be visible and accessible for utilization by partner universities and other stakeholders in higher education. Acquisition of qualification awards as evidence of completion of studies and milestones of the AMAS Project will benefit students and partner universities and by extension countries involved in the project. Qualification awards are from programmes that are accredited and meet the quality assurance requirements as per international conventions. Partner universities will establish a database and share training materials, research and publications by students and staff especially.
The documents and published works from the project will serve as reference points for future mobility and intra-Africa mobility projects and studies they contribute to internationalisation of higher education and sustainable development for the betterment of diverse populations and needs of society in Africa and beyond. Therefore, they will create a niche in training and research in social sciences and governance, and intra-Africa mobility studies as strategy for sustainable development, which will serve as a worthwhile outcome of the project. To conclude: this programme as per the name of the Project “African Academic Mobility for Sustainable Development” (AMAS) is relevant and timely and the results will serve the needs of African countries and the global society for sustainable development. The participants plan to sustain the project beyond the EU support because of its value to human wellbeing and to socioeconomic development. As a commitment of sustainability, the participating institutions have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding which is also attached on the email version of this application.
Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme
Academic Mobility for African Sustainable Development/AMAS
The overall objective of the Intra-Africa Academic Mobility programme is to promote sustainable development and ultimately contribute to poverty reduction by increasing the availability of trained and qualified high-level professional manpower in Africa.