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Section 7 (1) of the IUCEA Act 2009 provides that “the Council shall meet at least once every year provided that one of such meetings shall be an Annual Meeting of the Council”. Section 7(2) provides for the composition of the Annual Meeting as follows: Chairperson of the Council, Vice Chancellors and Principals of member universities, representatives from the Ministries responsible for higher education from each Partner State, and representatives from the private sector in each Partner State. The East African Community (EAC) Secretary General, the heads of commissions/councils for higher/university education, heads of national commissions/councils for science and technology, heads of EAC institutions and other higher education stakeholders are also invited. The Annual Meeting is a platform for heads of higher education institutions to share the developments in higher education in the region and worldwide in order to maintain and enhance the standards and competitiveness of higher education.
The Theme for the 2017 Annual Meeting “The Role of Universities in the Operationalisation of the EAC Common Higher Education Area for Regional Integration” has been chosen following the Declaration of the EAC as a Common Higher Education Area (EACHEA) during the 18th Ordinary Summit of EAC Heads of State held on 20th May 2017 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
The Annual Meeting will consist of three main parts:
1. The Official Opening Ceremony;
2. Dialogue Session that will focus on the Theme of the Annual Meeting; and
3. Formal Annual Meeting business.
Concept Note on the Theme of the 8th Annual Meeting Dialogue Session
The East African Community Common Higher Education Area (EACHEA) aims at consolidating the EAC integration agenda based on the mutual interest and common goal of the Partner States in the development, relevance and impact of higher education on the Community’s social and economic development. The operationalisation of the EACHEA is anchored on comparable, compatible, coherent and harmonised systems of higher education. The goal of the EACHEA is the establishment and operationalization of a common frame of reference to facilitate comparability, compatibility and mutual recognition of higher education and training systems. Furthermore, is to ensure that qualifications offered and attained by graduates among the EAC Partner States are based on shared views on quality, criteria, standards and learning outcomes, for promoting students and labour mobility in the EAC. Equally important is the relevance and responsiveness of education to the labour market and society at large.
As a strategic institution of the East African Community (EAC) responsible for coordinating the development of higher education and research in the region, IUCEA has played a key role in coordinating various processes that have ultimately culminated into a transformative stage prompting the need for Declaration of the EAC as a Common Higher Education Area. These include, among others, the Regional Quality Assurance System with its operational tools such the The Road Map to Quality: A Handbook for Quality Assurance in Higher Education in five volumes; Principles and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in Higher Education, benchmarks for academic programmes and the East African Higher Education Quality Assurance Network (EAQAN). Others include the East African Qualifications Framework for Higher Education (EAQFHE), which is both a human resources development tool and a platform for rationalization and mutual recognition of qualifications. IUCEA is currently steering a number of initiatives on the development of centres of excellence in various fields which will serve as hubs for the development of highly skilled human resources for the region. Mobility of both academic staff and students, which is an important avenue for brain circulation as well as research and innovation coordination are currently on top of IUCEA’s agenda to respond to various needs of our region. The regionalisation of higher education under the EACHEA, the structure of the Centers of Excellence and research and the IUCEA innovation strategy will play a unique and pivotal role in promoting East Africa’s co-operation and regional integration
In respect of these developments, the heads of academic institutions are expected to play a key role in the operationalisation of EACHEA by modeling and aligning their respective institutional vision and strategies with the EAC integration agenda on higher education. Particularly, the heads of institutions are expected to clearly understand the whole gist of the EACHEA and subsequently provide leadership within their institutions on its operationalization. The principles of quality management on the contribution of leadership and good governance within their respective institutions in the operationalization of EACHEA will be key, in this respect, operationalization of the EACHEA cannot be over emphasised (ISO 9000:2015).
Objectives of the Dialogue Session
The aim of the Dialogue Session is to provide for participatory engagement of university managers in conceptualising the EAC Common Higher Education Area and to devise strategies for its effective operationalisation.
At the end of the Dialogue Session, it is expected that participants will:
1. Appreciate the account of what IUCEA has achieved in the development of various regional policies, guidelines, and standards that have contributed towards the transformation of the EAC into a Common Higher Education Area.
2. Be informed on the gist of the EAC Common Higher Education Area and what it entails as well as its contribution to the EAC integration agenda and socio-economic development.
3. Appreciate key roles they have to play in operationalising the EACHEA.
4. Take collective responsibility and devise common strategies to realize the long-awaited dream of an East African Common Higher Education Area.
Structure of the Dialogue Session
The session is structured into three main activities as follows:
1. Introductory presentation on the account of IUCEA activities and achievements
2. Key Note Presentation on the experiences of operationalisation of the European Higher Education Area, Achievements and Challenges.
3. Panel Discussion on the theme of the Dialogue Session based on guided questions
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