IUCEA 12th ANNUAL MEETING AND CONFERENCE TO BE HELD FACE TO FACE AND ONLINE ON 29th AND 30th JULY 2021 AT UNITED STATES INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY-AFRICA (USIU), NAIROBI, KENYA
CONFERENCE: DIALOGUE SESSION ON GLOBAL AND REGIONAL DYNAMICS IN HIGHER EDUCATION
THEME: Competency Based Education: Implications for the future of higher education in the EAC
1.1 About IUCEA
In 2009 the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) enacted the IUCEA Act 2009, thus effectively integrating IUCEA into the EAC operational framework. The Act spells out the objectives, functions, institutional setup, and systems of governance and management of IUCEA.
1.2 Objectives of IUCEA
The Inter-University Council for East Africa was established with the following objectives:-
- Facilitate networking among universities in East Africa, and with universities outside the region;
- Provide a forum for discussion on a wide range of academic and other matters relating to higher education in East Africa; and
- Facilitate maintenance of internationally comparable education standards in East Africa so as to promote the region’s competitiveness in higher education.
IUCEA achieve the above-mentioned objective by undertaking the following functions:-
- Coordinate inter-university cooperation in East Africa;
- Facilitate the strategic development of member universities; and
- Promote internationally comparable higher education standards and systems for sustainable regional development.
The IUCEA Act 2009 also mandates the institution to advise the EAC Partner States on higher education matters, and to contribute towards:
- Meeting national and regional developmental needs;
- Developing quality assurance processes in order to ensure that teaching, learning, and research in the region achieve and maintain international standards;
- Assisting member universities and other higher education institutions to identify and implement good practices in institutional management and use of resources;
- Developing human resource capacity in all disciplines of higher education in the Community; and
- Promoting equal opportunities for all higher education students in East Africa, including those with special needs.
1.3 IUCEA Vision and mission
IUCEA becomes an exemplary common higher education area for a prosperous and sustainable East African Community by 2030.
To encourage and develop mutually beneficial collaboration between Member Universities and between them and Governments and other organizations, both public and private.
According to the Act, any university, university college, and degree awarding institution may apply for and get admitted to the IUCEA membership as long as it is properly incorporated in the EAC Partner State where it is operating and is pursuing objectives that are consistent with the functions of IUCEA as spelled out in the Act.
2.0 Rationale and Objectives of the Annual Meeting and Conference
2.1 About the Annual Meeting
The Annual Meeting is one of the statutory meetings of IUCEA provided in accordance with Section 7 (1) and (2) of the IUCEA Act 2009. IUCEA is supposed to hold the Annual Meeting every year, which comprises heads of IUCEA member universities, permanent/principal secretaries of ministries responsible for higher education, heads of national commissions and councils for higher education, heads of national commissions, and councils for science and technology from the EAC Partner States, representatives of East African Business Council in each Partner State, students, and other higher education stakeholders.
The Annual Meeting is meant to bring together key higher education stakeholders to take stock of the development in higher education and research in the region, to enable IUCEA to appropriately advise the EAC Partner States on any aspect or matter related to higher education dynamics in the region and globally. Furthermore, the Annual Meeting creates an environment for the exchange of information and experiences on higher education and research matters in the region, thereby giving an opportunity to reflect on issues regarding developments in the sector and to come up with strategies for moving ahead.
Thus, the theme of the 12th IUCEA Annual Meeting has been conceived in view of the current global dynamic trends of embracing Competency-Based Education (CBE), intertwined with Education 5.0 and 4th Industrial Revolution and the ever-increasing demand by stakeholders on the relevance and role of higher education to the socio-economic transformation, knowledge-based and industrialised EAC.
Thus, through the theme “Competency-Based Education: Implications for the future of higher education in the EAC”, the 12th Annual Meeting of the IUCEA will deliberate on the state of universities contribution to the EAC integration agenda through transformative higher education to contribute to innovation systems and industrialization of EAC Partners States economies. Furthermore, it is expected that the dialogue session will also dwell on how innovative curriculum reforms in higher education will be in line with CBE and contribute to addressing the alarming unemployability of university graduates in the region.
2.2. The Conference
The demand for higher education in East Africa has been growing tremendously since the last decade and the number of public and private university institutions has also been increasing exponentially. For example, the number of IUCEA member university institutions has grown from 33 in 2000 to more than 134 in 2021. At the same time, IUCEA has experienced considerable institutional growth within the same period. This institutional growth has led to the expansion in activities including the establishment of scholarship programs, coordination of regional projects in both higher and technical education, the establishment of incubation hubs, and operationalization of the EAC as a Common Higher Education Area.
While IUCEA and partner states are registering the overall expansion of the number of students and academic programs, the employability of graduates in the east African region continues to be a problem. Universities in the region are not adequately providing the requisite skills required in the continuously changing world of work. In most cases, university programs continue to focus on theoretical knowledge at the expense of competence and practical skills. The problem is further compounded by the growing number of unqualified teaching staff, outdated curricula, and insufficient or overloaded facilities.
For IUCEA to continuously set policy strategies and develop appropriate interventions, it is prudent that factors hindering the employability of university graduates, the role of universities in the transformation of the EAC into the knowledge-based and industrialised economy of the EAC be adequately analysed with the view of ensuring that university graduates are equipped with skills and competences required for both formal and self-employment. One of the possible solutions to this problem is the adoption of competency-based teaching and learning in higher education. Competence-Based teaching and learning is conceptualised in the context of building the relationship between education and the world of work. If specific competencies are not focused on the curriculum design philosophy, the products of higher education may not be “work-ready” and therefore not readily accepted by the industry.
2.3 Competency Based Education and Education 5.0
Competency-based curriculum summarises academic and professional profiles, defines new objectives in the learning process, enhances learning environments and shifts the concept of learning as accumulation of knowledge to learning as a permanent attitude towards knowledge acquisition (Edwards et. al., 2009). Ever demanding forces of globalisation have introduced new discourses into curriculum planning in the higher education. To be sustainable in the knowledge-based economy and to deal with demands in job market, incorporation of competency-based curriculum is emerging as a necessity in higher education sector. In order to develop competency-based curriculum in higher education, determination of competencies for each discipline and subsequent development of means of measurement and performance assessment is a must (Barman, 2011). Competency-Based Education (CBE) is thus considered the leading paradigm for innovation since it emphasizes the integrated nature of what learners need to learn to face not only labour market but also life in general. These include among others, a change in the student-teacher relationship, an increase in emphasis on internal information sharing, improvement in clarity of desired student outcomes and program effectiveness, better articulation of the competencies of program graduates, and an increase in student satisfaction and learning. The implementation of an educational training curriculum should be based on social demands, and the competency analysis process identifies whether students have attained the competency standards proficiently. Competency-based initiatives seek to ensure that students attain specific skills, knowledge, and abilities considered important with respect to whatever they are studying or the transitions for which they are being prepared for.
In summary, CBE demands a mindset change by educationists from the traditional education system since: students are empowered daily to make important decisions about their learning experiences, how they will create and apply knowledge, and how they will demonstrate their learning; students receive timely, differentiated support based on their individual learning needs; students progress based on evidence of mastery, not seat time; learn actively using different pathways and varied pacing; Strategies to ensure equity for all students are embedded in the culture, structure, and pedagogy of schools and education systems; and Rigorous, common expectations for learning (knowledge, skills, and dispositions) are explicit, transparent, measurable, and transferable (Aurora Institute, 2020).
The emergence of CBE has further transited the paradigm shift on how the delivery of education must match with the everchanging demands and dynamics of the labour market. This trend has resulted into a new doctrine of education, branded Education 5.0, which has expounded the 3 core functions of universities from the tradition Education 3.0 (1.0 Teaching; 2.0 Research; and 3.0 Community Outreach) to 5 (1.0 Teaching; 2.0 Research; 3.0 Community Outreach; 4.0 Innovation; and 5.0 Industrialisation).
Education 5.0 considers the important symbiotic relationship between education, industry and the society in which the three co-exist. Considering that universities have a very distinct noble mission of knew knowledge generation, it is expected that the shaping of a learned person to fit into the ultimately society he or she want to prosper in. The symbiotic relationship of higher education institutions has with external parties is kept in view as the society and the industry are also impacting the way higher education is evolving. Mostly important, is to take note that rapid global and technological changes following the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) not only require quick response but also a proactiveness to make higher education ecosystem future ready (MHTEST, 2021).
Education 5.0 requires nurturing learners into enthusiastic, diligent, highly principled, and progressive thinkers who are constantly learning and mindful of current and future state. The future of work, smart machines, advanced cutting–edge media, internet and social media technologies are contributing factors to a massive shift in the way education is offered and the whole ecosystem of teaching and learning. The university needs to break away from the traditional, content-based teaching practices to a new way of educating individuals which values the personalisation of learning.
In Education 5.0, education systems must devise among others; flexible and adaptive learning paths, focus on imparting life/transversal skills, student centric learning methods and incessant use of technology are deeply embedded with values and principles. Universities, by combining critical thinking, creative thinking, innovativeness, and an entrepreneurial mindset to the technological know can provide industrial solutions. Furthermore, universities are expected to be at the epicentre of innovations that will steer industrialisation of their respective countries and transformations into knowledge-based economies (UiTM, 2019).
2.4 The Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic to Higher Education
According to UNESCO, on 1 April 2020, schools and higher education institutions (HEIs) were closed in 185 countries, affecting 1 542 412 000 learners, which constitute 89.4% of total enrolled learners. At the beginning of May, some countries, experiencing decreasing numbers of cases and deaths, started lifting confinement measures. However, on 7 May 2021, schools and higher education institutions (HEIs) were still closed in 177 countries, affecting 1 268 164 088 learners, which constitute 72.4% of total enrolled learners (Jensen et. al. 2021)
In order to better understand the disruption caused by COVID-19 on higher education and to investigate the first measures undertaken by higher education institutions around the world to respond to the crisis, the International Association of Universities (IAU) decided to launch the IAU Global Survey on the impact of COVID-19 on higher education around the world. The second survey has just been concluded and that the analysis of the findings are being processed for publication to the global audience.
In the East African Community (EAC) region, the pandemic has unveiled some of the serious challenges and capacity deficits that still characterise the education systems. These include deficiencies in ICT infrastructure to facilitate distance and online learning; teacher and learner preparedness for online learning; exclusion of marginalised and disadvantaged learners; inadequate online content amongst many others. The temporary closure of HEIs in the region has not only suspended teaching and learning, but also brought to light the business rigidity of the higher education system to continuously supply educational services. COVID-19 response report from the World Bank indicates that HEIs – particularly, private sector institutions – that rely solely on tuition fees may risk permanent closure in the medium to long term, with the severe economic recession that is predicted to follow the pandemic.
Therefore, in order to understand the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on HEIs and to propose recovery strategies, the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), in partnership with the Education Sub Saharan Africa (ESSA) and the East African Business Council (EABC) launched a regional survey on the impact of COVID-19 on HEIs in the EAC.
Thus, during the dialogue session, findings from the study will be presented and it is expected that the results will contribute to improving higher education policymakers’ understanding of the current challenges and serve as an important tool for possible recovery strategies and interventions.
3.0 Review of IUCEA Strategic Plan 2016-2021 and Development of IUCEA Strategic Plan 2021-2026
In 1980 IUC was transformed into the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), retaining the same objectives as those of IUC. When the EAC was revived in 1999 IUCEA was recognised as one of the surviving institutions of the former Community. IUCEA was then re-established under a Protocol, which in 2002 was ratified by the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania. In July 2007, the Republic of Burundi and the Republic of Rwanda joined the Community and hence after, higher education institutions in these countries were eligible to join IUCEA. In 2009 the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) enacted the Inter-University Council for East Africa Act 2009. The IUCEA plans are developed and implemented within the context of Article 5 and 102 of the EAC Treaty aiming at fostering cooperation in education and training towards the harmonization of higher education systems. The first and second five-year rolling strategic plans were developed for periods 2006 – 2011and 2011 – 2015 respectively with clear purposes of addressing community’s expectations of providing strategic directions responding to dynamics and development trends in higher education in the EAC Partner States and beyond.
The third Strategic Plan 2016-21, therefore, was a product of extensive consultations and participatory process involving various stakeholders informal consultations, staff retreats, validation meetings, reviewed by the 16th meeting of the Planning, Finance & Human Resources Committee and finally, the 24th Meeting of the Executive Committee on June 29th, 2017 that approved the Strategic Plan. The development of the above strategic plan was in tandem with the EAC process to develop the 5th EAC Development Strategy 2016 – 2021. As of 30th June 2021, an end-term evaluation exercise had been commissioned and the consultant conducted the exercise to come up with an evaluation report which was to inform on the achievements realised in the last five years, gaps and challenges as well as the pending areas that should be rolled over into the next five years’ strategic plan.
The fourth Strategic Plan 2021 – 2026 is currently being developed through a participatory approach with the involvement of IUCEA secretariat staff, Partner States, member Universities, Institutions/commissions, and other stakeholders. The development of the strategic plan is in tandem with the development of the 6th EAC Development Strategy 2021 – 2026. The proposed IUCEA strategic plan 2021 – 2026 is built under six (6) strategic objectives and under each strategic objective number of strategies and targets were identified as priority areas for the coming next five (5) years that IUCEA intends to focus on. The chosen theme or goal of the strategic plan is “Transformative Higher Education for a knowledge-based and industrialized economy for integrated EAC”. A progress report will be presented to the participants and the stakeholders given a chance to provide immediate feedback or at a later date.
4.0 Approach and Methodology of the Dialogue Session
During the dialogue session, participants who will include Vice-Chancellors and Principals of member universities; representatives from ministries responsible for higher education; and private sector and students will have an opportunity to discuss practical aspects of CBE and its applicability to higher education innovative curricular reforms.
The dialogue Session will comprise input presentations that will include plenary presentations that will set the tone of the discussion session and this will be followed up by Panel and Plenary Discussions, focussing on the following:
- Competency Based Education;
- Education 5.0 and, Innovation and Industrialisation;
- Impact of Covid-19 pandemic to higher education; and
- Review of IUCEA Strategic Plan 2016 -2021 and development of IUCEA Strategic Plan 2021-2026
Thus, the dialogue Session will be structured as follows:
- Each Plenary Presentation will take about -20 minutes
- Panel Discussion – each 60 minutes
- Plenary Discussion – each 60 minutes
For a detailed Programme of the conference see next section
 Edwards, et al, Competency Based Curriculum in Engineering Education in Spain, INGENIO (CSIC-UPV) Working Paper Series 2009/04, pp. 1-25.
 Barman and Konwar, Competency-Based Curriculum: A necessity grounded by globalization, Revisa Romaneasca Pentru Educatie Multidimensionala, 2011, Vol 3(4), 7-15.
 Aurora Institute: Competency-Based Education: A new Dawn for Every Learner, CompetencyWorks, May 2020.
 EDUCATION 5.0: Doctrine for Mordenisation and Industrialisation of Zimbabwe through Education, Science and Technology Development to Achieve Vision 2030, MHTEST, 2021.
 Jensen et. al, The Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education Around the World, IAU Global Survey Report, April 2020
8:00 – 8.30: Arrival and Registration
Dialogue Session I: Chairperson: Prof. Chacha Nyaigotti Chacha, Chairperson, Commission for University Education, (CUE), Kenya
9:20 – 9:30: Plenary Presentation I: Prof. Gaspard Banyankimbona, IUCEA Executive Secretary. “The Need for Paradigm Shift in Delivery of Higher Education in the EAC to Education 5.0”
9:30 – 9:40: Plenary Presentation II: Hon. Dr. Peter Mathuki, EAC Secretary General “The EAC Industrialisation Agenda: What is the contribution of Universities?”
9:40 – 10:00: Opening Remarks Guest by the Honour, Hon. Adan Mohamed, EGH, Chairperson, EAC Council of Ministers, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of EAC and Regional Development
- Lawrence Guantai, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Council Secretary / TVET CDACC Kenya
- James Mdoe, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Tanzania.
- Paul Zeleza, Vice-Chancellor, USIU-Africa, Kenya
- Kamatenesi Maudah, Vice-Chancellor, Bishop Stuart University, Uganda
- John Bosco Kalisa, Executive Director, East African Business Council (EABC)
Dialogue Session II: Chairperson Prof. Margaret J. Muthwii, Vice-Chancellor, Pan African Christian University, Kenya
12.20 – 12:40 Plenary Presentation: By: Prof Abraham Waithima, Daystar University “Implications of COVID-19 to Higher Education in EAC”
12:40– 13.00 Plenary Presentation: Prof. Mike Kuria, Deputy Executive Secretary, IUCEA “Strategic future of IUCEA Post-Golden Jubilee Anniversary”
13.00 – 14:20 PANEL DISCUSSION II:
- Prof. Alexandre Lyambabaje, Vice-Chancellor, University of Rwanda
- Prof. Celestino Obua, Vice-Chancellor, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Uganda
- Prof Alexander Makulilo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Dodoma, Tanzania
- Dr. David Niyonzima, Vice-Chancellor, International Leadership University, Burundi
For virtual access join on https://iucea.floor.bz