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Association of African Universities | Voice of Higher Education in Africa

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AAU IN A NUTSHELL

AAU is the apex organization and forum for consultation, exchange of information and co-operation among institutions of higher education in Africa. It represents the voice of higher education in Africa on regional and international bodies and supports networking by institutions of higher education in teaching, research, information exchange and dissemination. To enhance the quality and relevance of higher education in Africa and strengthen its contribution to African development by:
  1. Supporting the core functions of higher education institutions (HEIs);
  2. Facilitating and fostering collaboration of African HEIs; and
  3. Providing a platform for discussions on emerging issues
To be the advocate for higher education in Africa, with the capacity to assist its member organizations in meeting national and continental needs
  1. Promote interchange, contact and cooperation among universities and other institutions of higher education in Africa;
  2. Collect, classify and disseminate information on higher education and research, particularly in Africa;
  3. Promote cooperation among African higher education institutions in curriculum development, postgraduate training, research, quality assurance, recognition of qualifications, the determination of equivalence of degrees, and other matters of special policy or practical interest to African higher education;
  4. Encourage and empower members of the Association to address developmental challenges and become an effective voice in national, regional and global higher education discourse;
  5. Study and make known the educational and related needs of African universities and other institutions of higher education and, as far as practicable, co-ordinate the means whereby those needs may be met;
  6. Contribute to the improvement of leadership, institutional management and the policy environment of African higher education; and
  7. Organize, encourage and support public fora for information dissemination and exchange and policy dialogue on issues of higher education.

AAU PROJECTS IN A NUTSHELL

Africa Centers of Excellence Project within Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Health Sciences and Agricultural Sciences – Phase I for West and Central Africa

The World Bank in collaboration with West and Central African countries is launching the Africa Centers of Excellence project.

Project Objective:

  • promote regional specialization among participating universities in areas that address specific common regional development challenges,
  • strengthen the capacities of these universities to deliver high quality training and applied research,
  • meet the demand for skills required for Africa’s development, such as the extractive industries,

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The African Quality Assurance Network (AfriQAN) has been set up to provide assistance to institutions concerned with Quality Assurance in higher education in Africa.

The network is committed to the enhancement of the quality of higher education and also with collaboration with similar organizations on other continents.

The Network has been set up by the Association of African Universities (AAU) with financial support from Global Initiative on Quality Assurance Capacity (GIQAC)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

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The AAU Staff Exchange Programme is designed to foster inter-university cooperation through the exchange of staff between African universities. The academic staff who participate in the Programme undertake a range of assignments in their host institutions including teaching, special lectures, demonstrations and research.

The Programme aims at promoting inter-university cooperation through academic mobility in the form of exchange of staff for teaching assignments; to serve as external examiners; participating at seminars, workshops and conferences; undertaking collaborative research assignments; facilitating the utilization of sabbatical leave appointments and enhancing the quality of teaching and research in African universities.

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The Database of African Theses and Dissertations-Research (DATAD-R) is a programme to improve management and access to African scholarly work. Theses and dissertations represent a significant proportion of Africa’s research activity.

AAU provides leadership and coordination for the accomplishment of three basic tasks:

  • Capacity building at institutional level for the establishment of infrastructure and management structures that support DATAD policies, activities and training.
  • Establishment and maintenance of an Internet access to DATAD.
  • Providing access to the online database and alternative data formats for dissemination e.g CD-ROM or print.

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ECOWAS Nnamdi Azikiwe Academic Mobility Scheme (ENAAMS) is being initiated by the Department of Education Science and Culture of the ECOWAS Commission to avail opportunities for universities and other higher institutions to derive optimum benefit from qualified and experienced lecturers for the delivery of highly specialized courses where lecturers are lacking or in short supply, and where the institutions are unable to employ full time lecturers. The Scheme will also avail the lecturers opportunities to fully develop their potentialities.

Furthermore, the Scholarships will awaken the consciousness of a borderless region among the students and afford them opportunities for personal development in highly specialized fields and; contribute to the production a critical mass of highly skilled personnel that will promote research and development in the region.

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The HAQAA (Harmonisation of African Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation) Initiative, funded by the European Union in partnership with the African Union, has been established to support the development of a harmonised quality assurance and accreditation system at institutional level, national, regional and Pan-African continental level. The Initiative is currently being implemented by a consortium consisting of the University of Barcelona (coordinator), the Association of African Universities (AAU), the European University Association (EUA), the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Activities have begun that will engage important African regional and national organisations and networks active in the field.

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The Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology (PASET) was launched in 2013 by the Governments of Senegal, Ethiopia and Rwanda with facilitation by the World Bank. It aims to address systemic gaps in skills and knowledge in Sub-Saharan Africa’s priority ASET fields, and to build the capacity of African education and training institutions to train high quality technicians, engineers and scientists to meet the demands of the economy. Since 2013, more than 20 African countries, as well as representatives of Brazil, China, India and Korea have participated in PASET’s various activities. PASET is currently led by the education and higher education ministries of Rwanda, Ethiopia, Senegal, Kenya, and Ivory Coast.

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The AAU has a unit called the Research and Education Networking Unit (RENU) which was established to act as a focal point in relation to initiatives focussing on ICT in education and research networking, that are currently under way in Africa. Through RENU, the AAU was instrumental in the birth of UbuntuNet Alliance and WACREN. AAU also collaborates with ASREN (Arab States Research and Education Network) through the annual AFREN meetings. AAU also continues to mobilize resources for the creation of National Research and Education Networks (NRENs) in African countries where they don’t exist.

AFREN is a forum hosted by AAU through cooperation with diverse partners such as AfNOG, AfriNIC and the Regional Research and Education Networks (RRENs) to help build an all-inclusive African Research and Education Network community that addresses access to critical scientific resources at affordable prices, capacity building, content development, co-creation platforms.

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The Small Grants for Dissertations and Theses Programme is aimed at supporting graduate students in African universities who often encounter hardship in respect of the necessary resources to complete their research programmes on time or produce work of high quality.

The objectives of this program are to facilitate the early completion of research Dissertations and Theses by graduate students in African universities; to improve the quality of research conducted by graduate students in African universities.

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Benefits of an AAU Member:

  • Invitation to host AAU Events / speak at AAU Conferences
  • Right to vote / stand for election as President & as Governing Board Member
  • Use of AAU logo to indicate affiliation to the Association
  • Being associated to the principles and values AAU upholds
  • Inclusion of research outputs on the DATAD platform
  • Opportunity for faculty to participate in Academic Staff Exchange Missions.
  • Opportunity for graduate students to benefit from Small Grants for Theses and Dissertations
  • Opportunity for graduate students to benefit from funded internship programme
  • Access to AAU Publications stored as Open Educational Resources
  • Advertising your academic jobs / institutional news on the AAU Weekly & Website
  • Conference of Rectors, Vice Chancellors & Presidents
  • Database of African Theses & Dissertations (DATAD) Training

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Providing a platform for discussions on emerging issues

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