The Association of African Universities (AAU) has been appointed as the coordinator for the implementation of The Higher Education Cluster of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25). The African Union, in partnership with Member States and key stakeholders, developed and adopted the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25). The strategy is in line with the African Union 2063 Agenda and the Common African Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The Cluster is facilitated by the International Network for Higher Education in Africa as designated by Prof. Damtew Teferra, its founding director.

CESA capitalizes on numerous, and active, players ready to mobilize financial, human and technical resources within national, regional and continental coalitions for education, science and technology. Thus, the Strategy seeks to provide each education stakeholder the opportunity to make its best contribution to education and training in Africa.

CESA’S HIGHER EDUCATION CLUSTER

During the CESA planning meeting held in Addis Ababa at the premises of the African Union Commission in June 2016, it was agreed that a Higher Education Cluster be created in support of the realization of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa.

The basis for the Cluster’s activities were drawn from the Guiding Principles and Pillars articulated in CESA.
• Harmonized education and training systems are essential for the realization of intra-Africa mobility and academic integration through regional cooperation
• Quality and relevant education, training and research are core for scientific and technologi¬cal innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship
• Gender equity throughout the education system
• Strengthened Institutional capacity
• Bringing together actors for credible partnership between government, civil society and private sector

Specifically, the Higher Education Cluster will be instrumental in achieving the following CESA’s Strategic Objectives.
Strategic Objective 1: Revitalise the teaching profession to ensure quality at all levels of education
Strategic Objective 3: Harness capacity of ICT to improve access, quality and management of education
Strategic Objective 4: Ensure acquisition of requisite knowledge and skills as well as improved completion rates at all levels and groups through harmonization processes across all levels for na¬tional and regional integration
Strategic Objective 8: Expand TVET opportunities at secondary and tertiary levels and strengthen the links between work with education and training systems
Strategic Objective 9: Revitalize and expand tertiary education, research and innovation to address continental challenges and promote global competitiveness
Strategic Objective 11: Build and enhance education planning and management systems for all levels of education and training

The Higher Education Cluster is delegated to implement as well as help implement these strategic objectives, among others, by drawing, convening and integrating multiple national, regional and continental players, programmes, institutions and development partners.

PROPOSED TOR for HIGHER EDUCATION CLUSTER
The proposed Terms of Reference for the Cluster include:
i. Provide a continental platform for dialogue and communication through regular meetings to create awareness and ownership of Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25), particularly on higher education related objectives.
ii. Develop programmes to support national, regional and continental higher education activities with keen focus on quality assurance; harmonisation and mutual recognition of qualifications; excellence in research, innovation and entrepreneurship; teaching and learning; and institutional leadership.
iii. Promote policy dialogue at relevant regional, continental, and global conventions interested in and committed to higher education.
iv. Mobilize member organizations’ expertise and technical support in implementing agreed work plan and other joint activities in higher education.
v. Facilitate and support information sharing, communication and interaction within the cluster and beyond.
vi. Contribute to the development, implementation, monitoring and reporting of agreed annual or biennial work plans.
vii. Establish Sub-Clusters as need arises and also when a group of stakeholders wishes to coordinate and implement a higher education initiative within the objectives of the Strategy. It is envisaged that one sub-cluster will be ‘Higher Education Leadership and Management’.