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CONTINENTAL WORKSHOP FOR DIRECTORS OF ICT / CHIEF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY OFFICERS
The Association of African Universities (AAU) is a membership-based network of 425 plus universities covering the 5 regions of Africa and its mission is to enhance the quality and relevance of higher education in Africa and strengthen its contribution to Africa’s development. Since 1967 the AAU has been the leading advocate for higher education in Africa, demonstrating the capacity to provide support for its member institutions in meeting their national, continental, and global needs.
As part of creating value for its members the AAU regularly runs various capacity building programs for the benefit of various thematic groups within the member universities. These capacity building programs offer discounted fees to staff from the member universities to demonstrate the value of their loyal membership to the AAU.
The AAU also hosts various diverse forums for exchanges, discussions, engagements, collaborations, and advocacy for the purpose of fulfilling its mission and to improve the functions of its member universities. The AAU has created the Africa Research, Innovation and Development Network (AFRID) to promote the establishment of thematic networks representing the diverse functions and research interests of member universities, individual researchers, and individual administrative staff.
WHY THE WORKSHOP
The continental workshop for Directors of ICT / Chief Information Technology Officers will be hosted by the AAU for the purpose of strengthening collaborations among the Africa-wide Directors of ICT / Chief Information Technology Officers (DICT/CITOs). The workshop also aims to build the capacities of DICT/CITOs in emerging areas of leadership and strategic management; IT governance; business acumen; technology trends and innovation; cybersecurity; data management and analytics; cloud computing; digital transformation; vendor management; regulatory compliance; communication and stakeholder management; project management; and personal and professional development.
The plans are that the continental workshop will be an annual gathering of DICT/CITOs modelled around the computer society summer/winter schools, higher education information technology South Africa (HEITSA) and EDUCAUSE. The purpose of the continental annual DICT/CITOs workshop will be to serve as a joint voice for the Africa-wide IT profession in African Universities. The annual workshop will promote best practices and standards through the sharing of expertise among participating DICT/CITOs. The long-term goal of the continental DICT/CITOs workshop will be to support the sustainable application of digital tools, platforms, and strategies to transform African Higher Education.
OBJECTIVES AND INTENDED OUTCOMES OF THE ANNUAL WORKSHOP
The initial objectives of the annual workshop for Directors of ICT / Chief Information Technology Officers are:
- To develop strategies for guiding the integration and adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) by African Universities.
- To develop strategies for developing and deploying AI Literacy training programs for universities.
- To build capacities of DICT/CITOs in key emerging areas such as IT governance, cybersecurity, vendor management, ERP implementation, cloud computing and digital transformation.
- To initiate strategies for monitoring ICT development in African Higher Education Institutions.
- To deliberate on opportunities (and implement) for joint purchases of technology licenses and equipment to reduce the costs to individual universities.
The expected outcomes from the annual workshops include:
- Strengthened collaboration and networking among DICT/CITOs in the African continent.
- Developed action plans and strategies for guiding AAU Member Universities to harness the benefits from Artificial Intelligence and other emerging technologies.
- A program developed for monitoring the development of ICT in African Universities through annual surveys.
- Agreement on future focus areas of the continental workshops of DICT/CITOs.
High profile, experienced and well-respected IT professionals and thought leaders from industry and academia will be identified to facilitate these workshops. The workshops will be organized in such a way that practical case studies are shared, current information is provided, and participants are guided in terms of post-workshop action planning.
These workshops are strictly for Senior Leaders in African Universities that are responsible for the running and management of the Information and Communication Technology role and related infrastructure and systems. The target participants are:
- Directors of Information and Communication Technology
- Chief Information Technology Officers
- Deputy Vice Chancellors responsible for Information technology
- Senior Project Management Officers responsible for high-level IT projects implementation
DATES AND VENUE FOR THE 2024 WORKSHOP
The inaugural workshop will be hosted from 27-29 February 2024 in Accra Ghana.
LANGUAGE OF THE WORKSHOPS
The workshops will be delivered in the 4 languages of the Association of African Universities – Arabic, English, French and Portuguese. Interpretation will be available in the 4 languages.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
- The participation fees for DICT/CITOs from AAU member universities in good standing are US$800 per participant and these include facilitation fees, workshop materials, interpretation services, excursion within Accra and lunches, and refreshments during the workshop days.
- DICT/CITOs from non-AAU member universities and DICT/CITOs whose universities are in bad standing will pay US$1,000 per participant.
- Participants are responsible for their airfares, accommodation, visas, and general upkeep.
- Please register to participate via this link: https://forms.office.com/r/x35b0UvyDJ
- Please pay for your participation from this online link: https://pay.aau.org/cwd-accra
DOWNLOAD THE WORKSHOP CONCEPT NOTES IN THE FOUR AAU LANGUAGES
- Arabic: https://repo.aau.org/index.php/s/PKikYmTs9zRjgfL
- English: https://repo.aau.org/index.php/s/zmt6oPG3xxyHjXZ
- French: https://repo.aau.org/index.php/s/Ebos58JzXtnPR9s
- Portuguese: https://repo.aau.org/index.php/s/opm786eZWmS4ey3
SELECTION OF MODULES TO BE COVERED
A) Leadership and Strategic Management of AI in African Higher Education by DICT/CITOs
The recent webinars organized by the AAU revealed a great need for DICT/CITOs to take fore-front leadership in supporting their universities to understand what opportunities and challenges are posed by Artificial Intelligence. DICT/CITOs should lead the discourse, strategy formulation and capacity building within their universities. This module will cover the following:
- Change management, policies, and strategies for AI adoption.
- Driving AI innovation within the university.
- Evaluating and adopting AI technologies that align with your university goals.
- Developing AI literacy training programs.
B) Information Technology Governance
IT governance is part of corporate governance, and its goal is to improve the overall management of information technology (IT) and generate improved value from investments made in information technology. IT governance frameworks help universities manage their IT risks effectively and ensure that the activities associated with information technology are aligned with their overall objectives. IT governance enables a university to demonstrate measurable results against the broader university’s strategies and goals; respond to relevant legal and regulatory obligations; assure higher education stakeholders that they can have confidence in the university’s IT services; and facilitate an increase in the return on IT investment. This module will cover the following topics:
- Strategic alignment with the university’s objectives
- Achieving value delivery and optimization
- Risk management and mitigation
- Performance measurement and monitoring
- Resource management and optimization
In the quickly evolving digital landscape, Africa is experiencing significant advancements in technology adoption and connectivity. However, these advancements come with increased cybersecurity threats that can undermine the region’s progress. This module will discuss the challenges and solutions relevant to cybersecurity in African higher education institutions and will explore practical strategies to safeguard African HEI networks and promote a secure digital culture. The module will include:
- The complexities of cybersecurity in African HEIs, including the challenges, solutions, and emerging trends.
- Developing and implementing robust cybersecurity strategies.
- Managing cyber risks and ensuring compliance with regulations.
- Incident response and crisis management.
- Cybersecurity advocacy, awareness campaigns, and capacity-building activities, and achieving the digital resilience of African HEIs.
D) Cloud Computing
African Universities are subscribing to various models of cloud computing infrastructure to host their digital management information systems, manage their email servers and other key resources. Cloud computing needs to be managed appropriately so that the university data and information are secure. This module will cover the following:
- Cloud strategy development and implementation.
- Cloud security and compliance.
- Managing and optimizing cloud resources.
E) Communication and Stakeholder Management
The IT function is normally viewed as a technical function that works in the background to service the institution. Because of the growing importance of IT, it is now critical for DICT/CITOs to become proficient in communication and stakeholder management so that they obtain the buy-in and support for the digital transformation initiatives. This module will cover the following:
- Effective communication with both technical and non-technical stakeholders.
- Building relationships with other Senior Leaders in the university and elsewhere
- Advocating for the IT department’s role in achieving business objectives.
F) ERP Implementation and digital transformation: lessons and pitfalls
African universities are investing significant financial and human resources in implementing university-wide enterprise resource planning digital systems. These ERPs focus on student information systems, financial management, library management, university hospitals management, dormitory management, and others. Some of the systems are developed in-house and others are purchased off the shelf. This module will cover the following:
- Case studies of in-house developed ERPs
- Case studies of off the shelf ERPs
- Funding and sustaining ERP implementations.
- Driving digital initiatives and transformations.
- Integrating digital technologies into university business processes.
- Enhancing university customer experiences through digital channels.
G) Strategies for monitoring ICT development in African Higher Education Institutions.
Data and information are critical for informing university top leadership and governments about the development of ICT in higher education institutions. When data is available the senior leaders can make informed decisions on how to support ICT development. This module will discuss the following:
- Strategies for data collection about ICT development in African Universities
- What data to collect
- How to incentivize African universities to share ICT related data
H) Vendor Management and opportunities for joint purchases of technology licenses and equipment
Some of the potential benefits of speaking with one voice to vendors is the reduction of financial investments, better services, and standardization of services. This module will discuss the following:
- Effective negotiation and relationship management with technology vendors.
- Evaluating and selecting technology solutions.
- Ensuring vendor compliance and performance.
- Opportunities for continental level negotiations with technology vendors
I) Personal and Professional Development
Continuous learning and adaptability are crucial for Directors of ICT / Chief IT Officers to thrive in their roles, because of the quick pace of technological advancements and the evolving nature of higher education challenges. This module will cover the following topics
- Continuous learning and staying abreast of industry trends.
- Networking and participation in professional organizations.
- Mentoring and coaching to develop the next generation of IT leaders.
J) Emerging Issues in ICT for Universities
This module will cover emerging issues, strategies, tools, and opportunities that benefit African higher education institutions. The module would also provide new information to Directors of ICT / Chief IT Officers so that they are most impactful in their roles.