The Demographics of African Faculty (DAF) consortium today announces that it has secured $390,000 of funding from Carnegie Corporation of New York for a two-year research project focusing on understanding and addressing ‘faculty challenges’. The financial commitment is to enable a detailed study of the challenges that higher education institutions (HEIs) in the East African Community (EAC) face, with respect to faculty to student ratios and the composition of faculty, which directly affect the quality of education in the region.
The DAF initiative was established in 2018, to systematically analyse the staffing challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. This involved using administrative data and policy norms to describe the current context and project the future supply of and demand for faculty. The consortium is comprised of the Association of African Universities (AAU), Education Sub Saharan Africa (ESSA) and the Population Reference Bureau (PRB). Using funding received from The Mastercard Foundation, the DAF consortium undertook a pilot research project (DAF I) in Ghana, West Africa, in partnership with Ghana’s National Commission for Tertiary Education [NCTE – now restructured and renamed the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission (GTEC)].
In 2020, the DAF consortium expanded to include the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), an inter-governmental agency. The aim was to seek funding to extend and scale up the pilot study in Ghana by undertaking a new study in the East African Community (EAC). It is this new research project in the EAC (i.e. DAF II), that Carnegie Corporation of New York has agreed to fund. The implementing partners for DAF Phase II are IUCEA, AAU, ESSA and PRB.
Through this new DAF II project, the partners aim to strengthen the ability of higher education stakeholders to plan and implement evidence-informed responses targeted at improving the numbers and nature of quality faculty within Higher Education Institutions in the EAC.
“We believe that quality higher education for students in all countries in sub-Saharan Africa can only be achieved if there are enough qualified and skilled faculty. To make this happen, adequate planning for recruitment, development and retention of faculty is essential.” said Lucy Heady, Chief Executive Officer at ESSA. “Having accurate data is crucial in this planning process. Staffing projections must be based on actual figures and solutions to the faculty crisis must be driven by evidence.”
This project builds on existing efforts to improve the recruitment pipeline for future academics in the EAC. The DAF consortium will provide data required to propel stakeholders to take urgent steps towards achieving effective and globally competitive higher education systems.
“Within the East African Community, there is lack of comprehensive and consolidated data and insights on faculty across the region, which makes it challenging to plan for effective regional solutions.”, said Professor Mike Kuria, Deputy Executive Secretary of IUCEA. “As the lead member for the research and analyses, IUCEA will work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that DAF II achieves maximum impact for the benefit of young people and educators in member states – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda, and the United Republic of Tanzania.”
As part of their broader focus, DAF partners will collect and analyse data on current challenges with faculty and establish a methodology to project future supply and demand for faculty in the region. Collaborating to increase awareness of the faculty challenges among stakeholders, to facilitate buy-in for faculty development-related initiatives, to inform policy, strategic planning and resource allocation will also be prioritised. Most importantly, the partners will work with higher education stakeholders to co-develop solutions and make evidence-informed policy recommendations.
“AAU’s participation in this project is to complement our efforts at the continental level towards ensuring the provision of the requisite human resources needed to achieve the African Union’s Vision of Agenda 2063 and other global goals.” said Professor Ehile, Secretary General, AAU. “Addressing systemic and data gaps in the broad higher education ecosystem to build a strong, resilient, and quality education system across African is even more critical in this era of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The DAF II project will also benefit from ongoing research by some consortium members on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on higher education. The findings will enable policymakers, Higher Education Institution leaders, the public and other stakeholders to better understand how to manage threats to HEIs resulting from or exacerbated by the pandemic.
“PRB is honoured to be a member of the partnership and looks forward to drawing on our rich research and demographic expertise to ensure that the consortium’s analyses are conducted with transparency and rigor.” said Jeff Jordan, President and Chief Executive Officer, PRB.
Claudia Frittelli – a Program Officer for Higher Education and Research in Africa, a key part of the International Program at Carnegie Corporation of New York said, “This initiative demonstrates the criticality of regional collaboration and transparency to strengthen Africa’s higher education sector. We look forward to seeing evidence-informed solutions implemented within the East African Community by its higher education stakeholders.”.
Carnegie Corporation of New York (the philanthropic funder) and the implementing partners (IUCEA, AAU, ESSA and PRB) are committed to strengthening quality faculty supply in the EAC through this DAF II research project. We also call on all stakeholders to join forces with us towards achieving an even greater impact in the East African Community and beyond.
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About the Implementing Partners
Education Sub Saharan Africa (ESSA) | www.essa-africa.org
Education Sub Sharan Africa is a charity using evidence to improve education in sub-Saharan Africa, enabling young people to achieve their ambitions and strengthening society.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EducationSubSaharanAfrica | Twitter: @ESSA_Africa
Natalie Nkembuh, ESSA Communications Manager
The Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) | www.iucea.org
IUCEA, based in Uganda, is an institution of the East African Community responsible for the development of higher education in the region. Its mission is to develop mutually beneficial collaboration between its Member Universities (in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania).
Dr. Benedict Mtasiwa, Chief Principal, Exchange Programmes, Links and Partnerships, IUCEA, +256775969012, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Wilhelmina Balyagati, Senior Communication and Public Relations Officer, +256774165467, email@example.com
The Association of African Universities (AAU) | www.aau.org
The Association of African Universities is an international non-profit, non-governmental organisation created by African universities to promote cooperation among them on the one hand, and between them and the international academic community on the other. It is headquartered in Accra, Ghana, has a membership of more than 400 HEIs and has three regional offices – North Africa Regional Office (NARO) in Cairo, Egypt; East Africa Regional Office (EARO) in Khartoum, Sudan; and North America Office (NAMO) in Washington DC, USA.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/AAU67 | Twitter – @aau_67
Mrs. Felicia Kuagbedzi, Communications and Publications Officer, AAU
Population Reference Bureau (PRB) | www.prb.org
PRB promotes and supports evidence-based policies, practices and decision-making to improve the health and well-being of people throughout the world. Learn more at www.prb.org. Follow us @PRBdata.
Liselle Yorke, Senior PR Manager, PRB
About the Philanthropic Funder – Carnegie Corporation of New York | www.carnegie.org
Carnegie Corporation of New York was established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation’s work focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: education, international peace, and a strong democracy.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CarnegieCorporation | Twitter: @CarnegieCorp