Centres

My participation at the Kick-Off Meeting – DIGI-FACE

As part of the Kenyan delegation, Susan, John & Raymond had the distinct pleasure of attending the much-awaited Digital Initiatives for African Centres of Excellence (DIGI – FACE) Kick-off Meeting held in South Africa by the world-renowned university, Nelson Mandela in Port Elizabeth. The meeting brought different scholars whose vast experience in pursuit of higher education was not only inspiring but an open door to insightful thought on the direction higher education needed to take, chiefly digital in nature, in order to stand the test of time for African Centres of Excellence (CoE). Precisely, the project aim is to develop and put into action digital learning strategies across Africa. A big part of DIGI-FACE is to enhance digital capacities of lecturers and academics and that the training of trainers (ToT) is a very crucial pillar of the project.

The kick-off meeting took place on March 3-6 with delegates drawn from universities in South Africa, Niger, Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Congo, Mali, Namibia as well as Germany. Pursuant to achieving the goal, the delegates consisted of the Centre of Excellence Project leaders, Project Coordinators, Curriculum developers and the IT personnel. This was a brilliant mix in order to make the matrix of content development and dissemination complete.

At the opening session the delegates were taken through the overall aims of the initiative by the lead persons notably, Prof Ewald Eisenberg, representing project lead partner Kehl University in Germany; Prof Bernd Siebenhuener, German academic from Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg and Prof Paul Webb, Project Leader of the East and South African German Centre of Excellence for Educational Research Methodologies and Management(CERM-ESA).  A quick rejoinder on the collaborative approaches to capacity development and digitalization was brought into perspective by Professor Michael Samuel from the University of KwaZulu Natal who also doubled up as the event moderator. The meeting was officially opened by deputy vice-chancellor, learning and Teaching, Prof Cheryl Foxcroft, Mandela University who emphasized the need for all of us to make provisions for students to learn in digital spaces.

With the elaborate intro, the sessions that followed included the delegate’s reflections on their motivations; on-line learning experts presentations that shed more light into the digital classrooms; practical sessions of designing an interactive online session; Centres action steps, collaborations and partnerships; business plan; delegates visions and recommendations. The sessions were not only in-depth but quite mind-boggling in terms of reflections on the core challenges such as geographical complications, equipment deficiencies alongside proposed methodologies for accomplishing the DIGI-FACE project.

The project’s aspiration for the future could have consequences that undoubtedly would bring positive change and especially education without borders. The goal for the meeting was not only a means of documenting the problems faced by CoEs, nor was it an opportunity for CoEs to complain about the situation that they face, rather it was a critical discussion with actionable points aimed at reducing these challenges and possibly eliminating them entirely with guidance from a knowledgeable partner.

The discussions proposed scholars to take up the opportunity to create content on their own terms, with assistance from IT and Multimedia experts within the Institution, but with an eye for great and reusable content to a student, market to generate revenue for the Centre’s sustainability. The market out there consists of students willing to assimilate new information faster, with a lowered barrier to entry such as cost and time, and the reduction of time spent by students closing the physical geographical gap courtesy of antiquated forms of education.

Content in this context indicates the use of video, text, and interactive media as a delivery mechanism. By integrating open source software such as Moodle, specifically built to handle demands of heavy course material, it is by no means an end to itself, but rather the first step that scholars can take in order to achieve their personal goals and of the institution. Another valuable resource was H5P.org which utilized the power of HTML5 to create, share and reuse the content in a browser. The H5P platform is particularly useful since it can be integrated with MOODLE for added functionality.

As the conference progressed, we came to the understanding that many CoEs already have course material ready for digitization but lack the channels to take their course materials online. On that note, the question of sustainability arose on numerous occasions. Naturally, other questions were derived from this such as, would the funding partner, DAAD, provide sustainable solutions to the CoEs or would the CoEs be equipped with their own means of sustainability mutually beneficial to both students and CoEs.  These were just a few questions out of the many that came up. However, they were not all to be answered conclusively in this first meeting but rather at an ongoing basis customized to each CoEs needs. Furthermore, evaluations carried out at the end of the meeting could have captured more concerns from the delegates. At the close of the meeting, we were treated to a delicious dinner and thrilling excursion that cemented our continental bonds as well as giving us a chance to appreciate the beauty of Port Elizabeth and South Africa at large. Honestly, it was a great life experience and a real eye-opener for us all.

In conclusion, the flow of events throughout the meeting was pretty seamless under a powerful organizing team notably Prof. Eisenberg, Prof. Webb, Mike Swanepoel,  Merlin Kull, Ayanda Simayi just to mention a few. DIGI-FACE is headed for imminent success. We say a big ‘THANK YOU ‘to DAAD under the auspices of Dr Dorothee Weyler.

Centres of African Excellence Digital Initiative Kicks Off At Nelson Mandela University

By Gillian McAinsh, Port Elizabeth

An international project kicks off this week at Nelson Mandela University to develop and put into action digital learning strategies across Africa.

The Digital Initiatives for African Centres of Excellence – or Digi-Face – aspires to open up educational access by linking geographically separate participants with user-friendly tools and technology.

The kick-off meeting from March 3-6 in Port Elizabeth has drawn delegates from universities in Niger, Senegal, Kenya, Mali and other African countries as well as Germany.

Prof Dr Ewald Eisenberg, representing project lead partner Kehl University in Germany, said the plan was to roll out Digi-Face over the entire continent.

“Sometimes there are thousands of kilometres between a supervisor and student, which makes learning complicated. There also may be unrest, or difficulties with travel,” Eisenberg said.

He listed e-learning (electronic) and m-learning (on a mobile device) as well as blended learning (a combination of traditional and digital) as possible solutions to the challenges of education in Africa.

“Blended learning is the most useful because we can adapt the various learning scenarios to what people really need,“ Eisenberg said.

However, despite high demand and motivation for e-learning, a Kehl University survey showed that very few African universities were able to access this due to lack of basic equipment and a stable internet connection.

This gap has to be bridged because, as Mandela University Learning and Teaching deputy vice-chancellor Prof Cheryl Foxcroft noted at the conference, “increasingly, if students cannot learn in digital spaces then we are not doing our job”.

Project Leader of the East and South African German Centre of Excellence for Educational Research Methodologies and Management Prof Paul Webb, also based at Mandela University, said it was important to build capacity in Africa so that all its universities could use the relevant tools.

“Our role is also to train trainers on aspects of using apparatus and digital assets provided by the project within their own areas of expertise,” Webb said. “We want to make life easier, not more difficult. And no matter what we do digitally, it depends on the content, in other words, it depends on human beings!”

German academic Prof Bernd Siebenhuener from Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg said Digi-Face would offer a variety of modules across five areas or “work packages”.

“The idea is to develop skills for everyone at the universities, not only the IT people, and that is why we will offer a range of courses. Digi-Face is for everyone,” Siebenhuener said.

Although Digi-Face has an open-source policy where access to resources is free, this week’s conference also is looking at how to generate revenue to ensure sustainability.

The German Academic Exchange Services (DAAD) – with funds from the German Federal Foreign Office – is the sponsor of Digi-Face, and Mandela University is one of the leading drivers of the project in Africa.

Mandela University will produce at least six generic modules for post-graduate students and academics on research supervision and online learning and teaching for all 11 of the DAAD funded Centres of Excellence in Africa.

 

Members of the Digi-Face Steering Committee (from left to right): Prof Andreas Pattar, Nilly Chingaté Castaño, Junes Arfaoui, Prof Paul Webb, Merlin Kull, Dr Susan Kurgat, Prof Ewald Eisenberg, Prof Bernd Siebenhuener, Prof John Chang’ach

Appel à candidature: Bourses Master en «Décentralisation et Gouvernance Locale» au CESAG

Le programme Africain Excellence du DAAD à travers le Centre d’Excellence de la Gouvernance Local en Afrique (CEGLA) offre, dans le cadre du Master en « Décentralisation et Gouvernance Locale » (DGL), trois bourses d’étude pour suivre la formation au Centre Africain d’Etudes Supérieures en Gestion (CESAG) à Dakar, Sénégal.

La bourse est destinée aux étudiants/professionnels détenteurs d’un diplôme de licence en sciences sociales (économie, droit, gestion, géographie, histoire, sociologie, politique…) qui voudraient continuer leurs études dans le cadre dudit Master en DGL au Centre Africain d’Etudes Supérieures en Gestion de Dakar au Sénégal.

Pour plus de détails, veuillez consulter l’appel a candidature pour la bourse Master au CESAG.

African-German Cooperation towards Decolonising Higher Education: CERM-ESA Approaches and Lessons Learnt

Dear all

Please find an article reflecting on CERM-ESA’s approach to cooperation in the German-African context that you might also find interesting with regard to your own Centre.

Abstract
This paper looks into decolonisation as a guiding principle for
North-South academic cooperation towards the United Nations
2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development adopted in 2015. The
purpose of this article is to examine the German Academic Exchange
Service (DAAD) funded African-German cooperation within the
East and South African-German Centre of Excellence for Educational
Research Methodologies and Management – CERM-ESA – and reflect
on its conditions and its contributions to decolonising higher education.
The article draws on relevant literature and reflects on
CERM-ESA activities, face-to-face discussions with CERM-ESA
faculty and students. The findings have practical implications for
North-South cooperation partnerships aimed at decolonising higher
education in Africa.
To read the full paper, please click here

Alumni Video Contest – Tell us your story!

Tell us in a short video what kind of experiences the DAAD made possible for you.

What this is about?
There are DAAD alumni all over the world. Since 1950, the DAAD has supported more than 2 million academics in their study and research stays abroad. This means, there are countless impressive experiences, encounters and stories to be told.

With our video campaign we would like to showcase your story:

  • In which ways did your stay abroad change you personally?
  • Are there encounters, places and moments from your time abroad that you remember best?
  • How has your career path developed since your stay abroad?

Tell us all of this in a video and win one of three prizes.

 

How can I take part?
You can take part if you are a DAAD alumna or alumnus. Your story is strongly connected to another person’s story? Let one or two additional alumni join your video.

The deadline for the video submission is 09.02.2020.

Further information and conditions of participation can be found here.

We are looking forward to your video!

IFAT 2020: Alumni Special Project – Calls for alumni are out now!

If you are Alumni from developing countries (DAC country nationals) with a proven background in water resources management, water use efficiency, water reuse, water and waste water treatment, waste removal and recycling, sanitation, water distribution systems, measurement and control mechanisms for water quality and pollution, soil remediation, environmental engineering, environment technology, and related fields of work.

APPLY NOW for the DAAD Alumni Special Project (training seminar and trade fair visit) in the framework of

IFAT 2020

The World’s Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management.

The training seminars (phase 1) will take place from 26 April – 3 May 2020. They are organized by three different German universities, each of which has its own focus for the seminar: University of Duisburg-Essen, University of Siegen and University of Applied Sciences Trier.
The seminars are followed by the visit of IFAT 2020 in Munich, Germany, from 4 – 9 May 2020 (phase 2), organized by the DAAD.

The calls for application are out now!
Single application deadline: 15 January 2020

Please address your application directly to the contact named in the announcements which are available on our website.

CEGLA – International Conference in Niamey on the Local Civil Service

The Centre of Excellence for Local Governance CEGLA hold a highly relevant International Conference on the Local Civil Service from 27 to 29 November 2019 in Niamey/Niger.

The conference was opened by the Nigerian Minister of Interior, Mr. Bazoum Mohamed, the German Ambassador in Niger, Mr. Hermann Nicolai, the Director of the National School of Administration, the Rector of the University Abdou Moumouni as well as the Head of Division Development Cooperation and Transregional Programmes of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Stefan Bienefeld.

During the three days of conference, the participants were discussing about crucial issues in the administration of local authorities. Experts, coming from various states of Western Africa, e.g. from Niger, Senegal, Mali and Burkina-Faso, carried out short presentations about the current legal and practical situation as well as the main challanges of local authorities in the different states of Western Africa. The main focus of the substantial discussions and debates concentrated on the state of local civil service in Western Africa, the fincancial situation as well as the recruitment and human ressources on local level.
The debates during these sessions led to very rich results on the different questions ending up by making the conference a place for an exchange of ideas and practices as well as for critical analysis of all the practices and different subjects.

The best articles of experts as well as the main results of the conference will be compiled in a comprehensive publication, which will be published by CEGLA next year.

The conference was closed with the words of thanks from the organizing committee for all the teams, the various organizations and participants who contributed to the success of this fruitfull conference.

Alumni-Conference: “Transitional Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa” 20th – 24th November 2019 Berlin, Germany

The African-German Research Network for Transnational Criminal Justice (“Network”) held its first annual conference on “Transitional Justice in Sub-Saharan Africa” between 20th and 24th November 2019 in Berlin at Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. The Network was established after the 10-year-funding period for the South African-German Centre for Transnational Criminal Justice (“Centre”), which was supported by DAAD and offered an LL.M.- and PhD-Programme, has ended in 2018. It aims to provide the very successful Alumni of the Centre with the basis and the resources to further their academic and personal exchange. The Network is directed by Prof. Dr. Gerhard Werle at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and supported by DAAD and the German Federal Foreign Office.

In addressing legacies of gross human rights violations, Transitional Justice is usually considered as instrumental in establishing, amongst others, the rule of law, reconciliation, and democracy. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the approaches used over the last decades evince a lot of diversity, in the wake of many countries in the region recovering from protracted conflict or dictatorial regimes. Recent developments in countries such as Ethiopia, South Sudan, or Zimbabwe once more highlight the relevance of the field. While Transitional Justice mechanisms have to be tailored to meet the requirements of the specific situation, analyzing and comparing different approaches can provide valuable insights that can be used to develop best practices and improve the implementation of Transitional Justice.

For more information about the African-German Research Network for Transnational Criminal Justice visit transcrim.org.

 

Start of the third CABLES Training for Centres of African Excellene in Accra

The third offering of CERM-ESA’s Capacity Building Programme for Lecturers and Supervisors (CABLES) has kicked-off successfully in Accra this morning. A group of 25 participants representing the
West African-German Centre of Excellence for Governance for Sustainable and Integrative Local Development
West African-German Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Rural Transformation
Congolese-German Centre of Excellence for Microfinance
Ghanaian-German Centre of Excellence for Development Studies and the
– Namibian-German Centre of Excellence for Logistics

are engaging in questions of postgraduate supervision, curriculum development and interpersonal competencies for excellent teaching. The week-long professional development programme is the last in a row of three international and cross-disciplinary CABLES offerings that DAAD  has sponsored for those lecturers, researchers and supervisors, who contribute to the success of the Centres of African Excellence.

Participants and facilitators of the CABLES@WA2019