A first collaborative network for SADC curriculum innovation

A first collaborative network for SADC curriculum innovation

On a recent sunny winter’s weekend at the Spier Conference Centre in the winelands of South Africa a group of distinguished academics, higher education specialists and climate change experts from the SADC region gathered to plan the design of a ground-breaking initiative. The occasion was the launch of the SARUA Curriculum Innovation Network (SCIN) and the attendees were members of the team responsible for developing and coordinating a regional Master’s curriculum in climate change and sustainable development.

SCIN workshop delegates catch some sun while discussing curricula. Photo by Tim Honey

SCIN workshop delegates catch some sun while discussing curricula. From left to right: Ronald Mukanya (CDKN), Prof Godwell Nhamo (Unisa), Prof Isaac Mapaure (UNAM), Dr Anthony Phiri (HIT). Photo by Tim Honey

In attendance were representatives from the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA), Higher Education Management Africa (HEMA), the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), regional universities and also independent advisors and consultants to the process. We were meeting face-to-face for a first time to discuss the design of the curriculum and the process of developing what will be a first for the SADC region. The SCIN is not only the first SARUA-established collaborative network of university, government, private sector and civil society stakeholders who wish to address the impacts of climate change in southern Africa, but also the first project to collaboratively develop a Master’s curriculum that will be available for customisation and delivery at participating universities in all 15 countries of the SADC community.

SCIN inception workshop. Photo by Tim Honey

SCIN inception workshop. Photo by Tim Honey

A University Delivery Consortium (UDC) comprising seven universities from five countries has been selected to develop the curriculum and courseware and the event was an opportunity for them to test their approach with the coordinating team, the project sponsors and peers.

I was interviewed by University World News in my capacity as SCIN Coordinator and an article which provides a very good overview of what we aim to achieve is available here.

Me in discussion with Prof Mark New, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, who will be leading the University Delivery Consortium. Photo by Tim Honey

Me in discussion with Prof Mark New, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Town, who will be leading the University Delivery Consortium. Photo by Tim Honey

The workshop ended with a launch event where Piyushi Kotecha, CEO of SARUA and Prof Goolam Mohamedbhai, Former Secretary-General of the Association of African Universities (AAU) were the keynote speakers. They reiterated the need for collaboration and networking in the region and on the African continent.

Piyushi Kotecha and Prof Goolam Mohamedbhai at the SCIN launch event. Photo by Tim Honey

Piyushi Kotecha, CEO of SARUA and Prof Goolam Mohamedbhai, former Secretary-General of the AAU at the SCIN launch event. Photo by Tim Honey

Network building and management is a particular interest of mine, hence this project is as much fun as it is a challenge. If you are interested in the SCIN, drop me a line. Organisations or individuals who wish to participate in the SCIN can register their interest as Participating Universities, External Stakeholders, or Individual Contributors by completing the online registration form.

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SARUA Curriculum Innovation Network: Call for Expressions of Interest

SARUA Curriculum Innovation Network: Call for Expressions of Interest

The SARUA Curriculum Innovation Network which I wrote about here is being established and as its first project will develop a regional Master’s curriculum and courseware in climate change and sustainable development. The curriculum will be available to participating universities across all 15 SADC countries to customise and offer as a university programme.

SARUA has also asked external stakeholders and individuals who wish to contribute to indicate their interest in being part of what aims to be a truely collaborative network of parties focused on addressing the challenges of climate change in southern Africa.

Read the full Call for Expressions of Interest here.

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Knowledge co-production in SADC on climate change

The Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) Capacity Development Programme on Climate Change, which I wrote about here, concluded its mapping study in May 2014. The mapping study was the result of 18 months of research by way of workshops held in 12 SADC countries, to understand the climate change knowledge gaps and how universities in the region are responding to them.

On 5-6 May 2014, the SARUA Executive Committee hosted a Leadership Dialogue  at Spier Conference Centre where some of the team who comprised the HEMA Consortium presented the findings of the study to representatives from regional universities.

The two lead authors, Penny Urquhart and Prof Heila Lotz-Sisitka shared the Knowledge Co-Production Framework with the attendees and in my role as project manager I presented the road map to guide the next steps of the programme, which involve establishing collaborative networks across the SADC region to focus on climate change knowledge co-production that responds to regional challenges.

This programme can make a huge impact towards the revitalisation of higher education in the region and the full reports are made available on the SARUA website.

The representatives from SARUA, regional universities, HEMA and CDKN, 6 May 2014

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Relaunch of consultbrain.com

Relaunch of consultbrain.com

consultbrain.com has rebooted. I started it in 2005, but it’s time for something new. Read more in “About” and check back soon – I will start adding content in October 2013.

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