Scientific Program

  • Doctoral education

    African Higher Education has witnessed massive expansion in the last decade opening up unprecedented opportunities for access. This trend is anticipated to continue and potentially increase more rapidly in the foreseeable future. Doctoral education resides centrally in this phenomenal development and its role in advancing excellence in African higher education cannot be overemphasized. Accordingly, efforts are underway to strengthen the doctoral education landscape in the continent which faces a plethora of challenges. The upcoming AAU Conference intends to extensively explore and propose relevant interventions and recommendations for the advancement of excellence in doctoral education in Africa.

  • Institutional differentiation

    Despite the phenomenal expansion that the African higher education has witnessed, only little can be said about its differentiation. The new institutions have tended to copycat existing institutions in their form, content and culture—falling under a very strong spell of institutional isomorphism. This has undermined efforts of institutional and program diversity as well as establishing centers of excellence that are paramount in national higher education systems. The Conference will undertake a robust dialogue and analysis to advance institutional differentiation, among others, re-calibrate institutional mission and revisit existing (and dominating) modalities of delivery (by capitalizing on virtual/distance learning), in pursuit of excellence in higher education systems.

  • Partnership/cooperation and internationalization

    Research and academic collaboration, as a phenomenon of internationalization, have taken center stage in promoting quality and advancing excellence. Institutional vigor, status and reputation are now measured in terms of the scope and magnitude of international partnerships and academic cooperation. Student mobility, academic exchange, joint research and program development have emerged as key aspects in advancing academic excellence. The Conference will explore the challenges of promoting internationalization, for instance rankings, and academic partnerships and advance relevant and appropriate approaches to foster it.

  • University-industry linkages

    The importance of university-industry linkages has been well established in advancing multi-disciplinary research, public-private partnership, innovation, entrepreneurship and excellence. Of recent, entrepreneurship and public-private partnerships have garnered robust support, among others, to expand employment and job creation opportunities—key aspects of development in the continent. While the contributions of university-industry linkages in advancing excellence and relevance has long been well understood, this particular path to excellence has not been fully exploited for a number of reasons. The Conference, while identifying the impediments, will propose relevant and practical interventions to address it.

  • Funding and financing

    The massive expansion of the higher education sector in Africa has not been matched with commensurate resources. The sector, which is striving to address a deficit in access, equity, quality, and excellence needs to scale up and diversify its sources of funding. It is well established that developing countries need to invest one percent (1%) of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) towards research, yet, most countries are to pursue that in a more sustainable, strategic, and equitable manner. In countries where public funding for the sector has reached a threshold, multiple avenues of generating both public and private resources have been sought. As key to the advancement of excellence and quality in higher education, the Conference will deliberate on how African countries and their higher education institutions need to navigate the chronic challenges of financing the sector in the aftermath of post-Covid 19 and the global economic, social and political upheavals.

  • Role of intellectual diaspora

    Africa has a huge untapped capital in the intellectual diaspora. The human, financial and technical potential of the intellectual diaspora in advancing African higher education has been well recognized, recently. The Carnegie Corporation of New York’s African Diaspora initiative in advancing higher education in the continent through the diaspora, is one case in point. Based on the lessons learned and experiences acquired—from such organizationally supported and also privately steered initiatives — the Conference will vigorously explore this emerging trend in advancing excellence in African higher education.