Over 20 participants drawn from 12 countries converged at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Monday October 24, 2016 for the Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies (DIES) workshop. The week-long forum organized by JKUAT and Leibniz University of Hanover (LUH), Germany, aims to equip participants with skills and competencies to manage tasks and processes towards internationalization of higher education.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Mabel Imbuga said globalization had made it mandatory for universities to creatively devise strategies to harmonize and internationalize their academic and research programmes to meet the needs of the ever changing world.
JKUAT, Prof. Imbuga said, was already implementing a number of international research and academic initiatives with collaborators from countries like Germany, Japan, and China.
By hosting the Pan African University Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI), the Vice Chancellor, added, JKUAT was playing a key role in integration of Africa through higher education.
‘’JKUAT also plans increase admission of international students by 12 % annually in line with our Strategic Plan as well as enhance staff and students exchange programmes,’’ added Prof. Imbuga in a speech delivered by Prof. Romanus Odhiambo, DVC, Academic Affairs.
LUH Director, International Office, Dr. Birgit Barden-Laufer said cooperation in science and education holds a key place in international relations as it fosters understanding and friendship among people and countries beyond politics.
She challenged the participants to make use of the forum and come up with viable projects that can be leveraged to support the cause of the workshop.
In a presentation on the role of Japan/JICA in PAU and stimulating African innovation, AFRICA-ai-JAPAN Project Chief Advisor, Prof. Manabu Tsunoda, said while Africa can learn from other continents on development, the best and sustainable path would be to utilize indigenous resources, knowledge, experiences and wisdom.
He said JICA was laying a firm foundation for research and innovation capacity through infrastructure, human capacity building, industry academia linkages and international collaboration.
One of the participants, Birabwa Elizabeth from Busitema University, Uganda termed the workshop timely and expressed confidence that the forum will equip her with requisite skills. She is currently working on a project to institute a summer school at her university.
‘’A great number of universities in Uganda still don’t have both policy and structures in internationalization of higher education. We hope to learn from each other and benchmark from German colleagues on how to move forward,’’ said Elizabeth.
The forum that will come to a close on Friday October 28, will also be addressed by Prof. David Some, CEO, Commission for University Education; Prof. Gabriel Magoma, Director PAUSTI; and Dr. James Jowi of Africa Network for Internationalization of Education.
Participating countries include Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Sudan, Tanzania, Egypt, Ethiopia and Germany.