The Education Collaborative at Ashesi launched in 2017 to serve as a platform for African universities to collaborate and share best practices. Since then, the platform has continued to see progress, with some 200 teachers, leaders and other stakeholders across 25 institutions reached, and over 2600 students directly impacted.
The 2019 gathering focused on Africa's growing population, and the role of higher education in helping the continent harness this growth for economic gain. Engaging University leaders, faculty and administrators, this year's convening welcomed 20 institutions, both public and private.
Held in two parts, the 2019 Education Collaborative comprised a 2-day Executive Conference for higher education leaders; and a 3-day workshop for faculty and administrators of universities. Drawing on values of collaboration and sharing, activities included plenaries and sessions on use of practical tools in classroom management, faculty-administrator collaborations, and hands-on techniques for training students.
With an emphasis on case studies, the 2019 Education Collaborative reflected the experiences and challenges of faculty and administrators across campuses in Africa. The ultimate goal for this year's gathering, was that each participant and institution present would commit to a specific area of transformation over the next year.
"Filling the gaps within our educational systems is a task that extends beyond one stakeholder," shared Rose Dodd, Project Lead for the Education Collaborative. "It requires a collective effort across multiple institutions and organisations. Having this platform to exchange ideas, provide mentorship and engage with one another helps to move the needle for higher education across the continent. By engaging leadership, faculty and administrators, we hope to allow for a much deeper collaboration."
“There’s a lot of hands-on learning at the Collaborative, and my hope is for more faculty from my institution to join in subsequent years," shared Benjamin Amankwah, from the Accra Technical Institute, who has been attending the collaborative since its inception. "After my first experience, I started a Leadership and Ethics program for the first time at my institute. I have been able to expand the course from one class held twice a year, to four classes held twice during the year. I cannot wait to incorporate more of the things learned this year.”
Additionally, the Education Collaborative allows for participants within the network to form mentorship partnerships with institutions they want to model after post-conference. One such relationship, has been between Ashesi and the African Development University.
“Since we got here last year, we have been implementing several projects learned from the sessions that have been helping us to run our university effectively," shared Amadou Boukar, Dean of the African Development University, which opened in 2017. "Being under Ashesi’s mentorship has been amazing; not only do we engage during the annual collaborative, but also, we get the chance to work with Ashesi faculty and staff throughout the year to implement many of the things we talk about here. As we grow, we are confident that we will be better placed to help provide the best kind of education to our future leaders."
“In a way, Ashesi gets to deepen its knowledge base and practices and stay innovative as we explore different dynamics of higher education,” shared Dr. Esi Ansah, Leadership lecturer at Ashesi. "For example, working with ADU has given us a better understanding of how we could better support francophone students here at Ashesi. Through this mentorship program, we also get to sharpen our tools and identify better ways of doing what we’re doing. And at the end of the day, that goes back to strengthening the ecosystem.”