Introducing afrihero

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African Higher Education and Research Observatory

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Introducing afrihero

  1. 1. s Introducing The African Higher Education and Research Observatory (AFRIHERO) AFRIHERO... What is it? AFRIHERO is Africa’s first virtual repository of higher education and research ideas which is resourced by a global movement of academics and professionals interested in socio-economic advancement of Africa and developing countries. This movement is known as the Society for the Advancement of African Higher Education and Research (SAAHER). We see in the above image a great sea of opportunities for Africa and developing countries in general and wish that Africa takes bold steps to seize the opportunities. We also see the seeming legs of an African hero or heroine without a clear identity and the ‘famished road’ beyond the horizon. These realities motivate us in AFRIHERO to recreate Africa through innovations in education and research aimed at achieving key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) such as poverty alleviation, wealth creation, gender emancipation, youth empowerment, conflict resolution, and effective leadership and governance in educational, economic and political systems. Sheffield, United Kingdom. info@afrihero.org.uk Telephone > +44(0)1142655116 Mobile > +44(0)7772632150 www.Afrihero.org.uk Why are we passionate about revamping higher education and research in Africa and developing countries?
  2. 2. The mission of the African Higher Education and Research Observatory is to recreate Africa through curriculum innovations, skills- based training, and best practices in education and research. This will enable African countries to achieve and sustain key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) such as poverty alleviation, wealth creation, gender and youth empowerment, and to institute effective leadership in educational, economic and political systems. What are the broad aims of AFRIHERO? 1. To enable African and global academics and professionals to cooperate towards accelerating Africa's socio- economic development 2. To innovate higher education research and curricula in Africa thereby enabling African graduates, academics and professionals to become deeply skilled in the theory and practice of the disciplines, and able to resolve global challenging problems facing the continent e.g. the MDGs 3. To serve as a forum for home- and Diaspora-based Africans and Friends of Africa to formulate and implement research and capacity building interventions in African Higher Educational Institutions 4.To forge creative and sustainable South-South and North-South partnerships between Africa, its Diaspora and international development organizations, in order to realize the above aims, especially internationalization of the HEIs through transnational education and knowledge transfer. 5. To maintain regional organizational structures that enable AFRIHERO to address peculiar problems faced by different regions of Africa. How are we organised in order to achieve these aims? We institute internationally leading research programmes up to PhD levels in key fields of learning which our global army of contributing academics and professionals specialise in. Examples of these programmes are: Education and Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity, Statistical Modelling, Business and Finance, Development Studies and Informatics, Customer Relationship Modelling, ICT and Project Management. Other fields are accommodated in a research programme labelled Related Topics and include Mathematical Sciences, Health and Well-Being, Social Sciences and Humanities, and Complexity Sciences How for example are our core research programmes structured? We exemplify the character of our research programmes and their related capacity building work in the following notes on the Innovation and Creativity Research Programme. Please see the website for fuller descriptions of the research directions and capacity building activities for all the research programmes. The AFRIHERO Innovation and Creativity Research Programme is the primary multidisciplinary hub that drives creative learning, teaching and assessment (LTA) innovations and enterprise development initiatives of HEIs and private sector organisations. Activities within the programme focus on researching, understanding and integrating the theory and practices of innovation and creativity in socio-economic development, particularly in creating and maintaining national innovation systems which are fit for the 21st Century.
  3. 3. The mission of the African Higher Education and Research Observatory is to recreate Africa through curriculum innovations, skills- based training, and best practices in education and research. This will enable African countries to achieve and sustain key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) such as poverty alleviation, wealth creation, gender and youth empowerment, and to institute effective leadership in educational, economic and political systems. The link between a national innovation system and elements of a high knowledge economy index (KEI) is also studied. The research programme is fully engaged in the development of comprehensive resources for specialist and collaborative MSc, PhD and post-doctoral research supervision and externally funded fellowship schemes. A primary emphasis of the programme is researching the pathways for innovation and creativity within the curricula of specific disciplines. This will develop in graduates an innovation mindset and mastery of innovation and creativity tools such as:  Creative problem solving; critical thinking and decision making; scenario analysis; strategic problem solving; strategic intelligence and related higher order skills; multiple intelligences and their enactment in Gardner's 5 Minds to the Future; theory of constraints; heuristics and decision making under uncertainty, conflict and complexity; behavioural economics and finance; and problem structuring methods (PSMs). The AFRIHERO Innovation and Creativity Research Programme has a strong commitment to excellence in applied innovation research and proven international reputation in providing model-based career guidance, research supervision, model-based innovation and knowledge management solutions to individuals, organizations and governments. How do we disseminate results and best practices to appropriate audiences? We disseminate research-informed best practices in all the research areas to local, regional, national, global stakeholders and communities of practice, especially in developing countries. We do this through:  Academic publications; research reports; research cafe's; internships for beginning researchers; seminars and workshops; case studies; roundtables, specialist lunch/dinner discussions; strategic conferences and colloquia; outreach programmes; media releases; and publishing of top quality textbooks and research monographs with a balance of local and global examples, for the benefit of staff, students and professionals. Please see detailed notes on the remits of these activities in different sections of the website. How innovative are our offerings actually? There is a depth of scholarship and research in all our programmes such as described above for the Innovation and Creativity Research Programme. But there is also a novelty of applications accompanying such depths - novelty in auditing and understanding stakeholder needs (staff, students and client publics) and designing solutions to those needs which are rarely found in traditional higher education institutions. We exemplify such novelties briefly here and enjoin you to see more of that by browsing the different sections of our website.
  4. 4. The mission of the African Higher Education and Research Observatory is to recreate Africa through curriculum innovations, skills- based training, and best practices in education and research. This will enable African countries to achieve and sustain key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) such as poverty alleviation, wealth creation, gender and youth empowerment, and to institute effective leadership in educational, economic and political systems. We conduct systematic reviews of key policy blueprints and respond to challenges identified in them. For instance, we have reviewed the Nigerian Education Roadmap and are developing appropriate solutions under four main themes as follows: Assess and equity Of the circa 1.2 million Nigerian youths who take the Nigerian Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examinations yearly, only about 10-15% gets places. Hence, the policy to allow private and foreign players into the Nigerian educational marketplace! There are now 117 universities 45 of which are private universities; 9 are newly established universities pursuant to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ)'s policy of each state having a Federal university. These opportunities require focused academic development of top quality learning programmes to which we respond as follow:  We help universities to access high quality international visiting lectureships that provide needed proximity to up skill staff and students across many disciplines and programmes.  We develop innovative cross-disciplinary learning and training programmes that will imbue graduates with modern work and critical skills e.g. creative problem solving, critical thinking and decision making through core concepts learned in the disciplines, personal development and career planning, ability to produce robust CVs, rounded research skills, ICT, software and presentation skills.  We develop and host innovative on-line courses via AFRIHERO Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) spaces under construction. We plan therefore to work with university centres for Continuing Professional Development or centres for Continuing Education Programmes (CEPs) in providing on-line VLE capabilities which facilitate training at first degree, certificate and diploma levels. Students can access such VLE-hosted generic and core courses from the comfort of their homes and workplaces.  In addition, we develop specialist MSc-MPhil-PhD programmes that provide internationally leading learning and research opportunities in strategic industry sectors of national importance e.g. financial services, public health, oil and gas, etc. We have designed some of these programmes and await strategic opportunities to début them in partner universities going forward.  We lead developments in quality Open University courses which Nigerian students can access without residence in universities, using exactly the above capabilities. We will show-case these possibilities in pilot programmes such as a planned African Graduate School of Business and Entrepreneurship, with focus on entrepreneurship, enterprise education, innovation and business. This graduate school is under-guarded by a radical approach to teaching and researching core business and finance disciplines which is not currently available in Africa. Even though this is a solution to access at the graduate level, it is a desideratum for a country's socio-economic development. Standards and quality assurance We develop well-researched frameworks that will enable African Higher Education Institutions to attain over time similar levels of quality as obtain in the developed countries. For example, we are completing work on an African Research Excellence Framework (AREF) which exceeds capabilities inherent in similar global comparators e.g. the UK Research Excellence Framework, by developing pathways for training African academics and professionals on how to implement academic careers and research plans that habitually attain exacting standards of excellence. We will publish the framework in our Research Reports and embark on a continental tour of selected African universities where we train champions who will train other academics in their home countries on the framework requirements and modalities.
  5. 5. The mission of the African Higher Education and Research Observatory is to recreate Africa through curriculum innovations, skills- based training, and best practices in education and research. This will enable African countries to achieve and sustain key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) such as poverty alleviation, wealth creation, gender and youth empowerment, and to institute effective leadership in educational, economic and political systems. We plan also to address the issue of quality of undergraduate education in African HEIs by running seminars and workshops on comparative global standards of excellence in learning, teaching and assessment (LTA) work in different venues in Africa. For example, working with strategic stakeholders, we will build a demonstrative learning studio that will show-case the kind of quality education that obtains in such places as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard in the US, Cambridge University and Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, among others. The learning studio is part of a multidisciplinary university-industry research network which we are convening in Nigeria to bring relevant mathematics, business and finance disciplines together in addressing myriad problems of financial education in Nigeria and Africa. The network is called the Nigerian Mathematics Statistics and Economics Research Consortium (NIMSERC) and the demonstrative learning studio uses Statistics as a case study. We fondly refer to these academic development efforts as 'vital street interventions in radically revamping higher education in Nigeria and Africa'. Funding, partnership and resource utilization We are immensely experienced in developing winning research grants that fund vital academic and research activities in higher education. We will cascade such skills to African HEIs through workshops and seminars. We will lead the debates in the content of what is funded by concerned bodies e.g. Nigerian Education Trust Fund, by presenting full cost-benefit and impact analyses of basic and policy-relevant programmes we are soliciting funding for. We are particularly interested in skills-based entrepreneurial education that will help resolve the huge pipeline problems associated with mass graduate unemployment in most African and developing countries Technical/vocational education and training This calls for re-invigorated curriculums that address cogently the theory-practice canyon in African education systems, equip graduates with the ability to really do things with their learning, and create wealth in societies, entrepreneurially and intrapreneurially. Of course, we offer all manner of training on related skills. We lead ideas oon the establishment of integrated learning studios which offer students opportunities for hands-on experiments, projects, problem solving and wider applications of the concepts they study in specific modules of their programmes and across related disciplines. This blends technical/vocational education and training (obtained also via industry-facing projects and use of professionals as guest lecturers) with deep theoretical knowledge of the disciplines. To reiterate earlier ideas, what are our unique selling points? In all our capacity building work we take special care to be radically innovative thus:  We provide best in class results to stakeholders to enable them make clear strategic choices and reach decisions based on real insights and understanding of substantive problems and contexts facing them;  We help stakeholders to maintain continuous improvement in human capital and organizational know- how, and add superior value to all stakeholders in our research and development activities.  In our engagements with business, industry and wider communities, we coach staff and students intensely on how to think, innovate, network and lead - these are in our view the four vital capacities that produce excellence in organisations.  It is appropriate to say that we radically transform the terms of intellectual and professional debates and praxis in African Higher Education and Research through engaged scholarship.
  6. 6. The mission of the African Higher Education and Research Observatory is to recreate Africa through curriculum innovations, skills- based training, and best practices in education and research. This will enable African countries to achieve and sustain key Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) such as poverty alleviation, wealth creation, gender and youth empowerment, and to institute effective leadership in educational, economic and political systems. But is there any evidence of the quality of our capacity building interventions? The following personal statements of delegates’ satisfaction with a workshop on research methods we facilitated at the University of Uyo, Nigeria, evidence utmost quality in our interventions. Please see detailed impact assessment of the workshop in the Seminars and Workshops section of the website. ‘This kind of workshop should broadcast on national television’. Udeme Akpan ‘A well thought out and challenging workshop’. Professor N. E. U. Inyang ‘It is the best I have ever attended...’ Theresa M. Udofia ‘The presentation was excellent’. Frances E. Etim ‘The workshop is very meaningful to both lecturers and postgraduate students. I suggest that similar workshops be held regularly’. Michael S. Akuma ‘It was a passionate delivery by the lead facilitator with a focus to help others and a platform to build on’. Anonymous What other organizations are linked to or integrated with AFRIHERO in its pursuit of excellence in research and capacity building? AFRIHERO develops specialist technologies and vehicles which enable it to prosecute research and capacity building work in niche areas of national strategic importance. We give the websites of such organizations in the contact and further information notes below. How do you join us and how do you contribute to the work in AFRIHERO? You join AFRIHERO directly as a member of the Society for the Advancement of African Higher Education and Research (SAAHER) by registering your details in our website. This membership enables you to contribute ideas and participate in AFRIHERO events as is convenient for you. You may also request specifically to be considered for a role as an AFRIHERO Consultant or Resource Person. For this purpose, you should take a closer look at the remits of our research programmes and provide us with a one-page profile and full CV. The profile will be displayed in the website as shown in the sample profiles in the Resource Persons section and the full CV is kept confidential, only to be used when your name is included in a project proposal as a Co-Investigator. Contact and further information You can access AFRIHERO freely from any computer system with Internet connections by typing www.afrihero.org.uk into your web browser. If you wish to know more about AFRIHERO, please email info@afrihero.org.uk. Other organisations with which AFRIHERO is closely associated are:  The Nigerian LGA Geodemographic Classification System and Profiler (NIGECS) – www.nigerianlgaclassification.com  Global Strategic Services and Training Ltd., UK (GLOSSTRA) – www.glosstra.co.uk

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