The Role of Co-operation in Higher Education for DevelopmentNile BDC Workshop, Addis Ababa, April 8, 2011 Mitiku Haile Mekelle University Ethiopia
BACKGROUND Higher education institutions have a long history in institutional cooperation. University partnerships are one of the most frequent forms of inter-university cooperation on the international level. To bridge the world in the context of globalization and of the achievement of the millennium development goals, tertiary education has gained new attention in international discussions. In the need to achieve sustainable development, the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 already stressed the need in “Encouraging twinning of universities in developed and developing countries” (Agenda 21,Chapter 36).
University cooperation is an effective instrument for integrating content specific and practice related know how in the field of sustainable development into teaching and research in developing countries as well as in developed countries. On the other hand, an involvement in development co- operation offers strategic advantages and opportunities to HEIs, sharpening their profile in research and in teaching Through inter university cooperation HEIs are getting into a give and take, and what they do give back is a share in the knowledge they produce and the distribution of that unique produced knowledge.
MU-IUC Research Goal: Improved livelihood ofPoverty: critical the farmers in Tigray lack of any of the five types of capital Human capital health, nutrition, labour, knowledge, ‘voice’Social capital Natural capitalinstitutions, policy, soil, water, vegetation,cooperation, gover- animals, mineralsnance, equityFinancial capital Physical capitalcash, credit, reserves infrastructure, assets
Academic exchange is one traditional focus of cooperation. Foreign students and academics are coming to foreign HEIs for study and research.This is international mobility. Besides that, foreign lecturers/professors are coming to HEIs in foreign countries to conduct teaching at these HEIs. Exchange between HEIs in developing and developed countries has mutual benefit for both sides.
The twinning programs between HEIs in the north and the south can help in particular to meet the demand for quality education programs at reasonable cost to the HEIs in developing countries. Many innovations in higher education could be said to be indirect results of these cooperation activities. However, this presentation assumes that the current international cooperation in higher education is now no longer just import of foreign higher education, but rather a selective acquisition and localization of foreign knowledge that is needed in the higher education systems in developing countries.
Inter-university cooperation between the north and the south has produced fruitful results for the HEIs on both sides. Some programs/departments of HEIs in developing countries have made their name internationally through this type of cooperation. Further, with the support from HEIs from developed countries, the higher education systems in developing countries have been able to approach the new ideas in higher education development. However, it must be ensured that those HEIs are not playing the passive role of a receiver/importer within these international cooperation activities.
The international cooperation of higher education will develop further in the coming years. There will be a major shift in cooperation activities. Of course there will be a continuation of the acquisition of knowledge in areas in which HEIs in developing countries have little expertise but needed for the socioeconomic development, but the focus will be quality improvement of higher education based on the other countries experience. The cooperation will become more selective in what and where to learn from.
The other aspect of future cooperation will be the extension of exchange activities between higher education institutions to disseminate the specific knowledge from HEIs in developing countries.In this process, the cooperation activities will take place in the context of globalization and specialization which constitute the major challenges for global higher education.
THE CHALLENGE• With global interdependence it is critical that nations have the institutional capacity to interact globally to solve problems and create opportunities related to: development, security, peace and justice• Mid-1970 to mid-1990 global growth was significant, SSA declinedwith GDP growth either zero or negative. Extereme poverty increased from 35% in 1970 to 50% in 2000.South Asia has shown dramatic decrease in poverty(WB-ADI,2007)• Broad based development and transformation in Africa requires significant human and institutional capacity development• In Africa demand for HE is rapidly increasing:large18 year old population cohort, and a proportion of that population achieving secondary level diplomas.• In addition, economic growth in some African countries contributed for post secondary education as more can now afford at least some level of higher education
Major causes for such challenges and imballances• The last two decades most African countries committed low funding to HEIs-more pressing problems• External development assistance to HEIs declined significantly• Primary and secondary level education was given prominence as part of the MDGs• Pressure from external donors to focus on basic education
Addressing the imballanceQuality of primary and secondaryeducation is suffering from: -lack of high quality teachers, education leaders, supervisors and curriculum specialists.• Broad-based development in Africa can’t happen without: .well educated leaders .a strong human resource base .institutions that can produce the knowledge necessary to address critical, local, national and regional problems
THE WAY FOREWARD• Change in the perception of Africa’s Development needs .Reaffirm the importance of HE to overall socio-economic development• The neglect and lack of investment on HE in Africa must be reversed .Neglecting HE in Africa is not an option!• Africa’s commitment and ownership with focused international support leads to success
Continued…• Awareness and engagement of Africans and development partners is critical• Interventions in African HEIs have to be long-term and comprehensive• Partnership has a great promise to build Africa’s capacity• Interventions need to be country specific• Capacity building and faculty development are to be prioritized
Continued…..• Brain drain reversed to brain gain• Encourage innovation through competitive grants