Support to Network of Regional African Institutions of Science and Technology (AUST & 2IE) project
- Reference: P-Z1-IAD-004
- Approval date: 18/03/2009
- Start date: 26/01/2010
- Appraisal Date: 18/01/2009
- Status: OngoingOnGo
- Implementing Agency: ECOWAS & AUST & 2IE ECONOMIC COMMUNITY WEST AFRI STATE & AFRICAN UNIVERS OF SCI
- Location: ECOWAS REGION
The Project's objective is to increase the number and improve the quality of qualified science and engineering graduates in the ECOWAS region in order to provide a regional consolidated response to the needs for highly qualified personnel in science and engineering in the ECOWAS region. In that respect, ECOWAS will have a key role to play in terms of facilitating harmonization and establishment of common regional standards in higher education by developing a framework for higher education certificate equivalence in the ECOWAS region. In light with its 2003 Regional Protocol on Education and Convention on the Recognition and the equivalence of Degrees, Diplomas and other qualifications which set out priority objectives in education, S&T especially, the ECOWAS Commission has recruited a consultant to carry out feasibility study on Equivalence of certificates. To respond to the ECOWAS Commission's main objective to harmonise criteria for admission into institutions of higher learning, research institutions, and vocational training centres; harmonise certificates; and progressively harmonise the educational and training systems in its Member States, Project funds have been allocated towards the development and implementation of required framework. This activity will also facilitate the role of the ECOWAS Commission in promoting the network within its member countries.
As such, the Project will consist of two main components:
- Component 1: Facilitating regional and institutional networking (3.73 Million UC), which will will facilitate a strengthening of partnerships and institutional linkages
- Component 2: Improving relevance of training and research (8.06 MillionUC) to support:
(i) the expansion of student intake;
(ii) the improvement of quality of training and research; and
(iii) the strengthening of linkages with productive sectors. Specific activities include:
The purpose of the project is to contribute to the development of high quality expertise in science and technology through the training of students in science and engineering in various fields.
The project objective is to produce more qualified and competent high-level skills in science and technology to foster economic growth and regional integration. This will be attained through the establishment of centres of excellence and a network of institutions of international standards and reputation.
It is expected that such an increase in scientific skills will contribute significantly to sustaining the economic growth. The creation of a centre of excellence and a network of solid institutions will also participate in fostering a mobility of skills and regional integration
Training capacity at the tertiary education level remains limited in Africa, usually because of the countries' inability to mobilize resources to establish proper institutions of higher learning. This is particularly true in the fields of S&T, which require particularly costly investments. Consequently, many engineers still have to be sent abroad for training, with the added risk that they do not come back, causing an acute lack of professionals able to tackle the development challenges facing Africa. In a world in which economies are evolving, climates are changing, security is threatened and health care systems are under increasing pressure, Africa needs to maximize the use of its human resources to improve its prosperity. This implies heavy investments in institutions of excellence on the continent, with greater cost-efficiency in the long-run. However, most countries in the ECOWAS region cannot afford the cost of infrastructure and equipment required to establish high quality institutions of S&T and the Bank cannot finance the cost of such institutions in each of the RMCs of the region, hence the importance of a regional pole of excellence which will provide accessible and non-excludable training opportunities to qualified students of the ECOWAS region.
In an effort to provide concrete solutions to contribute to skills enhancement for growth in Africa, the Nelson Mandela Institution (NMI) took the initiative to promote and create a pole of excellence in S &T to train high quality African scientists and engineers to meet the demand of Africa's private sector needs and realities, so as to bring concrete solutions to the numerous challenges facing SSA. The NMI pole consists of thematic networks built around four institutions:
(i) the African University of Science and Technology (AUST) in Abuja,
(ii) the School of Life Sciences in Arusha,
(iii) the Gulf of Guinea Institute (G2I) on offshore petroleum engineering in Abuja, and
(iv) the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2IE) in Ouagadougou. The proposed project will facilitate the strengthening and the establishment of greater collaboration for two institutions in the network, namely the AUST and the 2IE.
Although Project activities are carried out in Abuja (AUST) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), they will benefit all students in the ECOWAS region and even beyond . Furthermore, neighboring countries of the two institutions will be able to enjoy the benefits of increased supply of qualified engineers, scientists and researchers as:
(i) students, teachers and researchers alike will have the possibility of offering their services across borders; and
(ii) research outcomes will likely be applicable to the region for the benefits of its whole population. In terms of gender equity, specific efforts will be made to attract and retain female students in the schools. Benefits will also accrue to faculty and administrators involved in both institutions in the form of training, faculty exchanges and participation to scientific conferences. Finally, the Project also targets the private sector as AUST will train 510 full-time degree students and some 100 part-time students from petroleum companies during the project life. Furthermore, it is expected that many firms in Africa (small, medium and large) will benefit from Project activities through industry-institution collaboration, research and innovation.
OLAOYE Bolanle Patricia - OSHD2