Catalyzing change in African universities: developing transformational leadership and management capacity in African universities

Higher Education is key to shifting African economies from resource to knowledge based economies. African universities’ leadership and management need to reposition their universities to play this role. Despite various trainings on leadership and management, complaints from industry and policy on incompetency of graduates and irrelevant research still voice up in Africa signaling underperformance by universities. RUFORUM has adopted a tripartite approach to address this issue; Engagement of University leadership and management in development and review of continental development frameworks; refresher training for all leadership levels at university, and training potential leaders (PhD students) to prepare them for leadership roles and linking them to senior leaders for mentorship. Significant outcomes signaling success of the approach have been registered. Engagement with policy has resulted into an MoU between RUFORUM and the African Union Commission (AUC), and alignment of University programmes to support implementation of continental agenda especially the Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) and the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP). As such university leaders have been engaged in dialogue platforms to give them exposure to key policy frameworks guiding the continental development agenda, including Agenda 2063- Building the Africa We Want. Reflection meetings and targeted skill enhancement courses have been arranged for various levels of university leaders on issues of institutional leadership and management. For many universities PhD Training now also integrates training in social skills and personal mastery, and indeed issues of leadership and management. While recognizing that change takes time, and there is need for regular refresher training and exposures, the annual review meetings of the Vice Chancellors of 66 RUFORUM universities have provided a platform for reflection learning, mutual support and catalyzing institutional reforms in the member universities.
Date of publication: 
Region Focus: 
Africa Wide
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RUFORUM Working document series
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Licence conditions: 
Open Access
Project sponsor: 
The MasterCard Foundation
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