AAU-ADEA-TrustAfrica Webinar: Promoting Diversification, Differentiation, and Harmonization of the African Higher Education Systems


The Association of African Universities (AAU) in partnership with Trust Africa and the Association for the Development of Education’s Working Group on Higher Education (ADEA-WGHE) invites you to join a Higher Education Forum Webinar on “Promoting Diversification, Differentiation, and Harmonization of the Higher Education Systems at the Institutional, National, Regional and Continental levels”. The purpose of this forum is to enable African countries consolidate and assure the quality of educational provision against locally, regionally, and internationally agreed upon benchmarks of excellence. 

This forum specifically focuses on the 2nd Priority Area of the 1st African Higher Education Summit’s Declaration and Action Plan. The forum seeks to bring together seasoned Higher Education Stakeholders and experts in Africa and diaspora to share ideas on benchmarking educational standards and systems at the institutional, national, regional and continental level in Africa. 


Key Pan-African organisations such as the African Union Commission (AUC), Trust Africa, the Association of African Universities (AAU), the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) and other international partners organised the 1st African Higher Education Summit under the theme “Revitalizing Higher 

Education for Africa’s Future” in Dakar, Senegal on March 10 -12, 2015 to confirm commitment to the objective of creating a continental multi-stakeholders’ platform to identify strategies for transforming the African Higher Education sector. 

The Summit had seven (7) objectives and it agreed on nine (9) priority areas to improve Higher Education in Africa. 

Summit Objectives

The following were the objectives for the 2015 summit: 

  1. Build a constituency for transformation and investment in Africa’s Higher Education 
  2. Create a shared vision for the future of African Higher Education 
  3. Harness and highlight best practices and initiatives in African Higher Education; 
  4. Harness and build complementarities among the various efforts and interventions in African Higher Education 
  5. Spur, share and sustain innovation in African Higher Education 
  6. Create an African Higher Education movement as part of the continent’s integration efforts and 
  7. Ensure coordination of the various initiatives, both by African actors and international development organizations, to reposition the sector 

Priority Areas

The following were the agreed priority areas: 

  1. Expand Higher Education to accommodate the growing population and also the needs for Africa’s inclusive development. 
  2. Promote diversification, differentiation, and harmonization of Higher Education systems at the national, institutional and continental/ regional levels. 
  3. Increase investment in Higher Education to facilitate development, promote stability, enhance access and equity; develop, recruit and retain excellent academic staff and pursue cutting-edge research and provision of high quality teaching. 
  4. Pursue excellence in teaching and learning, research and scholarship, public service and provision of solutions to the development challenges and opportunities facing African peoples across the continent. 
  5. Commit to building capacity in Research, Science, Technology, and Innovation. 
  6. Deliberate policies developed by African governments and regional economic communities. 
  7. Pursue national development through business, Higher Education and graduate employability: Despite the rapid expansion of Higher Education enrolments, there are serious concerns about the ability of Africa’s universities to produce the kinds of graduates who can drive the continent forward. 
  8. Ensure that Higher Education is at the centre of nation building processes and nurturing of democratic citizenship: As enshrined in the relevant sections of African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, 1981 and in the AU’s Agenda 2063, the continent seeks to deepen the culture of good governance, democratic values, gender equality, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law. 
  9. Mobilize the Diaspora to be engaged in transforming Africa’s higher education sector. 

Webinar Objectives

This forum seeks to explore and benchmark success stories associated with the 2nd Priority Area of the 2015 Dakar Summit Declaration: Promote diversification, differentiation, and harmonization of Higher Education Systems at the National, Institutional and Regional /Continental levels

Institutional Level

  1. Keep to their assigned missions, develop a solid academic core and niches that are relevant to national requirements and student needs. 
  2. Embrace pedagogies that emphasize participation, creativity, invention, innovative citizenship and new technologies for teaching and learning. 

National Level: 

  1. Establish legal framework and higher education act to oversee system structure, governance, study programmes, degree types and hierarchy as well as diversification and differentiation. 
  2. Develop criteria for categorizing institutions including research universities, comprehensive universities, university colleges and the vocational institutions such as polytechnics and community colleges. 
  3. Benchmark the standards of national quality and accrediting agencies, including national higher education councils or commissions with powers to sanction institutions for non-compliance. 
  4. Reinforce the capacity of differentiated institutions, develop clear criteria for moving from one type to another, and limit ‘mission creep’ and ‘academic drift. 

Governments Level: 

Facilitate student and academic mobility by minimizing visa requirements or making visa issuing “much easier”. 

Continental Level: African Union & Sub-Regional Groupings 

  1. Support differentiation and diversification of higher education. 
  2. Develop a continental system for enhancing student mobility and institutional comparison. 
  3. Provide guidelines for a harmonized classification of tertiary education institutions. 
  4. Support higher education in the areas of graduate training and quality assurance through the Pan-African University with centers of excellence in Africa’s regions contributing to strengthening and expanding research universities. 
  5. Establish Continental Agency (i.e. Pan-African Quality Assurance Framework -PAQAF) to refine and systematize academic data definitions, collection, monitoring and measurement, to allow for institutional, regional and international comparisons including rankings comparing similar institutions and taking into account the continent’s circumstances, to stimulate competition for institutional excellence. 

Expected outputs 

The Post-Dakar Declaration Webinar is expected to inform participants about the achievements and challenges in the implementation of the Dakar Declaration most especially promoting diversification, differentiation, and harmonization of higher education systems at the National and Institutional levels by African countries and provide a new roadmap to achieve the broader objectives. 


The deliverables of the webinar are: 

  • Presentation and Webinar Video 
  • Synthesized publication 
  • Interaction with various participants and stakeholders. 
  • Lessons learned from the presentation as well as the questions and answer (Q/A) session. 

Information on the Webinar Presentation 

Date: Thursday, 11th January, 2018 

Time: 12:00 GMT 

Venue: Online (Adobe Connect Platform) 

Organizers: This Webinar is organized by the Association of African Universities (AAU), ADEA Working Group on Higher Education (ADEA-WGHE) and funded by Trust Africa. 

Target Audience: This Webinar is open to all stakeholders in Higher Education in Africa, such as:- Vice-Chancellors, Academics, Students, Consultants and Experts, National and Regional Councils of Higher Education, Participants of the 1st African Higher Education Summit-Dakar, and key organizations in Africa that include Trust Africa, the African Union Commission (AUC), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP) , the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA), the Association of African Universities (AAU), the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), AUWA, SARUA, IUCEA, CAMES, RUFORUM, and the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa. Summit International Partners: Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY), MasterCard Foundation, and the World Bank Group. 

How to Participate 

  1. Confirm your participation by registering at https://www.aau.org/webinars/trustafrica.php 
  2. The webinar will be livestreamed on: https://meet53484183.adobeconnect.com/aautrustafricatalks/ 
  3. Make sure you have the Adobe flash player installed on your device (i.e. computer, tablet and smartphone) 

Live Tweeting and Event Hashtag: 

  1. Join the conversation by following #TrustAfricaTalks, #AAUwebinars, #WGHETalks and share your comments and questions. 
  2. Follow our webinar via our social media channels: 

AAU  @AAU_67     |     TrustAfrica @TrustAfrica     |     ADEA  @ADEAnet 

AAU  AAU67     |     TrustAfrica  TrustAfrica     |     ADEA  ADEAnet

For any further information, please contact Mr. Kwesi Acquah Sam on (+233) 243298464 or via email: kasam@aau.org


  • Prof. Peter A. Okebukola - Lead Presenter
  • Dr. Violet Makuku - Panel Member
  • Prof. Michael Oladimeji Faborode - Panel Member
  • Prof. Mohammed Salifu - Panel Member
  • Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman - Panel Member
  • Mr. Shem Okore Bodo- Panel Member