investments in laboratories and human resource for these disciplines, improve the link with employers to raise relevance of education and foster strong international collaboration to increase quality.
A regional approach to higher education in Africa therefore, offers the best way to build and sustain excellence in higher education in African economies. Few, if any, West and Central African countries have the persistent means to fund internationally competitive centres of excellence in the broad range of areas required for their economies.
Regional specialisation and co- ordination of investments is the only way that West and Central African countries can financially and academically develop quality provision of higher institutions and Centres within universities across West and Central Africa that already specialise in offering high level training in the areas of Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Agriculture and Health Sciences.
Supporting these institutions will allow them to boost quality of education in the regions within their fields through partnerships and allow them to compete with institutions based in high-income countries for African students capable of paying for quality education.
The Project, which is a regional project competed for by a number of Africa countries including Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo is therefore, a means by which financial support is being provided to facilitate the establishment of Higher Education Centres of Excellence in African universities.
The higher order objective is to meet the labour market demands for skills within specific areas where there are skill shortage affecting development, econo- mic growth and poverty reduction.
The project will also support the implementation of sector-level human capital plans such as the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Project (CAADP) and the Africa Mining Vision
The Project Development Objective (PDO) is to support the country to promote regional specialisation among participating universities in areas that address regional challenges and strengthen the capacities of universities to deliver quality training and applied research.
Components of the Project
The project consists of two components.
Component one aims at strengthening the capacity of the two universities competitively selected in Ghana and to strengthen or establish Centres of Excellence. These Centres will deliver regional, demand-driven, quality training and applied research in partnerships with regional and international academic institutions and in partnership with relevant employers and industry.
Component two consists of regional activities to build capacity, support project implementation, monitor, evaluate and develop regional policies.
Component1: Strengthening Africa Centres of Excellence
Component one will strengthen the 3 Centres of Excellence in the two universities (University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology) to produce highly skilled graduates in Applied Research to help address specific national and Regional development challenges. The amount awarded to each Centre of Excellence is US$8.0 million.
The selected institutions will imple- ment their own Centre of Excellence proposal aiming to help address a specific national and regional development challenge through preparation of professionals (education), applied research and associated outreach activities with partners.
Each selected institution will sign a performance and funding contract with GOG which states the following;
“At least, 15 percent of the funding must be invested in the partnership and at least 10 per cent must be invested in partnership activities with non-national Africa partners. Further, civil works will be limited to 25 per cent of the amount.”
This Agreement will include the Government's planned commitments for continued funding of institutional staff as part of the funding and performance agreement. Within these parameters, institutions will have autonomy to implement their own institutional specific proposal that encompasses the following six elements:
Enhance capacity to deliver regional high quality training to address the development challenge, including, inter alia, update curricula of existing programmes or create new education programmes to meet the development challenge; meet international benchmarks for quality education, for example, international accreditation, deliver short- term courses for professionals and attract a regional student body.
Training of faculty to introduce new approaches to teaching and learning, enhance work-place learning such as internship, encourage entrepreneurship among students, upgrading of qualifi- cations of faculty; improve learning resources, including lab equipment and minor rehabilitation or extension of existing facilities.
Enhance capacity to deliver applied research to address the regional development challenge, including inter alia, faculty development and staff training, minor rehabilitation works or extension of existing facilities, scholar- ships and post-doctoral studies, networking activities with national and international partners, hosting and participating in conferences, research equipment and materials and laboratory refurbishment, research dissemination, knowledge and technology transfer and patenting or other intellectual property rights-related costs.
Build and use industry/sector partnerships to enhance impact of the ACE on development and increase relevance of said centres of education and research, including, inter alia, industry advisory boards, internship, industry lectures, training of trainers for sector training institutions (such as poly- technics, nursing, teacher or agriculture colleges), joint research, training and other activities to communicate, interact and reach out to the sector/industry/ communities.
Build and strengthen regional international academic partnerships to raise quality of education, raise the capacity of network partners and to raise the ACE's capacity, including, inter alia, joint delivery of education programmes, professional courses for regional faculty exchanges/ visiting faculty, joint research, joint conferences, sharing of specialised equipment and library resources
Enhance governance and management of the ACE and the participating university to improve monitoring and evaluation, including monitoring of labour market outcomes of graduates, administration, fiduciary management (including financial management, procurement, oversight and capacity), transparency ability to generate resources and project implementation.