About AMAS Project
AMAS Project, AMAS AMAS Project A Brief Of The Amas Project A Brief Preamble Response to the EU Call for proposals- EACEA/07/2016 Proposal won the EU Academic Mobility in Social Sciences & Governance Intra-Africa thus- a South-South Universities collaboration Opportunity for knowledge exchange between five universities in four distinct regions of the African continent, exploring: Territorial diversity; Cultural diversity; Linguistic diversity; Historical diversities The AMAS Project (amasproject.org) is an intra-Africa academic mobility (exchange) project funded by the European Union. he theme in which programmes AMAS mobilities will take place is “Social Sciences And Governance”. The AMAS Partners Universities (PUs) include; Moi University, Kenya (the coordinating university represented on the project by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Anne Nangulu and Prof. Omar Egesah); The University of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; The University of Mohamed V Rabat, Morocco; The University Abomey Calavi, Benin; The Edwardo Mondlane University, Mozambique, and; The University of Bayreuth, Germany (the Technical Partner- TP). AMAS will send both Master and Doctorate students for mobility in the five (5) PUs and not the TP. We are reviewing and grading applicants for both Master and Doctorate students, with the intention of selecting the best suitable to receive the mobility scholarship to study in any of the five (5) African Universities in either of these two ways; degree seeking- to study a full degree programme in a PU; credit seeking- to study partially in a PU, and only seek credits. Successful candidates must be both females and males able to translate and use the knowledge, experiences and realities of the academic mobility exposure to influence the scene in Social Sciences & Governance, for Enhancing Africa’s sustainable Development, after graduating. The AMAS PROJECT MILESTONES 2016 – 2021 project span- with 3 Cohorts of Students & Staff 2017 September – October: AMAS Project call for Cohort-1 applications for students mobility 15/11/2017: Close of the call and commencement of shortlisting Each PU forms a selection committee & selects candidates; Master Target-1 either credit or degree seeking Master Target-2 either credit or degree seeking Doctorate Target-1 either credit or degree seeking 4.Doctorate Target-2 either credit or degree seeking Academic Mobility flows by Master, Doctorate and Staff, based on two innovative principles: Common Fields of Study (CFS)- Generic knowledge disciplines Special Benefit Programmes (SBP)- Unique knowledge disciplines the project encourages females participation. Target Beneficiaries Five universities offer in sum39 study programmes that are both common and also unique to address mobility opportunities Opportunities in learning, research, leadership, and employability in the field of Social Sciences and Governance Our overall mobility program constitutes of 80 individuals; 45 Master students; 20 Doctorate students;15 staff members All the five partner institutions will have equal number of participants; namely nine (9) Masters, four (4) Doctorate students and three (3) staff members. How The AMAS PROJECT Contributes to Innovation in Africa (Poster) Click To Download Project Relevance Given the present advances in communication, globalization and the speed of knowledge creation, mobility of the academia through the “Academic Mobility for African Sustainable Development” (AMAS), will be instrumental in creating the stage for contextual and evidence-based development for Africa with effective knowledge exchange between five universities in four distinct regions of the continent. The Partner Universities (PUs) in the AMAS project are: Moi University (MU), Kenya; Université Mohammed V de Rabat (UM5R), Morocco; Addis Ababa University (AAU), Ethiopia; Université d’Abomey-Calavi (UAC), Benin, and, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM), Mozambique. Universität Bayreuth (UBT), Germany, is the technical partner to the project (TP), while Moi University (MU) is the Leading Applicant. Beyond the conventional structures of internationalisation of Higher Education in Africa with the ‘Developed World’ our project in the framework of the EU-Intra-Africa Mobility Scheme, provides opportunities for both individuals and institutions to exchange academic and cultural experiences, and develop sustainable academic networks through mobility. In this regard, the AMAS mobility programme will be a learning ground for future higher education harmonization process through recognition of qualification among the collaborating institutions. In addition, the project provides an opportunity for innovative thinking and enhanced ways of academic collaborations among the participating Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) by fostering excellence in academic trainings and research outputs through intra-Africa mobility. The trend of South-South higher education collaboration has not been much developed in Africa as compared to the North-South because of various socio-cultural, linguistic and historical factors. AMAS in this regard will play a vital role bringing five universities from four regions of Africa in developing a comprehensive and sustainable mobility program that facilitate the South-South cooperation among African HEIs. AMAS is innovative since it addresses identified challenges and risks that we seek to overcome by means of strengthening competitiveness and mutual benchmarking. We implement internationalisation by building on Common thematic Fields of Study (CFS) that create the common ground of exchange of students and staff. At the same time, the collaborating universities will exchange on how to facilitate the recognition of studies and qualifications on the grounds of lived practice. Parallel to the CFS, we identified study programmes, which are unique at each of the participating institutions. They form a set of Special Benefit Programmes (SBP). These SBP offer distinctive specialisations at the host institutions, which add unprecedented value to a student’s formation not available at the home institutions (see 2.1 below). Moreover, the students’ experiences will influence the development of existing and/or the implementation of new study programmes at the home institutions. Academic Quality The overall objective of the Intra-Africa Academic Mobility programme is to promote sustainable development and ultimately contribute to poverty reduction by increasing the availability of trained and qualified high-level professional manpower in Africa. The Roadmap 2014-2017 of the Joint Africa-European Strategy (JAES), underlines the crucial role of Higher Education for economic and social development and the strong potential of academic mobility to improve the quality of higher education, by accelerating the use of transparency and recognition tools, and by helping institutions develop better services to send and receive foreign students and researchers. Academic mobility for students and staff in our project is destined to enhance exchange of knowledge and experiences, which can go a long way in improving quality and outcomes of teaching, learning, research and public service for Africa. Despite differences in the size of institutions, African universities have shown extensive growth in their capacities in the past few decades. Because of this, the participating African universities have a lot they can share through intra-Africa Academic Mobility to enhance quality outcomes in teaching, learning, research and services for the benefit of other universities on the exchange programme. Quality assurance is crucial in the choice and delivery of Master and Doctorate programmes offered in the AMAS programme. The partner universities (MU, AAU, UM5R, UAC, UEM and UBT as technical partner) donate to the AMAS project, a consortium of deliberately selected persons representing the partner universities, with expertise to achieve the project’s objectives using experience and viable strategies, procedures and carefully planned activities as proposed here, to successfully organise and implement the mobility. The team has carefully planned the services and facilities offered to enrol students and staff as well as the way the partnership intends to ensure effective participation of these students and staff in the mobility scheme. Under the quality criterion, an indicative list of identified Master and Doctorate programmes in the priority thematic field of Social Sciences and Governance is presented. We provide a description of each programme and demonstrate that they are of high quality to warrant effective and useful academic mobility flows in the five African partner universities. Within the vast field of Social Sciences and Governance, we identified “Common Fields of Study” (CFS) on the basis of the existing Master and Doctorate programmes offered at the Partner Universities. In other words, all partners share study programmes that are located in the following four areas relevant to the topic of Social Sciences and Governance: 1. Governance and Public Administration; 2. Development Studies; 3. Sociology; 4. (Social) Anthropology. Notwithstanding, the main motivation for a student to go to another university in another country is in our understanding, the chance for him/her to have a special study offer at the host university, which (s)he cannot find at the home university, and which can assure unique specialisation for the student. A list of ‘Special Benefit Programmes” (SBP), which are offered at the partner universities, has been identified for utilisation on our mobility flows. These are mostly unique programmes found at the universities involved in the programme, to address emerging trends of change, wellbeing and sustainable development in Africa. SBP programmes and courses focus on topics of great relevance and interest for Africa and include for example: at Moi University “Forced Migration Studies”, at Addis Ababa University “Managing Peace and Security in Africa”, at Université Mohammed V de Rabat “Contemporary Islamic Thought and Social Issues”, at Université d’Abomey-Calavi “Bi/plurilingualism and Interculturality”, and at Universidade Eduardo Mondlane “Rural Sociology and Management of Development”. In addition to the uniqueness of these programmes, some of the courses at the SBP are offered by experts, whose focal activities lay outside academia, like e.g. specialists of the African Union. This combination of SBP with teaching by experts of practice offers exceptional study opportunities and fosters higher employability chances. The AMAS project lists 39 courses for academic mobility on the basic rational that leadership skills in Africa derive from a vast variety of disciplines. In this respect, the project aspires to provide a wide range of choices for applicant who want to contribute for the development of leadership and governance in Africa. We have also a strong understanding on the fact that leadership and governance should encompass a broad spectrum of knowledge from diverse fields of Social Sciences. For quality assurance, all mobility flows will be implemented only in accredited Master and Doctorate academic programmes. All programmes are approved by partner universities Senates and they are accredited by Ministries responsible for Higher Education or respective higher education regulatory bodies, in each country. In addition, the partner universities have offered to this project programmes that are internally evaluated through university specific evaluation/audit systems that adhere to academic procedures of each university, including the following common quality assurance strategies; Course evaluation by students and staff; Evaluation of course instructor; Assessment of students through examinations; External moderation of examinations and Curriculum reviews. These quality assurance tools aim at the continual enhancement of courses and programmes through direct use of feedback results from evaluation results and reports. Besides, the AMAS project shall conduct its own evaluations aimed at improvement of academic programmes on the mobility flows for immediate and even future benefits. Partnership Composition And Cooperation Mechanisms The composition of the AMAS project partners is excellently balanced not only because of its diversified expertise in terms of management, organisation and content of the studies’ programmes, but also with respect to the regions of the African continent. All African regions are represented in this consortium; Northern Africa by Université Mohammed V de Rabat, Morocco; Western Africa by Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Benin; Eastern Africa by Moi University, Kenya, and Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia, and Southern Africa by Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique. This regional diversity covers also different African language families and offers opportunities to the students to be exposed to and possibly develop interest and learn languages beyond Arabic, English, French and Portuguese. In addition, the four regions represent diverse cultures found on the African continent, and presents a chance for academic mobility beneficiaries to be exposed, to learn and to experience and engage different cultural and phenomenological contexts. The composition of the partners accommodates the specific needs of mobile academics in Africa who seek complementation in skills and competences and thus are ready to benefit from the diversity of the partnership. A particular unique asset of the partnership and network is the establishment of a link between Northern Africa with Sub-Saharan Africa, which is significant and much desired given the fact that these two regions have rarely collaborated in academic matters back in time. In respect to the academic contents of AMAS project, the five universities drawn from four regions of Africa offer in sum 39 study programmes that are both common and also unique to address mobility opportunities in learning, research, leadership, and employability in the field of Social Sciences and Governance. The AMAS project is designed to ensure bilateral benefits between two exchanging partners in such a way that each partner offers good practice benchmarks to be borrowed and used by the other partners. The partner universities involved in the project are experienced in the management of international projects collaborations and cooperation and in academic mobility and students and staff exchanges at both institutional and personal levels. The partners shall collaborate as defined precisely in the AMAS Project Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The coordinators of all partner institutions in Africa form part of the international steering committee, which includes as well the coordinator of the technical partner. The role of the latter is to support the management, partnership, organisation and implementation of the mobility planned within the project. In addition, it shares its experience in internationalisation and offers advice for financial management and accounting to the coordinating institution. The technical partner does not participate in the mobility itself. The steering committee comprises of one focal person from each of the collaborating universities including the technical partner. The steering committee will assure the quality of the programme and it will regularly assess the implementation of the project in general and will mediate the action of all partners. In particular, the committee analyses the needs of the students, supervises the implementation of the process of mobility and the progress of the programme in the different universities. Students and staff of the partner universities will regularly review and evaluate both the programmes and services provided to guarantee continuous quality assurance. Sustainability Sustainability of the AMAS project is a key mandate of its joint policy and the partnership action. The successful commitment to intra-Africa mobility of all Partner Universities involved in the project of AMAS will help further shaping of the internationalisation agendas of the respective HEIs for the future. Moreover, it will influence the general attitude towards intra-Africa internationalisation strategies in higher education of the participating universities. An envisaged output from this partnership is harmonisation of study programmes and courses that will appear compatible for the mutual benefits of partnering and mobility exchanging universities. Furthermore, the AMAS project has potential to influence a wider range of universities outside the partnership in various ways. As an ‘Intra-Africa mobility model’, AMAS has the likelihood to showcase best practices and set benchmarks in academic mobility as a pathfinder with reference to Africa. As a result, the project can serve as a reference point and motivator of intra-Africa academic mobility in higher education systems around Africa. Thus, the AMAS project can intrinsically generate its own sustainability from within showcased by best practices. Handled as such, AMAS will offer valuable experiences and approaches for intra-African mobility and can therefore also serve other higher education institutions in Africa who might be interested to set up similar actions. The most important factor in this context is, indeed, how effective the respective coordinators in the institutions and regions collaborate in AMAS. We do see our commitment and dedication absolutely crucial to implement smooth and successful mobility and eventually enjoy positive feedback, excellent evaluation by individuals and the partnering universities. The successful delivery of all objectives mentioned in the passages before will be the basis to increase the availability of qualified trained human resources at Master and Doctorate level in Social sciences and Governance, the number of enthusiastic advocates of higher education mobility will increase and with it as well the idea of intra-Africa academic mobility. After satisfactory completion of the individual mobility and satisfactory acquisition of knowledge, the consortium capitalises on the enthusiasm in several respects. Concretely this means: We present the testimonials of the master students, doctorates and staff and their personal experiences and success stories on the website right from the beginning of the project. Those academics who enjoyed the mobility can then later become advisors for the next cohort to travel and inform as multipliers how and what they gained from the action. Public dissemination will then serve to gain further acknowledgement for the project at one hand and advertise the general action of intra-Africa mobility on the other hand. We expect that this also triggers acknowledgement in our institutions. To sum up: students and staff will benefit from this mobility programme through linguistic, cultural and professional exchanges from the accredited programmes. One important measure is then to explore financial institutional sustainability of the project within the partnership. In this, we consider the individuals evaluation and feedback as a major factor for AMAS institutional sustainability. As alumni these individuals will encourage other students directly to seek individual funding externally (e.g. by the Julius Nyerere Scheme, international funding organisations, private sector et al.). We can well imagine that they even contribute as private donors once they found employment, become leaders in a professional job environment and follow the idealistic pathway of philanthropy in Africa in their own capacity that recently gains momentum on the continent. One of the institutional efforts we make for securing funding for sustainability beyond the funding period awarded by the EACEA, is to identify internal and external funds within and beyond the respective universities at a mid-term stage (beginning in the third year) of the project when evaluations have been taking place already. -Internal institutional funds are a certain regular sum that the university itself dedicates to respective mobility flows of individuals in the context of it’s the internationalisation strategy. However, this internal measure is envisaged but needs the successful implementation and organisation of the entire scheme to build upon it. -External funding shall be fundraised by engaging Ministries of higher education, National Councils in charge of research and higher education, Science Academies and other institutions and stakeholders in the higher education sector. Since our universities dispose of well-established relations to the governments and Ministries of science, research and education, we seek ideal support to implement the project as a national strategy and strive for negotiating means for AMAS as pioneering institution and also within a broader scene. Another external source for funding are the future employers of well-trained academics. We expect not only universities, but the governments and ministries to seek for high potential employees among the well-trained academics in AMAS. By creating awareness for the social benefits of academic mobility employers in the private business sector further national or international agencies etc. will strive to attract respective alumni of the project. We will therefore create a critical mass of supporters of the project and its specific approach. The third possibility of securing funding is to respond as an experienced group of cooperation partners to calls for proposals by international agencies in the distinct higher education areas in Africa. We are quite sure that we are predestined to also collaborate on respective calls in academic mobility programmes in the future. In general: By triggering the development of an open-minded academic mobility culture that in the long run not only takes the chance to leave the continent for international academic mobility but esteems also intra-African pathways of South-South mobility, we design the academic professionals of high potentials for sustainable development in Africa. Internationalisation and academic mobility can lead to addressing development priorities of partner university countries in various ways. AMAS capitalises on this for national development priorities of countries involved in the partnership. The main development priority in Benin is poverty reduction. The World Bank report shows that female-headed households experience lower levels of poverty (28% compared to 38% for male-headed households), however they experience a lack of economic opportunities and are heavily underrepresented in high-level decision-making positions (http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/-benin/overview). AMAS proposes strong measures for equal opportunities of women in its academic mobility, in recognition of the important role women play at household levels. As role models for a generation of young female academics their mobility experience will have certainly an impact of the successors. In the same way, Ethiopia’s development priorities are among others gender equality and mainstreaming, good governance and state building. However, Ethiopia is facing unemployment. AMAS mobility flows aim at ensuring capacity building in the respective development priorities and therefore beneficiaries from Addis Ababa University who, for example, register at Moi University, can benefit from the Special Benefit Programmes (SBP) such as Tourism Management, which is offered there. Moreover, Kenya’s development priorities are addressing challenges of peace and security, poverty, inequality, governance, low investment and low firm productivity in order to achieve rapid, sustained growth rates that will transform the lives of ordinary citizens. To address for example insecurity, beneficiaries of the academic mobility programme will gain skills and competencies in the unique programmes offered by Addis Ababa University such as ‘Managing Peace and Security in Africa’. The main development priority in Morocco strives for the promotion of competitive and inclusive growth; Building a green and resilient future; and strengthening governance and institutions for improved service delivery to all citizens. Gender, youth, voice and participation have also been retained as crosscutting themes (http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/morocco/overview#2). Beneficiaries will gain knowledge, skills and competencies from special programmes that focus on youth, empowerment and emancipation in development from other partner universities. In the same way, Mozambique’s main development priority is to reduce poverty and improve health services including access to water, sanitation. Mozambican authorities consider the social sectors as top priority followed by transport and information and communication, education and social, urban, rural and resilience (http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/mozambique/overview#2). The fact that Mozambique considers the social sector as top-priority for each development opens up opportunities for beneficiaries of the mobility for example hosted by Moi University to follow Development studies with specific focus on socio-cultural and economic factors that influence development. Training in governance based on intra-Africa mobility flows of students and staff will strengthen regional integration, and collaboration among academia so as to foster internationalisation and capacity building of higher education institutions through partnership schemes. The outcome will also be reflected in benchmarking and fostering the best practices out of the intra-Africa mobility training for both students and staff for sustainable development. The best practices also includes sharing academic human resources, knowledge and skills for supervision and mentorship of students, encouraging brain circulation as part of brain gain for the benefit of partner universities. This is an important move to tackle the challenges of brain drain in Africa. Dissemination for Sustainability The project outcomes will be disseminated and exploited by partner universities among other institutions that have interest in intra-mobility studies. Dissemination will be through the project website, reports, conference presentations and publication that will be visible and accessible for utilization by partner universities and other stakeholders in higher education. Acquisition of qualification awards as evidence of completion of studies and milestones of the AMAS Project will benefit students and partner universities and by extension countries involved in the project. Qualification awards are from programmes that are accredited and meet the quality assurance requirements as per international conventions. Partner universities will establish a database and share training materials, research and publications by students and staff especially. The documents and published works from the project will serve as reference points for future mobility and intra-Africa mobility projects and studies they contribute to internationalisation of higher education and sustainable development for the betterment of diverse populations and needs of society in Africa and beyond. Therefore, they will create a niche in training and research in social sciences and governance, and intra-Africa mobility studies as strategy for sustainable development, which will serve as a worthwhile outcome of the project. To conclude: this programme as per the name of the Project “African Academic Mobility for Sustainable Development” (AMAS) is relevant and timely and the results will serve the needs of African countries and the global society for sustainable development. The participants plan to sustain the project beyond the EU support because of its value to human wellbeing and to socioeconomic development. As a commitment of sustainability, the participating institutions have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding which is also attached on the email version of this application.
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