On 6 October, 252 university staff from 30 universities in the EAC region received their graduation certificates for a five-month training programme on “Research Cycle and Digital Skills” in an online ceremony. Graduates represented the EAC Partner States of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.
The tailor-made digital skills training had been initiated and organised by German Development Cooperation via GIZ as an activity under the COVID-19 Response Measures being funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) under the EAC Secretariat project “Digital Skills for an Innovative East African Industry” (dSkills@EA).
The training was designed and delivered by Pan Africa Christian (PAC) University in Kenya, after winning the highly competitive tender, which attracted bids from numerous universities in East Africa. Through PAC University, the project has successfully trained system administrators, IT technicians and lecturers from across universities in East Africa, with five universities per country having benefited from the training. They included Hubert Kairuki Memorial University (Tanzania), Nkumba University (Uganda), University of Burundi, University of Rwanda, Catholic University of South Sudan, and Kisii University (Kenya) to mention a few.
All training elements were premised on the understanding that the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected the education systems in the EAC. The need to support training for all university lecturers in the EAC to support online teaching and research capacities has been indeed huge to be able to continue to deliver quality education. Some of the courses taught included designing an online course syllabus and schedule, developing e-course content and online assessment, managing and facilitating learning activities Pedagogy, and skills for media-enhanced didactics among others.
“The younger the students the more the demand for blended courses. Technology has shown us that it is possible to transform ways of learning and delivery while enabling regional integration and interaction of EAC citizens”, noted Prof. Margaret Muthwii, Vice Chancellor, PAC University. Prof. Michael Mawa, Chief Principal of the Quality Assurance & Qualifications Framework of IUCEA, mentioned that digital skills training is timely and useful in enhancing the quality of teaching of EAC universities and in line with IUCEA Strategic Plan 2021-2026.
“We have received exemplary digital skills to help our home universities and we hope to share the knowledge with other universities in Burundi”, highlighted Dr Richard Ndayishimiye from the University of Burundi. "My favourite course unit was enhanced media didactics. I have actually gone ahead to practice and cascade the same skills in training my colleagues in the library and the academic community in the same”, added Robert Buwale from Kyambogo University, Uganda.
dSkills@EA, which is implemented by GIZ, focuses on initiatives geared towards strengthening the application of advanced digital skills and innovation capacities in the EAC. The implementing partner of the project is the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA), and the Centre of Excellence for ICT in East Africa (CENIT@EA).
Find more information on the dSkills@EA project under Education & Training (eacgermany.org)