Focus on Innovations Instead of Publications, E.A. Universities Told

Prof. Alexandre Lyambabaje(L) exchanging documents with Dr. Helmut Blumbach  after signing the Memorandum of Understanding for collaboration in the next five years

The Executive Secretary of the Inter-University Council for East Africa, order Prof. Alexandre Lyambabaje has appealed to for universities to take a further step from publications to development of innovative products and policies.

Prof Alexandre was addressing a High Level Dialogue Meeting of Vice-Chancellors, pharmacy Deputy Vice-Chancellors and Heads of Commissions/Councils for Higher Education and members of East African Higher Education Quality Assurance Network (EAQAN).

The meeting was the culmination of the EAQAN Forum which kicked off this Monday, followed by EAQAN General Assembly on 18th May. Both events took place at the Imperial Golf View Hotel in Entebbe, Uganda.

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The meeting was also attended by participants from Ghana, Ivory Coast and Somalia to learn from East African countries on the development of quality assurance systems in universities

Prof. Lyambabaje told the participants of the meeting that among the priority areas of the Inter-University Council for East Africa’s coordination is to “promote and encourage research within higher learning institutions.”

He however, expressed that in some cases, it has been realized that some universities are “prioritizing the end result of their work as publications which of course go with promotion of staff instead of innovation and products as end results.”

He therefore urged universities to view publishing in a different aspect of moving from publications to development of innovative products and policies which will contribute to the development of socio-economic transformation in the East African region.

On the efforts being made in the development of quality assurance systems in East African universities, the Executive Secretary, emphasized the importance of communicating quality assurance matters in a user friendly language to enable its articulation and understanding by diverse stakeholders, among them being policy makers, administrators and ordinary people.

He stressed that by making quality assurance issues in higher education understood by stakeholders, contributes into attracting more support and realization of the objectives of interventions which results in more funding from governments, partners and other stakeholders.

“We need also to assess how effectively the developed tools in quality assurance are used in our institutions” said Prof. Lyambabaje, citing an example of the current trend where many parents in the East African region are sending their children to study in universities outside East Africa especially abroad.

According to Prof. Lyambabaje, there must be a reason for parents doing so.

He therefore called for universities to create confidence in parents and develop higher learning institutions to enable retain students in East African universities.


In addition to that Prof Lyambabaje sees the need for streamlining administration so that university teaching staff and professors feel valued and at the end being retained.

On preparation of pre-university students, Prof Lyambabaje compared secondary school leavers as industrial raw materials of universities who need proper preparation.

Citing an example of industrial products which involves different processes of production from first stage to the last which is an end product, Prof Lyambabaje urged the participants to look critically on how prepared are secondary school students which according to him are like raw materials for universities expecting to be processed to the end product which is the labour market.

Commenting on challenges facing public universities whose human resources are shifting to private universities, Prof. Lyambabaje suggested a dialogue between public and privates universities and working out strategies on how to share the best available human resources, since both public and private universities have the same goals of serving the Community.

The Executive Secretary assured the participants that IUCEA will continue setting aside some funds to support staff mobility in universities but he called for the universities and IUCEA to sit together and find out strategies for co-founding the staff mobility programme so that many universities benefit from that initiative.

Informing the participants on the progress made on the Eastern and Southern African Centres of Excellency (ACE II) project, which will serve as an incentive of students mobility within the region Prof. Lyambabaje revealed to the participants that, the World Bank has lent 140 million USD Dollars to Governments to establish Regional Centers of Excellency to the participating countries.

These countries are; Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania Uganda Zimbabwe and Zambia. Among the 24 established Centers of Excellency 15 are in the East African Partner States of which each country will receive 6 million USD to establish one center.


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