Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Higher Ed Trends that could shape UoM potential futures

Mauritius as a small island state can no longer ignore the trends that are influencing the global higher education sector and more importantly about how the landscape will look in 10 to 15 years ahead. At least three of the main strategic directions of the strategic plan 2015-2020 of the University depend on how these main trends will affect the global higher education landscape and impact on the achievement of key objectives laid out by the institution. The key strategic directions that are directly affected by these trends are internationalization, financial sustainability, and research excellence.  

Publicly funded Universities and Government Grant  

It is generally perceived that Government subsidies to African Higher Education Institutions are not sufficient to promote sustainable research and development activities (Kavuma 2011). In many African countries and beyond, Government are even cutting on subsidies. There are now growing concerns with respect to sustainability of these institutions and fears of decline in overall quality of educational provisions (Loh 2005; Kavuma 2011; Else 2016).  

Borderless Education and Transnational Education Provision & ICTs  

There are four types of transnational education provisions namely franchise, branch campus, joint offer of programmes and online delivery. Technology is now playing a significant role in the digitization era and has revolutionized transnational education provisions leaving however new challenges from the quality assurance and legal perspectives (Santally 2016).  

Merging of Universities  

A wave of university mergers has been experienced in Europe as these universities embark on increasing ranking, foster innovation and research to keep control on a bigger share of the higher education market. University mergers make competition tougher for smaller and less renowned institutions in the fight for sustainability and survival (Mitchell 2015).  

Global Higher Education Partnerships for Transnational Research

There is clear indication that research outputs from the north are among the most cited and impactful on academia and industry. Universities such as Makerere University, in the African region that partnered for research, development and publications with researchers in Europe experienced an improved university ranking and higher research impact scores (Daily Output 2015). Global research partnerships also improve the chances of attracting funding for high end and interdisciplinary research.

Public-Private Sector Partnerships through linking academia with industry   

Universities engaging in high-end R&D are those who have received huge funding to work on industry related problems, or those are able to commercialize their R&D activities with the private sector. A number of initiatives in the European region have been developed based on the 4P model of public, private, people & partnerships to promote open innovation such as Living Labs (Quesado 2016; Santally et al. 2014).  

Higher Education Demographics & Outbound Student Mobility shifting towards the East   

By 2020, it is projected that China, Malaysia and India will be among the top 10 host countries of internationally mobile students. By 2020, four countries (India, China, US and Indonesia) will account for over 50% of the 18-22 year old globally. The other quarter will come from Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Philippines and Mexico (British Council 2012).

Monday, 12 December 2016

An Evaluation of the African Leadership in ICT Programme from a Quality Assurance Perspective

This paper has just recently been published in the European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning. The abstract of the paper is reproduced below:

The aim of this paper is to present a comprehensive review of the African Leadership in ICT (ALICT-LATIC) course delivery model, offered by the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiatives (GESCI) from a quality assurance perspective taking into account the delivery model, cultural context, and the distributed nature of the programme and its participants, from a geographical perspective. In this paper, we look at the key concepts governing the ALICT-LATIC course, such as the provision of transnational education and blended learning provisions. Through a series of steps including desk studies, expert observation and the application of the eLearning Maturity Model, we conduct an evaluation of the eLearning provision from a quality assurance perspective. We can reasonably argue at this stage that the current blended learning model is conducive for the development of skills and competencies as expected in terms of intended outcomes and learner experience. The quality of the course is comparable to academic standards adopted by institutions of higher education through their internal and external quality mechanisms.

The full article can be read here 

I wish to place on record the contribution of the GESCI staff, with special mention to Mary Hooker for her invaluable suggestion and reviews to improve the work presented in this paper. I also wish to thank Roshan Halkhoree, my colleague from the University of Mauritius for his contribution in initial reviews of the work that was presented in this paper. Finally I thank the University of Mauritius for the support to this ongoing collaboration with GESCI.