IICBA Participated in a Roundtable Discussion on Higher Education Leadership

UNESCO-IICBA, represented by Dr. Temechegn Engida, participated as a panelist, at the high-level symposium on higher education leadership in Addis Ababa on 20 April 2017. About 150 presidents and vice presidents of higher education institutions in Ethiopia attended this meeting.  The panel discussion focused on "Research, Innovation and Funding: The Role of Leadership" and was moderated by Prof. Damtew Teferra (South Africa). The panelists were Dr. Beatrice Njenga (AUC), Prof. Cay Etzold (DAAD), Prof. N V Varghese, (India), Prof. Ahmed El-Gohary (Egypt), Prof. Stephen Njoka (Kenya) and Dr. Temechegn Engida (UNESCO-IICBA).

The discussion points hovered around the question of what ought to be the role of these leaders in generating external funding to enhancing quality and building research capacity of their institutions.

Dr. Temechegn Engida, after briefly introducing IICBA and its mandate on teacher development as a part of higher education system in Africa, argued that today’s educational leaders need to engage in a new model of leadership that borrows from the tech companies. He stressed, referring to Jeff Bozos’ (founder of Amazon) call to tech industry leaders, that in a situation of limited resources for research and innovation, higher education leaders need to think of themselves not as designers but as gardeners. Garners must know when and what to plant but they do not control growth. In this relation, he also raised the mushrooming of MOOCs by top ranking universities who can afford offering free courses. The leaders in smaller HEIs need to be innovative to sustain their business.

During the question and answer session, Temechegn highlighted IICBA’s intervention on improving leadership through conducting a Deans’ Forum for leaders drawn from teacher education colleges of various African countries.  IICBA is planning to extend this forum to include university leader through a south-south cooperation. He also stressed that for HEI leaders to generate funding for research, they must take into account the contemporary research agenda of the funders, the networking capacity/strength of the universities, the results-based and high-impact nature of the research agenda, the strong link between the universities and policy-makers, and the sustainability of the innovation.