British Council, the National Universities Commission of Nigeria and the African Network for Internationalisation of Education (ANIE) held a joint international conference under the theme “Internationalisation of Higher Education in Africa: Where to Focus Funding and Create Real Impact”.
The conference was held in Abuja, Nigeria in October 2011. The conference was organised as a policy dialogue which brought together policy makers, researchers, diplomats and other stakeholders together to examine the global trends of internationalisation, the place of Africa in the unfolding development, critically appraise the gaps and recommend strategic areas of focus for capacity building and priority funding.
The objectives of the conference were to:
1. increase awareness of the role international higher education partnerships can play in Africa’s development;
2. increase understanding of how universities can work together to support the internationalisation of higher education agenda in Africa;
3. identify areas of weakness and potential for donor and African governments to support towards the development and improvement of higher education sector in Africa.
The Conference was attended by 136 participants from 15 African countries and the United Kingdom. There were representatives from the African Union Commission, Association of African Universities (AAU), ADEA Working Group on Higher Education, ECOWAS and Foreign Missions based in Abuja.
The Conference was organized in six plenary sessions comprising the opening and closing sessions and three break-out sessions. Twenty four technical papers were delivered by distinguished scholars, experts, top research scientists on the theme of the Conference. All the papers effectively highlighted various dimensions of internationalisation of higher education in Africa with specific focus on staff development, ICT infrastructural development and capacity building for research and innovation.
Some recommendations from the Abuja conference were:
1. At the institutional level, African higher education institutions should develop strategies for promoting internationalization through the following; improving their curriculum with international themes, develop their classrooms to international standards, promote international students and staff exchanges.
2. Africa should showcase its higher education system through periodic Higher Education Fairs where institutions exhibit elements of their delivery system that can foster international linkages and partnerships.
3. In order to create impact through staff development and development of new generation of African scholars
4. Create impact through ICT for teaching, learning and research.