March 2021, Kigali, Rwanda – The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB) co-hosted a technical meeting on curriculum development for the African Union Governance Campus. The African Union Governance Campus is a set of governance development training programmes that is being developed in collaboration with the Pan African University.
It is envisioned that the programmes of the African Union Governance Campus will offer African-conceived and African-delivered modular programmes at post-graduate levels. The programmes will be delivered in two streams: an academic stream and an executive stream. To facilitate its delivery virtually and physically, the AU Governance Campus will have regional partner institutions across the continent, representing each of the six (6) AU regions (Central, East, North, South, West, and the Diaspora).
In seeking to develop a curriculum outline for the African Union Governance Campus, the APRM and RGB engaged governance experts and curriculum development specialists to advise on possible avenues for content, design, and delivery of the programmes.
In his opening remarks, Dr. McBride Nkhalamba, Head of Research, Methodology and Development at the APRM Continental Secretariat noted that the development of the AU Governance Campus has been necessitated by, among others, the need for a common understanding of governance that is defined by Africans for Africa. He noted that the AU Governance Campus would be driven by a consortium comprising schools of governance, African schools of government, universities, think tanks, and research institutions, working together to ensure the governance development training programmes are aligned with the values espoused by the AU.
The Deputy CEO of RGB, Dr Emmanuel Nibishaka, highlighted that the AU Governance Campus would be essential to ensure accessibility to governance programmes that are tailored to African needs. He noted that the programmes would be useful to public servants across Africa. Furthermore, the Campus would enable the promotion of home-grown African solutions.
Prof. Elizabeth Abenga, Director of the Pan African University’s Institute of Governance, Humanities, and Social Sciences (PAUGHSS) stated that as the main partner institution for the development of the AU Governance Campus, PAUGHSS is one of five Institutes of the Pan-African University. She then outlined the noteworthy programme delivery structure of PAUGHSS. Prof Abenga concluded by highlighting that as efficiently and effectively as possible, the APRM and PAUGHSS welcome the interventions and recommendations of all experts in attendance, towards developing the AU Governance Campus.
Over 30 experts participated in the three-day meeting, which was held in hybrid format (virtually and physically). These included representatives from the Association of African Universities (AAU), the Harmonization of African Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation (HAQAA), the Institute of Research and Dialogue for Peace (IRDP), the National Institute of Governance and Sustainable Development of Egypt, the National Council for Quality Assurance in Higher Education and the Supreme Public Administration Institute of Mozambique, Makerere University, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Center for Africa, the University of Cape Town, the University of Dar es Salaam, the University of the Free State, the University of Kigali, the University of Nairobi, the University of Nigeria, the University of Rwanda, and the University of the Witwatersrand.
Prof. Fayth Ruffin, the African Union Governance Campus (AUGC) Technical Advisor, commenced the rigorous discussions by providing an overview of the approach taken for the formative study of the AUGC. She also offered a comprehensive presentation of the proposed curricula development and delivery.
Subsequently, the meeting deliberated on various issues relating to curriculum development. The following key outcomes and recommendations were made:
- Existing governance training institutions, programmes and frameworks shall be engaged to ensure harmonization of the AUGC with related initiatives on the continent. This will include involvement of African quality assurance and accreditation bodies.
- The curricula of the AUGC shall be informed by a definition of governance that is rooted in African epistemologies, ideologies, and traditional African values.
- The programmes of the AUGC shall be inclusive and interdisciplinary.
- The AUGC must aim to produce applied knowledge and governance assessment tools tailored to the African context. Gaps in governance research and implementation must be addressed by capturing both public and private aspects to facilitate improved governance analyses.
- A selection body comprising broad and inclusive participation shall be established for the election of regional partner institutions of the AUGC. Consequently, the phased selection process of country university partners and governments will be informed by consensus and regional balance.
The meeting agreed that a continental network of governance institutions shall be created to function as a repository of governance research, as well as a database of governance academics and practitioners. The participants of the technical meeting will form part of the network to be engaged further on the development and implementation of the AUGC.
The APRM is an autonomous entity of the African Union (AU) with the mandate to ensure that the policies and practices of participating member-states are in conformity with the agreed political, economic, corporate governance and socio-economic values, codes, and standards of the AU. The RGB is an independent state agency mandated to promote the principles of good governance across public and private sectors, as well as in civil society organisations. The Pan African University, a flagship institution of the AU, is an academic network of existing African institutions operating at graduate level.