Co-operation in higher education between the African Union and the European Union is based partly on joint action between peers and partly co-operation on policy issues. In this context, particular attention is paid to higher education, “which plays a central role in the development of modern societies, enhancing social, cultural and economic development and training the leaders of tomorrow”. The EU's objectives aim to support partner countries outside the EU sharing on the approaches and solutions to problems found within EU. This is the case with the efforts in modernization and quality, as well as in the general trend to have degrees and studies recognized within regions which try to develop common goals and objectives.
The 2007 Joint Africa-EU Strategy and first Action Plan (2008-2010) emphasized the importance of cooperation with Africa in higher education to build high-quality tertiary capacity through networking, mobility of students and scholars, and institutional support and innovation.
The African Union Strategy for Harmonization has been endorsed by the Third Ordinary Session of the Conference of Ministers of Education (COMEDAF III), and Regional Economic Communities (RECs), relevant organizations at continental level, and regional associations of universities have been also identified as key players for the implementation of the harmonization process. In March 2008, a validation meeting was organized by the AAU, on behalf of and in collaboration with the AUC, to discuss and adopt an effective way towards implementing the African Union Harmonization Strategy; the Quality Rating Mechanism; and the revision of the Arusha Convention, a pledge to sustain the implementation of the processes and embark on aligning organizational activities in support of regional harmonization was made. In the Statement of Commitment of the Validation Meeting, it was agreed to raise awareness about the harmonization strategies; to facilitate interactions with relevant national bodies (quality assurance agencies, accreditation bodies, Ministries of Education, etc); and to share reports on progress made in the implementation of aligned activities. Participants also committed to formalize relationships; and streamline existing initiatives at the continental, regional, national, and institutional levels.
In December 2008 the Developing links Conference “EU Africa Cooperation in Higher Education through mobility” emphasized the need to revitalize and reform Higher Education in Africa and to do so in cooperation across national boundaries, to establish compatible structures and systems which would facilitate mobility within Africa as well as between Africa and Europe and other parts of the world.
In September 2009 following the conclusions of December 2008, the European Union, who like the African Union its strategic partner, wishes to promote improvements in the quality of higher education in Africa launched a feasibility study to investigate the appropriateness and the possible contribution which could be made by the Tuning project to the development of the different strategies developed by African authorities and experts. The intention was to contribute to the already identified need to revitalize and reform higher education in Africa and to do so in cooperation across national boundaries, to establish compatible structures and systems, which would facilitate mobility and higher education cooperation within Africa (through mobility schemes such as Nyerere) as well as between Africa and Europe and other parts of the world (through programmes such as Erasmus Mundus or Edulink). The feasibility study was a response to one of the recommendations from this Conference which was to consider how a project which would help to foster curriculum collaboration and understanding at subject level utilizing the experience of the Tuning Educational Structures in Europe and Latin America projects, could help to develop-mutual understanding and support the higher education component of the Second Decade for Education for Africa, the Harmonization Strategy for Higher Education and the work that is already underway in the framework of the revised Arusha Convention.
The African Higher Education system is undergoing a tremendous transformation process. This includes a number of national, regional and continental initiatives among which are the Nyerere mobility Scheme, the African Higher Education Harmonization and Quality Assurance programme, the Pan African University. However, at institutional level, reform is underway in all countries.
One transformation initiative which links institutional, national, regional, continental and international endeavours is the African Higher Education Harmonization and Tuning Project (Tuning Africa), which is part of the Africa-EU strategic partnership. This uses an internationally established methodology to enhance degree comparability, graduate mobility and employability.
Tuning is a collaborative, consultative process involving academics working in subject groups with employers and other stakeholders in curriculum development to enhance student competences. Tuning projects in higher education have been successfully completed in over sixty countries around the world. Tuning projects help to:
Tuning Africa I run over 18 months. There were 5 subject areas opened to all African degree-awarding higher education institutions but each led by a region as defined in the Feasibility Study report of April 2011:
To further strengthen the cooperation between EU and African Higher Education Areas.
To address and contribute to the key features of the African Higher Education Harmonization Strategy.
To enable closer ties between higher education policy makers in the African Union and the European Union.
5 seminars, following each of the steps of Tuning methodology and in closed dialogue with African Higher Education Harmonization Strategy.
The development of conceptual frameworks for the five thematic fields involved.
A series of materials and tools will be made available to the pilot institutions and in some cases will be developed further by them to suit the African context.
The development of a hub in each of the five sub-regions in Africa for one of the thematic areas .
A set of open networks to facilitate the pan - African spirit, thus each of these networks will be opened to representatives from each of the other regions.
Incorporation of distant learning into the Tuning system as a pioneering experience.
Designed and developed degree programmes for the five thematic areas involved with the following characteristics:
A set of reference points for generic competences
5 conceptual framework according to the areas selected together with 5 academic and professional profiles for each of the subject areas (at first, second and third cycle level)
A methodology for consulting relevant social groups in order to bridge the gap between social needs and higher education
60 champions trained in the design and implementation of degree programmes focused on competences and centred in student learning and concentrated in five thematic fields and from a number of selected HE Institutions.
First General Meeting in Yaoundé - Cameroon , booklet
23/01/2012 to 25/01/2012
Second General Meeting in Cape Town – South Africa, booklet
15/05/2012 to 17/05/2012
(Joint Meeting with other national and regional projects)
20/11/2012 to 22/11/2012
23/01/2013 to 25/01/2013
Julia María GONZALEZ FERRERAS
Co-coordinator Tuning project, Universidad de Deusto
Co-coordinator Tuning project, University of Groningen
Mahmoud BENALI ABDELLAH
Charles AWONO ONANA
Karola Katherine HAHN
Rotimi Joshua OGIDAN
Hanneke VAN BRUGGEN
Universidad de Deusto, Spain
María ORTIZ-CORONADO LÓPEZ
Universidad de Deusto, Spain
Bruno KAIMWA MANENO
Universidad de Deusto, Spain
Guillaume Lucien AMADJI
University of Abomey-Calavi
Université du Burundi
Université de Dschang
Samuel Kwamw OFFEI
University of Ghana
Taky Hortense ATTA EPSE DIALLO
Alexander Kigunzu KAHI
University of Mauritius
University of Agriculture
University of Ilorin
Tshwane University of Technology
Université Mouloud Mammeri de Tizi Ouzou
University of Botswana
Université de Douala
Lutimba Hubert MAKENGO
Universitè de Kinshasa
Addis Ababa University, AAiT
Stanley Muse SHITOTE
Karin JANSEN VAN RENSBURG
University of Pretoria
James JanthanaBango TUKARI
Ignas Aloys RUBARATUKA
University of Dar Es Salaam
University of Buea
Hani Adbelsattar Mohamed FARAG
Birhane Sime GERESSU
Adama Science and Technology University
Université Omar Bongo
Stanley Gathogo MUKURIA
Eugenia Flora Rosa COSSA
University Eduardo Mondlane
Charmaine Benite VILLET
University of Namibia
National Open University of Nigeria
Mugagga Anthony MUWAGGA
University of Zimbabwe
Universite de Yaounde I
Université de Bangui
Léonard KABEYA MUKEBA
Institut Supérieur de Techniques Appliquées de Kinshasa
Mohamed Mohamed MEGAHED ELNENI
SamueL Mensah SACKEY
Kwame Nkirumah University of Science and Technology
Moses PheniasMngwapa CHINYAMA
The Politechnic, University of Malawi
École Nationale d’Ingénieurs de Tunis, ENIT
Nawaz Mohamed MAHOMED
Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Jean Rosaire IBARA
Université Marien Ngouabi
Ahmed Magdy Ibrahim A. EL GOHARY
Suez Canal University
Loko Abraham BONGASSIE
Charles Odero OMWANDHO
University of Nairobi
Université Cadi Ayyad de Marrakech
Olusegun Olusina AKINYINKA
University of Ibadan
Université Cheikh Anta Diop
University of Cape Town
University of Monastir