Annual review 2021: Transforming higher education

Through the Transforming Employability for Social Change in East Africa (TESCEA) partnership, which finished at the end of 2021, 565 university teaching staff in Tanzania and Uganda developed their skills in transformative teaching and learning and can now support colleagues and scale change further across institutions. The project enabled new relationships to be forged between universities and their communities, business, and governments. As a result of TESCEA, 91% of academics trained now use gender-responsive pedagogy and 80% use critical thinking techniques in their teaching, leaving students better equipped with the skills they need for work and life beyond university. 

We also supported the Sierra Leone-led Assuring Quality Higher Education in Sierra Leone (AQHEd-SL) project by working alongside academics in Sierra Leone to develop training in critical thinking skills that is appropriate to the national context and enabling a community of local experts in critical thinking skills development to be established. We helped the Sierra Leone-led project create a repository of frameworks and resources to ensure sustainability.

Transforming Employability for Social Change in East Africa

A new approach from East Africa to transform teaching and learning

The end of the TESCEA project saw the launch of Transforming Higher Education for Social Change: a model from East Africa. This model is a rigorous methodology of pedagogy and curriculum redesign that supports lecturers to rethink their teaching and become facilitators of student-centred learning – helping students, both women and men, learn how to think, not what to think. The model provides complete toolkits for running workshops in programme alignment, transformative learning and course redesign, as well as online courses in course redesign and learning design. It also includes case studies and learning from the project.

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"It's unrealistic if someone goes and plans your entire process without you getting involved. Involving us as learners ... made me feel like I am valued, my opinion is valued."

Aine Desire, Student, Gulu University, Uganda

Assuring Quality Higher Education in Sierra Leone

Adapting online approaches to context: an example from Sierra Leone’s higher education

INASP supported the AQHEd-SL project in development of critical thinking skills, alongside partners within Sierra Leone. The pandemic disrupted delivery of this work and, alongside challenges with internet access and digital literacy, required adaption of online capacity development approaches to support ongoing teaching and learning.

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Like TESCEA, the AQHEd-SL project wanted to ensure sustainability of resources developed. INASP supported this by creating a repository of frameworks, training resources and learning resources. This blog post helps users to navigate the range of resources available.

Involvement in an Africa-led project as a supporting partner also provided INASP with an opportunity to learn about what it means to be effective partners and how to support other partners in the future.

"[A workshop on critical thinking] gave very practical things that lecturers could do to foster critical thinking skills in their students. And everybody who was part of a workshop at the beginning, they are still talking about the things that they learned two and a half years later; and I think that's a huge achievement in and of itself.”

AQHEd-SL project management

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