Strategic Partnerships, Capacity Development and Science Policy Dialogues
The section “Strategic partnerships, Capacity Development and Science Policy Dialogues” supports the development of research and science based policy programmes and explores innovative pathways to advance capacity development with a special focus on e-learning and knowledge management in higher education context in developing countries.
Following the strategic directions of the UNU Vice Rectorate, the section contributes to the goal of the ViE to initiate, support, and co-ordinate projects aiming at the development of capacity building and knowledge transfer. The work of the section has a regional focus on Africa and Russia.
Our fields of work:
- Internationalisation and Science Policy Dialogues
- Capacity Building and eLearning
Internationalisation and Science Policy Dialogues
Science for Sustainability
The globalisation of the world’s economy and the intensification of cross border exchanges is leading many countries to internationalize their national science policy plans. Integrating the international perspective becomes an imperative – as it is the case for the German Federal Government who recently launched the internationalization strategy of science and research.
International Guest Speaker at ViE
In cooperation with UNU-EHS the Vice Rectorate invited Prof. Nodari Simonia to talk about the global energy demand at the UNU campus in Bonn. The Russian scientist of the Russian Academy of Sciences presented his appeal for a new approach to meet the global energy demand in his lecture on [[article: 837 | “Energy Security in the East-West context”]].
UNU-ViE expertise and network has been conducive in supporting this internationalization effort of the German Federal Government in a project called “Dialogue for Sustainability (D4S): Science for Sustainable Solutions – Science for Sustainability.”
Since the beginning of 2008, five bilateral science policy dialogues have been initiated to enhance academic excellence in the field of sustainability science and competences to serve as agents of change and innovation with important emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Our section is facilitating two of those bilateral science policy dialogues to advance science for sustainability (Germany-Russia and Germany-South Africa). Our team expertise is put to the service of this project to identify topics that are of mutual interest for the partner countries, provide input to the concepts and programmes of the scientific expert meetings, support the moderation processes, and develop final reports and recommendations.
Including the international perspective in sustainability strategies makes an important contribution to the urgently needed progress towards reaching the UN Millennium Development Goals. Our section was invited to contribute to the FONA on 23-25 September 2008 to coordinate the input of the group of invited international observers to ensure that recommendations from the developing world’s perspective were given a substantial voice.
Science, Technology, Higher Education and Innovation
In October 2007, the section co-organized a high level expert meeting in Berlin to support a dialogue process between the G8 countries and the African Ministerial Conference On Science and Technology (AMCOST) to advance the mainstreaming of the African Consolidated Plan of Action for Science and Technology. In order to facilitate the process, we also convened a meeting of all African ambassadors in Berlin so as to inform and prepare the participants of the scientific issues at stake.
As a follow up of the AMCOST-G8 expert meeting, UNU-ViE attended the third AMCOST conference which took place in Mombasa, Kenya, in November 2007 and provided a strategic concept note to the BMBF to recommend ways of action and evaluate the possible implication of the Ministry to further strengthen the implementation of Africa’s Consolidated Plan of Action for Science and Technology.
The section took actively part in the fourth edition of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) collaborating with UNU Headquarters and UNU-IAS in this high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and their partners and to mobilize support for African-owned development initiatives.
Science, Higher Education and Innovation Policy Forum
The promotion of Science, Technology, Innovation and Higher Education (STI&HE) in the national development policies and strategies and the advancement of these fields as a lever for socio-economic development in the sub-region of South Eastern Europe have been recognized as a priority. The section was invited to contribute to the Science, Higher Education and Innovation policy forum and contributed to the South Eastern European Forum and high level roundtable, together with Parliamentary Committees for Science and Education, representatives from universities, academies, research centres and funding agencies in Montenegro (1-3 July 2008). A final communiqué endorsed by the ministers present as well as the European Commissioner for Science and Research, holds key strategic recommendations to ensure greater sub-regional and international cooperation in science and technology as essential means to meet global challenges and to promote peace and dialogue in South Eastern Europe.
Capacity Building Through E-Learning
The work of the section addresses the severe limitation in access to and outreach of higher educational programmes in Africa. Today there is no more doubt about the role of educational technologies as a means to enable Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to increase the outreach and the quality of their programmes significantly. Our effort concentrates on strengthening capacities, both at institutional and individual level in a higher education context and promoting knowledge creation and sharing in state-of-the art educational technologies and innovative practices with a special emphasis on Africa.
E-learning and Higher Education in Africa
When it comes to education, developing countries face various structural challenges. Students often encounter difficulties in accessing learning material resources. Textbooks are often rare and expensive, not always up-to-date. Students and teachers have to work with limited means to acquire textbooks and learning materials. Another obstacle to education can be the lack of infrastructure, especially in rural areas. E-learning can help to overcome physical distance and open up new opportunities for students in rural areas who have difficulties to attend classes on campus.
===== E-Learning for Integrated Watershed Management =====
[[image:#928.jpg||float:right; width: 140]] The project E-Learning for Integrated Watershed Management aims at introducing e-learning into the teaching and learning practices in East African universities in the area of [[article:693|Watershed Management Education]]. A Participative approach is at the heart of this project. African and international experts will take part in six workshops in the course of the project to build a common knowledge base, set up regional networks, and develop their own tailor made e-learning solutions in their respective universities. The roadmap for the next three years is being developed in close collaboration with the participants. Ensuring the participants’ full engagement at each stage of the project, the organisers hope to be able to build a community of East African experts in the field of Integrated Watershed Management and to foster innovative transboundary cooperation. The first workshop took place on July 12-17 in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, and a first collaborative e-learning platform was created using a [[http://e-iwm.wikispaces.com|wiki]]. More Information: [[http://bk-sv.fb10.uni-siegen.de/web/waterfacility|University of Siegen, Germany]].
===== E-Learning laboratory at the University of Yaoundé I (Cameroon) =====
[[image:#927.jpg||float:right; width: 140]] An institutional collaboration has started between University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon and the United Nations University. The university management, faced by structural challenges due to rapid increase in student number and aware of the potentials of e-learning, decided to elaborate a plan of action to improve the access and quality of its academic programmes. The project leader, Prof. Mama Foupouagnigni together with a multi-disciplinary team of dedicated professors and support staff is elaborating a strategic plan to deploy e-learning at the University. A first pilot phase is planned to create the e-learning centre and produce five e-learning course modules. UNU-ViE supports this project and invited [[http://www.mathematik.uni-kassel.de/~foupoua|Prof. Foupouagnigni]] to stay as a visiting professor for two months to gain expertise by working with UNU-ViE e-learning expert, elaborate the plan and meet with different German university experts and donors (Humboldt Foundation, DAAD, private companies). The future phase includes capacity building of the e-learning team, to host the e-learning centre and produce the first patch of content, leverage of additional resources, and mainstreaming of e-learning practices at a larger scope at the university. <nowiki><a name="QUAL"></a></nowiki>
===== Quality in E-Learning =====
Concern about the quality of higher education is on the rise in developing countries. It comes at a time of growing recognition of the potentially powerful role of tertiary education for growth, and it is a natural response to public perception that educational quality is being compromised in the effort to expand enrolment in recent years; growing complaints by employers that graduates are poorly prepared for the workplace; and increasing competition in the higher education market place as numerous private and transnational providers enter the scene.
====== E-learning for Capacity Building Quality Check ======
As member of the international advisory board of the Open ECB check initiative, together with a consortium of leading development organisations the section contributes to establish the international Quality Certificate for E-learning in Capacity Building. This accreditation and quality improvement scheme aims at supporting capacity building organisations to measure how successful their e-learning programmes are and allows for continuous improvement though peer collaboration and benchlearning.
Enhancing capacity building activities through e-learning requires a coordinated effort to leverage current capabilities, identify new opportunities and pool resources.
======= Activities =======
===== E-Learning Strategy ===== Initial experiences and existing expertise available within a networked organisation like UNU can be built upon to elaborate a holistic UNU capacity building service portfolio to develop, implement and improve innovative capacity building methodologies using e-learning and ICT and to disseminate them effectively. By convening a strategic workshop on [[article:814|“Innovative Capacity Development Through E-learning with a Special Focus on Africa”]] from 26-27 November 2008 at the UN Campus Bonn, Germany, in collaboration with the UNU headquarters and the UNU Online Media Studio, the section makes a decisive effort to bring together all UNU Research and Training Centres and Programmes concerned with e-learning worldwide to build a UNU consolidated strategic approach to e-learning for capacity building.
===== UN E-Learning Workshop =====
Various UN bodies are engaged in collaborative projects that involve the application of technology-supported learning, including Web 2.0 technologies and e-learning tools. At [[http://www.online-educa.com/programme|ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN]], this year UNEP, in collaboration with UNU, FAO, UNITAR, UNHCR, UN Staff College and other UN agencies, organized a one-day pre-conference workshop on 3 December 2008 in Berlin. The workshop brought together e-learning managers and specialists from across the UN system to share information and experience in the use of technology-supported learning. In a presentation and discussion session on “Technology-Supported Learning in the UN System” some outputs from the pre-conference workshop organised by UNEP for specialists active in UN agencies and programmes were highlighted.
===== UNU Africa Strategy ===== The United Nations University plays a strategic role in Africa as a facilitator of dialogue, a capacity builder, a provider of postgraduate training, and a promoter of innovation. UNU-ViE is contributing to the drafting of the UNU wide Africa strategy to contribute to the integrated objectives of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) as well as to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals on the African continent. UNU activities in and on Africa aim to foster knowledge creation with a strong emphasis on home-grown and participatory “made-to-fit” solutions linked to UNU’s continuing efforts to promote endogenous capacity development. More Information: [[http://www.unu.edu/africa]]