Viewing 12 posts - 46 through 57 (of 57 total)
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    Loide N. Shifula

    I am Loide N. Shifula from Namibia.
    First and foremost I would like to commend and support the idea of learning through projects, as advocated by Prof Altagracia Cuevas. My thoughts are for this model to be implemented at all universities’ faculties and schools, as it will help address most issues that are raised and are taken to be imperative in the learning and teaching for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Project Based Learning (as we refer to it in the School of Education – University of Namibia) is a pedagogical model that enhance educational aspects such as inquiry techniques, students learn to work collaboratively with others, as well asemploying digital and other technologies. All these are part of developing 21st Century skills: collaboration, communication, problem solving, critical thinking and innovation.

    Prof Charmaine Villet and Prof Ramon Torrent have outstandingly unpack the notion of teaching and learning; and I would like to (in principle) agree on the following aspects:
    1. Programmes are varied, in the sense that, every field of study encompass unique forms of teaching and learning / learning and teaching. This also applies to specific modules.
    2. A good lecturer should be a guider, helper and facilitator in the course of helping students to acquire knowledge and skills.
    3. African universities should work on mechanisms of instilling in students motivation, rigourness and self-discipline. Students should be willing to learn! (A 1st semester module for all freshmen on how to learn, probably?). Motivate the culture of READING!
    4. The use of tutors to break down the content taught by the lecturer should be embrased.

    Moreover, I move that we need to design a project or study that will enable the HAQAA programme get empirical data from much bigger audience, from public and private universities across Africa. This will give a picture of the reality on the ground (from different African regions). We are ready!

    Akombaetwa Nakamwi

    Hi, this is Nakamwi,
    Indeed the critical role that change in curriculum structure and implementation in achieving the ‘Africa we want’ cannot be over emphasized. A complete overhaul would require a lot of resources both in infrastructure and staff training and as such cannot be achieved in a short time. I think that the low laying fruits include expansion of the Universities role in community service. Closer collaboration between HEI, industry and community in solving problems as they unfold present an opportunity for students in learn-by-doing. Drawing from Professor Cuevas’ presentation, that sort of approach gives students an opportunity to develop soft skills and enhance collaboration even across various disciplines. For example during a disease outbreak, contributions towards possible lasting solutions would require the input from more than one discipline. Health scientist will study the causative organism, how diseases progresses, therapeutic interventions and patient management while social scientists will focus on human behavior contributing to disease spread, the social and economic impact, policy development and public education thereby providing a holistic approach.
    Without making my response too wordy, I believe collaboration across disciplines in universities while actively involving students in understanding national crisis and making recommendations for possible solutions could be an attainable start to changing the content-mastery approach of educating the next generation.

    Ibrahim Amidou

    I have watched the videos and download the essays and read them. Upon reading, the 2 essays, and the PPP by Prof. Villet, I have realized that most of the questions posed by Professor Oyewole can find some answers in these essays especially in the essay by Dr. Villet. These answers to revamping AHEIs curricula on teaching and learning to meet the current needs of the learners and those of the communities they thrive in can nevertheless be easily challenged due to the nature of AHEIs objectives set by AUC, which is to create the “Africa we want” by 2063. Following are possible answers to Pro. Oyewole’s questions:
    1. What are the demerits of the current approach to teaching and learning in Africa?
    To name a few:
    – The curricula are outdated and not aligned with the needs of the modern society and workforce. In fact, most AHEIs have dwelled on their reactive curricula created after the independence as a way to promote Pan-Africanism and “africanize” education or de-colonize it. As a result, there is a gap between the skills students acquire at the end of their University education and the skills needed in their communities and the employers.
    – Lack of resources is another hindrance. Many universities lack basic resources such textbooks, teaching materials, and technology. I vividly remember during my formative years at the Université du Benin, now Univerité de Lomé, we had one small library which was always crowded, very limited number of books to borrow if any that matched our courses. We relied on our note-takings from our lecturers to study and scavenge different embassies libraries for books that could help us. We did not have access to any computers for any research at all because their was none.
    – Classrooms are crowded in AHEIs which mass-produce graduates who are either “unemployed” or “unemployable” to borrow Prof Villet’s for the terms, for the reason mentioned above in my first point pertaining to the curriculum.
    – Teacher quality is a serious matter. Most senior professor retire without adequately training younger generation of lecturers to replace them.
    2. What new approach is being proposed to teaching and learning in Africa?
    The new approach may include the following:
    – Integration of technology as part and parcel in the AHEIs curricula to foster teaching and learning.
    – This first point can be used to develop project-based learning which emphasizes hands-on experience as Prof. Cuevas illustrated in her video, as well as Prof Villet who reiterates this aspect of learning which affords the learners to “co-create new knowledge/s, rather than simply absorb knowledge given to them by a teacher”(page 7).
    – All the while, learners must be given ample opportunities to engage with the communities they thrive in through the AHEIs partnerships. Students will then be exposed to the world outside the classroom, gain practical experience and ready to serve their communities. This in return will help accommodate adults seeking life-long education join the institutions, making education thus more inclusive both socially and economically.
    3. What are the benefits of the new approach to teaching and learning?
    – One benefit of the new approach to teaching and learning in Africa would be the access to the improved educational resources. Integration of technology and online learning platforms would expand access to educational materials. Prof Villet advocates for ” Transforming university curriculum to respond to local and global challenges” which “also require an intense look
    into the structural adjustments universities need to make to support curriculum practices and processes for
    transformation of higher education” to meet the “harmonization and the strengthening of the quality of higher education” the AU calls for (page 9).
    – Another benefit would be the enhancement of teacher quality. New teaching methodologies and professional development would improve the quality and effectiveness of the professor and thus benefit student learning. In fact, some of the new approach to professor is student-centered and the professor is seen as learner as well for he/she, based on the new pedagogical approach is open to unlearn and relearn to integrate the new methods. Prof. Villet puts it this way: “The main premise of transformative mindset is the idea that “learners” who are obtaining new knowledge/information evaluate their past ideas and understanding, and through critical reflection and discourse shift
    their worldviews and perceptions to support their new learning and meaning-making” (page 9).
    4. What will it take to re-calibrate African professors and learners for the new approach to teaching and learning in Africa?
    – The second point I made in question 3 is valid here. Professional development of the professors and their ability to adapt to the exigencies of the new technology to integrate in teaching while learning at the same time.
    – Learning requires professors to play a supporting/facilitation role rather than indoctrinating their students. To that effect, teaching must be student-centered and students mus be encouraged in completing project-based assignment which will give them opportunity to explore and practice problem-solving they will need in their professional lives.
    5. How can we further promote life-long learning in Africa?
    We need to:
    – Intentionally promote the culture of learning within our communities by valuing education, self-improvement and celebrating individuals within the communities for their achievements.
    – Support non-formal learning initiatives for this to become a reality. Life-long learners do not have to sit in a formal classroom to get their education. AHEIs, through their engagement with the communities must go to them by organizing workshops, informal meetings to educate them on specific issues relevant to their livelihoods and mainly bring them to the age of technology. Villet addresses this aspect of learning which must be taken into account while AHEIs are designing the new curricula as follows: “The curriculum is organized around significant local and global problems and issues that are collaboratively identified without regard for subject area boundaries, to encourage cross-curricular application of subject discipline knowledge that come to bear on the identified problem. It encourages lifelong learning and the building of learning communities.” (page 10)
    6. What roles do digitization have to play in the new approach to teaching and learning in Africa?
    – I have tackled this issue in my previous answers and as obvious as it is, the world has embarked on the road of no-return of digitization following an ever-growing and massive usage of new technology African cannot afford to stay out if its HEIs were to improve and be more competitive in this modern world. We have talked about technology integration which can help AHEIs meet the challenges of quality and effective education that is harmonized.
    – Digitization will facilitate collaboration between different regional and continental HEIs whereby they share resources for the betterment of their learners. It also helps personalized learning, or other word custom-design courses for specific skills set acquisition that is marketable. Additionally, it provides an interactive learning experience for the learners and facilitates project based assignments and hands-on experience with the ability to problem solve.
    7. What is the current approach to teaching and learning in Africa?
    Currently, the teaching and learning approach in Africa is teacher-centered for most of the HEIs. The professor comes in, delivers his lecture based on his own research and exits the classroom with minimal, or if not none interactions with the learners who are left to fend for themselves and try to regurgitate what the professor just spilled in the classroom, hoping to reproduce the professor’s exact wordings the day of the tests/exams, pass and accumulate necessary credits for their diploma. The approach is thus examination-centric focused on memorization of lessons learned rather problem-solving and hands-on experiential learning.

    Akombaetwa Nakamwi

    Hello Keita,
    My sentiments resonate with yours on collaboration across disciplines, holistic approaches in my opinion would yield more lasting solutions to the challenges we continue to face as a continent. However this approach should begin with the university staff themselves before it can trickle down to the students which them begs the question: how is this critical mass of collaboration-appreciating-academicians being formed and how will its growth be assured?

    Akombaetwa Nakamwi

    Dear Mercy
    I like what you said about ‘the change in AHE begins with me’. There are many approaches to enhancing learning for our students and indeed ourselves, open-mindedness is critical. These presentations and the reading materials have really been insightful and in one way or another have presented that each of us is capable of contributing to the Africa we want.

    Ibrahim Amidou

    I agree with your analysis regarding the synergy between learning and teaching and vice-versa. We all know as professors that each semester that you teach, you end the semester learning something new about yourself as the professor, and about your approach to teaching. Personally, this has been my experience for several years, leading me to adopt a strategy which has worked for me. At the beginning of each semester, I do not fail to assure my students that it is true I stand in front of them as their professor to teach them but in reality, they teach me more than I teach them. This helps establish a good rapport with them. Some of course, are surprised to hear me say that, but explain to them using a simple mathematical fact to start which is: I am one person, one-brain and there is many of them, and that they come from different racial, cultural and religious backgrounds, and it’s just me. And throughout the semester, some of the teaching approach I use to explain specific French grammatical skills may not work for some learners. I have to learn different ways to get these students understand the lesson, increase their class participation, and thus do well during the tests. There are several instances of such happenings and at the end of the semester, I realize a change in me. I feel good about myself for being malleable and not insisting on using tools that did work for those students.

    Ibrahim Amidou

    Prof Nakamwi,
    It is very realistic for AHEIs to start with the “low-hanging fruits” as you put it. We all know the funding problematic for education when it comes to our HEIs in Africa, coupled with corruptions. Nonetheless, proposal goes along the lines of what Dr. Villet suggested. But my question to you (and you have actually raised the problem in your post) is how are these African universities going to collaborate amongst themselves? If we have infrastructure (technological here) issues, what would be the means by which to collaborate for the benefit of the learners and teachers? Thanks.
    Ibrahim Amidou

    Basiru Mbenga

    Dear Ibrahim Amidou,

    Thank you for agreeing with my synergy between teaching and learning. You understand where I am coming from. People have diverging opinion which brings about various ‘schools of thought especially in principles of education and other realms of study.’ I still believe that teaching and learning are inseparable sine qua non. Learning is a relative lasting modification of behaviour as a result of experience; and an innate behaviourable mechanism of an individual under the influence of his/her external environments.

    Thanks for for your analogies too.

    Warmest regards.


    Lina Elias Salomao

    The 4th HAQAA Policy Brief underscores the critical need for a fresh perspective on teaching and learning, moving beyond the conventional dichotomy of “teaching-and-learning” and “learning-and-teaching.” Instead, it emphasizes a more profound consideration: “what teaching for what learning.” This perspective becomes particularly pertinent in the context of higher education, where the expectations for graduates extend beyond the mere acquisition of knowledge to the development of both generic and specific skills.
    The argument for a reevaluation of teaching approaches is substantiated by the challenges observed in student-centered learning, as highlighted by the experiences of a Psych pedagogy teacher. Despite the emphasis on student-centered learning at institutions like Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique (EMU) and others globally, gaps emerge in students’ abilities to understand, express ideas, establish relationships between concepts, and translate theory into practice. This prompts reflection on the dialectical and developmental aspects of education.
    The teaching agenda, as articulated by Sprinthall & Sprinthall (1993), focuses on the student, teacher, content, and teaching methods. Considering these aspects, attention is drawn to the state of primary and secondary education in Mozambique, characterized by poor quality. The flaws in the education system, particularly the semi-automatic passages in the curriculum plan of basic education (PCEB), contribute to the approval of students lacking the knowledge and competences required by the curriculum, potentially affecting their readiness for higher education.
    The question of who the student is in higher education becomes a pivotal concern in the context of “what teaching for what learning.” It necessitates an examination of teachers’ attitudes toward learning, students, oneself, and the understanding of research as a tool for improving teaching practices. The adoption of a Student-Centred Learning (SCL) approach, which places the learner at the center from a constructivist perspective, signifies a commitment to active and engaged learning, recognizing that knowledge is not passively received but actively constructed.
    In conclusion, the argument supports the idea that a reevaluation of teaching approaches, considering the specific needs and challenges of students, is crucial for enhancing the quality of education, especially in the higher education context. Embracing a “what teaching for what learning” mindset encourages a nuanced understanding of the dynamic relationship between teaching and learning, ultimately contributing to the holistic development of students and the improvement of education systems.

    Ramon Torrent



    I have collated all the posts to the Forum, which seem to me extremely interesting and orientative for our future work. I’ll think on whether and how to bring this material, in full or summarized, to your attention and that of the whole set of HAQAA stakeholders.

    We keep in close touch. Warm regards to all of you.

    Ramon Torrent


    Dear Colleagues

    My name is Boitshoko Otlhomile.

    I work as a Writing Specialist at Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST). I am also a certified online educator and instructional designer. I have a Master of Education in Instructional Technology from the University of Zambia. I am pursuing a PhD in Education, and my research is in the application of technology in education.

    I have listened to the videos, and I can say that they provide important, insightful information on various educational issues and how they can be effectively addressed. I would like to draw your attention to the questions raised by Oyewole. Most colleagues have also shared their views on the information shared through the videos and other materials.

    In this discussion, I will attempt to share my views on the questions raised by Prof. Oyewole:

    1. Current Approach to Teaching and Learning in Africa:
    I believe that the current approach to teaching and learning in Africa varies across countries due to the continent’s diversity. However, some common features include traditional classroom-based instruction, teacher-centered methods, and a reliance on memorization. Challenges such as inadequate infrastructure, limited access to quality education, and socioeconomic disparities also impact the effectiveness of education systems in many African countries.

    2. Demerits of the Current Approach:
    The demerits of the current approach include a lack of emphasis on critical thinking, creativity, and practical skills development. Rote memorization often takes precedence over understanding, and there can be a disconnect between the curriculum and the needs of the job market. Additionally, issues like overcrowded classrooms, insufficient resources, and teacher shortages contribute to a suboptimal learning environment.

    3. Proposed New Approach to Teaching and Learning in Africa:
    There is a growing recognition of the need for a more student-centered and holistic approach to education in Africa. This includes integrating technology, promoting experiential learning, and incorporating skills that are relevant to the 21st-century job market. Educational reforms are being advocated to address these issues and create a more inclusive and effective system.

    4. Benefits of the New Approach:
    The proposed new approach aims to foster critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and creativity. It seeks to align education with the demands of the modern workforce, making graduates more competitive in the global job market. A student-centered approach is also expected to improve engagement, leading to better retention of knowledge and skills.

    5. Recalibrating African Professors and Learners:
    To implement the new approach, there is a need for professional development programs for educators, updating curricula to be more relevant, and providing resources for the integration of technology in classrooms. Creating awareness among educators about the importance of shifting from traditional methods to more innovative and student-centric approaches is crucial.

    5. Promoting Life-long Learning in Africa:
    To promote life-long learning, African countries need to invest in adult education programs, online courses, and vocational training. Encouraging a culture of continuous learning, providing accessible resources, and recognizing the value of informal learning experiences are essential steps.

    6. Role of Digitalization in the New Approach:
    Digitalization plays a crucial role in the new approach to teaching and learning in Africa. It enables the provision of online courses, digital resources, and interactive learning platforms. Access to digital tools can help bridge the educational gap caused by geographic and economic disparities. Additionally, technology can enhance teacher training, facilitate personalized learning, and prepare students for a technology-driven future.

    In summary, the shift towards a more inclusive, student-centred, and technologically enhanced education system is crucial for addressing the challenges faced by African countries in their current approach to teaching and learning.


    I am Isaac Appiah-Darkwah, Ghana.
    *Current approach to teaching and learning in Africa
    In Africa, the dominant instructional approach is what I call classical pedagogy’, which is the teacher-centred and highly structured teaching and learning in which the teacher as the champion of knowledge and its transfer possesses over 70% of the total instructional time. The teacher is at the centre stage of teaching and learning and no quality learning takes place without the dominant role of the pansophist. Teachers in the current teaching and learning approach may end up learning better than the learners in a given instructional period because they are more active, have command over all the learners, determine the pace and may even possess all the teaching and learning resources. The knowledge to be taught is mainly developed by the teacher, delivery methods designed and imposed by the teacher on the learners and the pace of teaching and learning as well as modes of assessment are all determined by the teacher. Assessments are based on teacher-determined objectives. Teaching is highly structured with very strict periods. The context of learning and the learning environment have little focus and teaching and learning resources are the preserve of the teacher. Quality of teaching and learning are measured with input indicators such as teachers’ academic qualifications, contact hours, quality of teaching and learning-related policies, curriculum, and SSRs among others. Finally, learning is measured by input-based factors including the ability to reproduce what the teacher produced.
    *Demerits of the Current Approach
    The current approach to teaching and learning negatively affects learners in diverse ways. Learners are passive in the teaching and learning process and as a result, knowledge acquired becomes volatile, shallow and difficult to apply, especially in different contexts. Learners’ ability to decode and transfer knowledge to solving their life problems is seriously challenged thereby widening the gap between academia and industry. The current teaching and learning also affect the relevance of graduates to the manpower needs of societies. Critical thinking, ingenuity, inventiveness and the ability to liberate their minds to think outside the box are limited in the current approach to teaching and learning. Learner tends to lack the ability to construct knowledge, generate new approaches to solving life problems, transform their world and even embrace innovations.
    *Proposed New Approach to Teaching and Learning in Africa
    The new approach to teaching and learning being proposed is learner-centred. This puts learners first in the instructional transactions and adopts a holistic approach to course delivery in all modes of learning. The new approach takes cognisance of the learners’ contexts and role in the instructional system. It seeks to enhance learners’ ability to think, discover, and create new knowledge as well as reflect and improve existing knowledge. Teachers are facilitators of learning or co-learners ‘who teach by learning from their learners’. In the new approach, different teaching and learning methods and resources are adopted innovatively to guide learners to construct knowledge. Why do we always put teaching first as in “teaching and learning”? Will it become “learning and teaching”? Perhaps, to give a sense of learner first? Well, this may be related to the hen and egg theory.
    *Benefits of the New Approach
    The benefits of the new approach are effective and quality teaching and learning that will not produce just learned people but educated citizens of the nations in Africa. The new approach will generate deeper learning that will support effective application and transfer of knowledge. Learners will be motivated to create and invent new things. Innovativeness, which is an expected competence of all 21st century graduates will be assured. The continent will have graduates who can think and create innovative solutions for the growing challenges in Africa.
    *Recalibrating African Professors and Learners
    The way forward is to reach out to teachers and learners with the principles and practices of the new approach to teaching and learning. Professors and Learners must be endowed with the knowledge and skills of the new approach and this can be done through advocacy, education and training. HAQAA 3 must advocate for all lecturers to take a professional teaching course in pedagogy. HAQAA can develop a framework or guideline for the design of such courses as a step to harmonise the courses. Training workshops can also be done for learners and QA bodies on the new approach. Evaluation of teaching and learning, for instance, should adopt more output indicators than input indicators.
    *Promoting life-long Learning in Africa
    When teachers and learners are motivated by the adoption of the new approach, learners at all levels will have the capacity and the urge to create and gain knowledge. People will embrace all forms and modes of learning and will find learning useful at all times. This will undoubtedly promote life-long learning in Africa. HAQAA projects can further consider continuing education, complementary education, flexible learning and professional education. Countries can be supported to develop policies and systems on the recognition of micro-credentials.
    *Role of Digitalization in the New Approach
    The new approach to teaching and learning adopts new instructional strategies and methods. Different modes of delivery such as online and blended, and the use of electronic multimedia content in the new approach will need digitalization. Digitalization will therefore accelerate the adoption of the new approach to teaching and learning. HAQAA can consider the capacity building of teachers learners and regulators on digitalisation.

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