The contribution of university research to the achievement of sustainable development goals within the context of the East African Community Common Higher Education Area

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Mayunga H.H. Nkunya


In the contemporary sense, a Common Higher Education Area designates a geographic region where higher education systems are based on comparable, compatible, coherent and harmonised frameworks accepted in the region as providing objective basis for mutual recognition of education and training systems, and the qualifications attained in the region’s individual states as well as from overseas, for the countries to effectively collaborate as common market blocks. This is the aspired destination of the East African Community (EAC). Thus, from 2006, the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) has been developing a harmonised quality assurance system as the critical entry point for mutual recognition and collaboration in higher education among the EAC Partner States. The IUCEA has also developed the East African Qualifications Framework for Higher Education. These developments have culminated into EAC being declared a Common Higher Education Area during the Heads of State Summit on 20th May 2017. This entails that EAC Partner States will now have to harmonise their national higher education systems under the regional framework. Likewise, universities will have to harmonise their higher education and research systems for them to support cross-border engagements. This will enable university researchers to team up in integrated, multi-/inter-disciplinary partnerships with other players in other universities and non-university institutions across the EAC common market block.

Keywords: East African Community, harmonisation, Higher education, qualification frameworks

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