Sustainability/Africa University course planning
By design, the programme should have in-built mechanisms and strategies for sustainability. The features of the programme that guarantee sustainability include:
- Strategic partnerships and solidarity within the ECSA Region. Though the program is regional, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT)is currently the only university that hosts and own the MSc program. Nonetheless, the University needs strategic partners and solidarity from within and outside the region. Therefore JKUAT through RUFORUM should consult other universities in and out of the region that are interested in the MSc for partnership and support. This in itself is a mechanism for scaling up as well for sharing regional capacities and resources to implement the programme. The strategic partnership will be harnessed through increased participation of other RUFORUM universities through joint teaching and research activities as a move towards a joint regional ownership of the program.
- Strengthening Human Resource capacity of the JKUAT university. Sustainability is about building internal capacity for continuity. It is recognized JKUAT does not have adequate capacity at the moment to mount and implement an MSc Program in Research Methodology to a desired quality. It is therefore important that JKUAT works alongside counterparts from the ECSA region for purposes of building regional capacity. This capacity will be further multiplied within the region by working in teams and later scale out to conduct similar programmes within the region.
- Cost-effectiveness and efficiency. MSc training in the region has been prohibitively expensive largely because of the high cost of training overseas. The MSc programme is expected to embrace quality at a reasonably more affordable cost for many local institutions and individuals as compared to overseas training. As a result, the program will attract public and private sector involvement in terms of sponsorship and internship sites which will in turn increase student numbers and therefore sustainable flow of information
- Use of virtual classrooms and other web-based teaching and learning tools. The program employs innovative teaching approaches through use of virtual classrooms and other web-based teaching tools. This is in itself ensures that the students and resource persons can interact wherever they are which will reduce the inconvinience of moving resource persons from their mother institutions for a long period of time. The strategy will ensure sustainable participation of resource persons in teaching for the program and strengthen the use of information and communication technology.
- Aggressive advertisment and marketing of the program within the region. The financial sustainability of the program depends on the number of students that enrol effectively. Failure to obtain adequate student numbers negatively influences adequate funding for program activities. The hosting university and the steering committee through the RUFORUM Secretariat should therefore develop strategies to aggressively market the program within the region and beyond in order to attract students that can privately pay for the program.
- In-built monitoring and evaluation mechanism. The program has an in-built monitoring and evaluation mechanism as an integral part to oversee the implementation of the program. Best practices and lessons learned during the programme should be communicated to stakeholders. In order to maintain a high standard commensurate with main objective of quality research, a means of getting feedback from all stakeholders will be established. These will consist of student semester reports, internship reports, financial reports, student publications, seminars, workshop and conference attendance, number of graduates absorbed in public and private job market. Accountability and transparency in resource use, student admissions and resource people’s recruitment will be adhered to, taking into consideration, quality and regional representation.