ASSOCIATION OF AFRICAN UNIVERSITIES’ 8TH LEADERSHIP SKILLS DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP HOSTED BY BOTHO UNIVERSITY, BOTSWANA.
Between the 10th and 14th of August, Botho University hosted the 8th Association of African Universities (AAU) Leadership Skills Development Workshop (LEDEV).
AAU is the apex organization and forum for consultation, exchange of information and co-operation among institutions of higher education in Africa. It represents the voice of higher education in Africa on regional and international bodies and supports networking by institutions of higher education in teaching, research, information exchange and dissemination.
During her welcoming remarks BU Vice-Chancellor Dr. Sheela Raja Ram remarked that Higher Education is now in focus as African nations strive to become self-sufficient and that the AAU series has helped the leadership of many African universities to achieve the ambitious goal of delivering employable graduates with shoestring budgets.
Dr. Sheela Raja Ram attended the 5th LEDEV in 2013 when it was held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, the same year that BU achieved university status, and shared that from her personal experience she found the leadership training workshop extremely useful in growing her young university to deliver high quality.
"I met a number of esteemed senior colleagues from other large universities and in our discussions and training sessions it soon became clear that big or small, old or new, the problems we faced in higher education were similar," Dr. Sheela Raja Ram said. "My burden really felt shared."
In his keynote address the Assistant Minister of Education & Skills Development Hon. Kgotla Kenneth Autlwetse urged the distinguished audience not to be by-standers while the rest of the world is grappling with complexities besieging the education domain.
"In bringing this AAU workshop here, Botho University has not only made me proud but also instilled immense confidence in my government that we can transform, and indeed shall transform in consonance with strategy 2020 which we recently launched," said Autlwetse. "My Ministry continues to support and encourage institutions like Botho University to review and reflect on current leadership practices and ensure that quality of Higher Education in Botswana is globally attractive."
"The prime purpose of the AAU Leadership Development (LEDEV) workshop series is to enhance the leadership skills of university leaders, particularly in the promotion of innovation and the management of change," Secretary General of the AAU Professor Etienne E. Ehile explained during the opening address.
The Association of African Universities' (AAU) current membership comprises over 340 institutions and is spread across the five sub-regions of Africa and over all the major linguistic distributions on the continent.
This edition of the training series boasted the highest participation and most varied, in terms of institutional representation, of any AAU training series to date. 54 registered participants, including the Vice Chancellors, Deans, Deputy Vice Chancellors, and Senior Executives of universities from 23 institutions in 9 African countries attended. The represented countries included Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Tanzania, amongst others.