The University of Nairobi played host to the Inter-University Council of East Africa for the Regional Workshop for the Development of a Multilateral East African Higher Education Scholarship Programme which was held from 7th to 9th March 2022.
The Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) is mandated by the IUCEA Act 2009, to coordinate higher education in the East African Community (EAC). The Act gives IUCEA the responsibility to advise the EAC Partner States on all matters related to higher education in the Community. Section 6 of the Act mandates the Council to promote collaboration with EAC Partner States and other appropriate bodies and authorities in developing strategies for investment in higher education in the community; encourage of the exchange of students and staff between member universities; provide scholarships to students and grants to teaching and research assistants; establish and grant awards to deserving students, faculty and individuals for outstanding contribution to education, research and public service.
In operationalization of the mandate as per the Act, access to and affordability of higher education in the EAC region has been high on its agenda. Over the years, IUCEA has implemented some strategies and operations on academic mobility to facilitate students and staff mobility to promote regional integration. The students’ mobility programme including scholarships has attracted several initiatives, namely uniform fees for EAC citizen students to be charged in EAC countries’ host university, and scholarship programmes for undergraduate and postgraduate students.
During the 10th IUCEA Annual Meeting held in June 2019 in Kigali- Rwanda, members noted that Donor-funded scholarships are tied to objectives of their respective projects and last for only a few years or during the duration of a project and that they are limited to certain areas of specialisation (STEM, ICT, Business, TVET). They therefore recognised the acute need for a sustainable locally driven scholarship scheme complimenting other programmes and driving the region’s agenda and encouraged each of the IUCEA member universities to provide at least 1 slot for students from an EAC Partner State other than their domiciled country.
The three-day workshop held from 7th to 9th March 2022 was attended by representatives of Vice-Chancellors of IUCEA member universities, heads of Higher Education Loans/financing organizations, the Executive Director of the East African Business Council, the EAC Secretariat Principal Education Officer and IUCEA Secretariat.