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Pan-African University: When a dream comes true…

January 2012 heralds a new stage in higher education cooperation on the African continent as the President of the African Union Commission, Jean Ping, officially inaugurated of the Pan-African University (PAU), a specialised postgraduate training and research institution comprised of a network of universities in five regions across the continent. The creation of PAU was endorsed at the highest political level by the Conference of Ministers of Education of the African Union and the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the AU (see ACA Newsletter – Education Europe, May 2011). A high-level panel composed of leading African intellectuals was appointed to support the implementation of PAU, and the Association of African Universities is also to play a key role in this process. Despite numerous challenges at the preparation stage, three out five institutions were launched in mid-December: 

  • the Institute for Governance, the Humanities and Social Sciences of Central Africa (the University of Yaoundé II, in Soa, Cameroon);
  • the Institute for Basic Sciences, Technology and Innovation of East Africa (the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Juja, Kenya); and
  • the Institute for Life and Earth Sciences of West Africa (the University of Ibadan, Nigeria).

In addition to the regional nodes in North and Southern Africa still to come on line, the next step for the university is to recruit the first cohort of students; each site currently aims for about 100 students. Teachers will be selected across the continent on the basis of excellence. The university’s funding is largely reliant on sponsorships. Core funding will be provided by the African Union Commission, while the university also expects to benefit from research and tuition fees, as well as from voluntary contributions from member states, companies and foreign partners. Belgium, Germany, Japan, India and Sweden, amongst other countries, have expressed their interest in supporting select campuses.

African Press Organization The East African University World News