There is a long history of linkages between Australian and African universities and training institutions in Commonwealth countries in Africa. More recently, in line with Australia’s increased engagement on the continent, there has been rapid growth beyond these established relationships. The increased profile of Australian organisations in the non-Anglophone areas of West Africa and North Africa is particularly noteworthy.
As well as education linkages, there has also been a rapid growth in trade and investment in recent years, especially in the resources sectors. Underpinning these developments, the Australian Government has increased its diplomatic relations and development cooperation with African countries, and strengthened its relations with institutions such as the African Development Bank and the African Union Commission.
One of the Australian Government’s development cooperation program flagship investments has been the expansion of education and training opportunities through Australia Awards in African countries. The number of awards offered throughout Africa has risen from around 100 per year in 2009, to 1,000 in 2012.
The primary objective of the awards is the development of individuals’ skills and expertise which contributes to building the institutional capacity of partner governments in Africa, in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Another key objective of the program is to foster ongoing people-to-people linkages and sustainable partnerships between Australian and African organisations whic has ongoing flow-on benefits well beyond the individual graduates and their host institutions.
Australia Awards -Africa Fellowships provides specialised short-courses, typically lasting between one and three months for African professionals in targeted sectors. Delivery of training is increasingly carried out through partnerships between Australian and African universities and training institutions as opportunities present to work in this highly effective manner.
The following strengths have been identified to be critical to the success of these international partnerships between Australian and African organisations:
- relationships based on mutual trust are at the core of any partnership and underpin quality management and delivery of courses
- partnerships provide access to local expertise and knowledge, and enhance collaboration and capacity building within the African context
- a strong rationale must exist for entering into and committing to a partnership – complementary skills and capacity, personnel, and value for money are all relevant factors
- clarity about roles and expectations from all parties is a key success factor and a consistent focus on good communication among partners is essential
- partners should be involved in all aspects of the program: design, delivery, review, evaluation
- in-Africa delivery is highly effective for a number of reasons, including ensuring relevance of training to the trainees context and enabling the use of fieldwork to consolidate outcomes.
UniQuest provides training in community engagement and organizational health and safety in the mining sector through a partnership with the University of Queensland and the Minerals Commission of Ghana. The courses each last approximately 7 to 8 weeks and have to date been conducted in Accra, Ghana and Brisbane, Australia.
James Cook University
Education & Training International
Education and Training International (ETI) is the Registered Training Organisation and international business development arm of the Western Australian Government’s Department of Training and Workforce Development. ETI provides training in Mining Regulation in partnership with the University of Witswaterand, University of Botswana and the Western Australia School of Mines. This is an 11 week course conducted in Johannesburg, South Africa, Perth and Kalgoorlie in Western Australia, and is completed with a one week in Africa workshop.
UniQuest, in collaboration with the University of Queensland and the Agricultural Development Corporation in Kenya and theEthiopian Institute of Agricultural Research and Amhara Regiona Agricultural Research Institute, Ethiopia, deliver a five week training course in Brisbane Australia and a two week extension module in Africa covering Dryland Farming suited to the needs of participant African countries.
University of Sydney
The University of Sydney provides a seven week course in Post-Harvest Handling, with the assistance of the University of Stellenbosch, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the University of Nairobi. The modules are spread across locations and awardees can expect to study in Stellenbosch, South Africa; Sydney, Australia, Ghana; and Kenya.
University of New England (UNE)
UNE, in partnership with PICOTEAM and IMAWESA, provide a six week course in Water Harvesting and Irrigation at locations in Armidale, Australia and in Pretoria, South Africa. It also offers a six week course in Livestock at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi, Kenya.
UniQuest provides a number of courses in the Public Policy sector including:
- International Diplomacy: Five week course in partnership with the University of Pretoria and the University of Queensland (UQ).
- Organisational Development: Six week course offered in conjunction with the University of Pretoria and UQ.
- Public Private Partnerships: Five week course offered in partnership with UQ and the University of Pretoria.
University of Adelaide
The University of Adelaide provides an 11 week course in Trade, Policy Analysis and Negotiation in collaboration of Tralac . This course is conducted in Adelaide, Australia and Cape Town, South Africa.
Chisholm Institute is a Technical and Further Education (TAFE) institute that offers an eight week TVET Reform and an eight week Teachers Skills Upgrade course. These are offered in partnership with Monash University, South Africa and the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development .
Maternal and Neonatal Child Health
UniQuest, in partnership with the University of Queensland and the Tanzanian Training Centre for International Health deliver a five week training course in Ifakara, Tanzania.