CAAST-Net The Pan African University (PAU) is becoming a reality with the first three nodes expected to open in September this year. One of the nodes is the earth and life sciences campus, which will be based at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria.
The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), in Kenya, will host the basic sciences, technology and innovation in East Africa.
The governance, humanities and social sciences PAU site will open at the University of Yaoundé I, in Cameroon, for Central Africa. The remaining nodes for space sciences and water and energy are yet to be allocated.
It has taken years of hard work and planning to get to this stage. Where it did it all begin?
The first African Ministerial Conference on Science and Technology held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2003 undertook to improve the quality of science and technology education.
The PAU was seen as a necessary conduit for improving the quality of science education.
A concept note was developed for the creation of the PAU in 2008. The concept note outlined the objectives of the PAU that include developing “world class researchers” in areas considered essential to Africa’s productivity. The PAU also seeks to provide teaching and to improve research at postgraduate level.
A decision by African heads of state to endorse the allocation of three campuses of the Pan African University (PAU) to Cameroon, Kenya and Nigeria was made in 2010.
This paved way for the creation of curricula for the PAU, which will offer courses at PhD and master’s level.
How will it operate?
The PAU is headed by a high-level panel, which oversees its operations.
The panel, which was appointed in 2009, includes author Njabulo Ndebele, the former vice-chancellor of the University of Cape Town in South Africa, and Ahmadou Lamine Ndiaye, the president of the Academy of Science and Technology of Sénégal (Académie des Sciences et Techniques du Sénégal).
The AU expects to appoint directors and rectors for the nodes in the near future. The PAU is making use of facilities and staff at universities in African Union-member states to offer master’s and PhD courses to African students.
The governments of Nigeria, Cameroon and Kenya are expected to fund their respective campuses in order to recruit an initial intake of 50 master’s degree and 50 PhD students.