Since 1961 UNESCO has organised 7 conferences of the Ministers of Education of Africa member States (MINEDAF). At MINEDAF VII in Durban 1998, South Africa offered to make the experience, expertise and existing infrastructures of South African Higher Education available to senior academics in the rest of Africa.
UNESCO agreed to provide funding for a pilot programme whereby 30 Fellowships would be awarded to senior African academics to spend up to 6 months doing research at one of the 5 Western Cape Higher Education Institutions (HEI’s) (Cape and Peninsula Technikons, Universities of Cape Town, Western Cape and Stellenbosch) or affiliated institutes such as the SA Astronomical Observatory.
The programme would be the responsibility of the Adamastor Trust; a foundation formed by the Western Cape HEI’s to promote regional higher education collaboration.
The Trust subcontracted the IAPO (International Academic Programmes Office) at UCT to run the programme in 2000 – 2001.
- The programme was successfully run.
- A total of 28 out of a possible 30 fellows were brought to the Western Cape for a stay of a minimum of 3 months and maximum of 6 months. Two fellowships were ultimately not taken up, one through pregnancy, the other because of the 6 weeks lack of communication. By this time it was too late to award these Fellowships to reserves, since they would not have had enough time to spend in the Western Cape before the Programme deadline for the completion of Fellowships.
- We had 6 (including the SAAO) institutions taking responsibility for their fellows.
- Each of the 28 fellows who took up their fellowships had an impact on their host academic, department, university, as well as the students and the broader community (e.g. church members, other visiting academics, etc.)
- Each of the fellows took home a small amount of equipment (e.g. computer), books, and printed matter, for capacity building.
- Before departing, each fellow completed a research report and a Programme Evaluation Form, which required detailed input on the Programme, the Western Cape host institution and Department, and local living conditions. These reports have provided invaluable feedback to the Programme administration and to the Adamastor Trust representatives from the HEI’s.
- Several UPAAE progress reports were generated during the course of the programme. A final report has been generated, describing the framework and guidelines, in the hope that the Programme can be repeated with increased success. An external evaluation of the Programme is currently being carried out.