AAU hosts two-day workshop for ‘Leaders in African Education Research’

Addis Ababa University(AAU) hosted 31 of the best education researchers from across the continent last week. These ‘Leaders in African Education Research’ represented 16 countries and met for two days (16-17 July) to debate research priorities and opportunities to deliver high-quality and impactful research.

There is a growing body of research on African education published by researchers based in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This evidence base represents a rich resource of context- and policy-relevant findings across all phases of education.

Within the field of global education, however, African research does not get the visibility it deserves. Greater recognition of this work is needed to ensure research is of relevance to policy and practice in national contexts.

The ‘Leaders in African Education Research’ workshop was called as a first step in that direction – hosted by AAUand coordinated by the Office of External Relations, in collaboration with the Center for Global Development (CGD), DFID and the REAL Centre at the University of Cambridge.

Note: Leaders in African Education Research hosts 31 researchers from 16 countries.

Professor Tassew Woldehanna hosted the research leaders and opened proceedings by emphasising the importance of the event to the research community:

“the debate that we will have over the next two days is important both for our own institutions, including the University of Addis Ababa [especially the Institute of Educational Research], as well as the African Research Universities Alliance… Hence It’s our joint responsibility to make the next two days work for us and move things forwards in terms of identifying research priorities and modalities of education research.”

The workshop elevatedthe voices of SSA researchers, providing a platform to share perspectives on several dimensions of education research. Informed by the African Education Research Database, participants discussed priorities for educational research across the continent and criteria for selecting research to inform national, regional or international development agendas. Theydebated with policymakers on how research findings are used to drive impact on policy and programmes, with interesting challenges on the need for timeliness, persistent engagement and clear messaging to maximise policy-relevance and uptake.

Note: researchers provide perspectives on priorities, challenges and opportunities

On the second day, participants shared their experiences ofthe challenges and opportunities faced in delivering high-qualityoutputs, including:limited access to data, how to publish in reputable journals and how to navigate the requirements of international research calls.Participants commented on the need for data systems that provide opportunities for more and better analysis and collaboration; and the unique opportunity that the workshop created for networking and strengthening South-South cooperation – something that is in severe shortage across the continent.

Participants went on to commit to continue to work as a collective to advance their research agendas, strengthen their networks and the voice of African education research – and researchers – from across the continent.

Note: researchers emphasise the unique opportunity afforded to develop networks and South-South collaborations