SADC member states are jointly pursuing regional strategies with the long-term vision of driving industrialisation in Southern Africa. The SARUA Exco in 2017 initiated a process of closer alignment between SADC and SARUA, to ensure that universities not only become active contributors in the implementation of SADC strategies – as knowledge producers and developers of human capacity – but to build institutional capacities in the process.
In 2018 SARUA will continue with this alignment process as regional convenor of higher education interests. SARUA has noted several upcoming demands on universities as a result of new higher education policies advanced by the African Union (AU) and SADC, as well as new key opportunities. SARUA subscribes to the African Union’s Agenda 2063 Vision and actively supports Quality Education as Global Goal 4 for Sustainable Development. SARUA agrees with the important role higher education has to play to achieve the SADC region’s strategic vision:
The SADC Protocol on Education and Training defines a regional framework for maximising the effective utilisation of education resources in the region, to promote equivalence, harmonisation and standardisation through collaboration.
The Revised RISDP 2015–2020 prioritises inter alia the implementation of a Regional Qualifications Framework, human resources skills development, matching of education with labour market demands and accelerating the development of priority sectors for industrial and infrastructure development.
The SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015–2063 provides a blueprint for inclusive, long-term modernisation and economic transformation in the SADC region and is based on three interdependent and mutually supportive strategic pillars: Industrialisation, Competitiveness and Regional Integration.
It is widely recognised that higher education is still too fragmented across the region and the SARUA Exco has motivated that closer strategic, organisational and programme alignment between SARUA and SADC will begin to address shared challenges facing higher education institutions. The SARUA Exco will continue with these alignment activities in 2018 and also pursue additional higher education collaboration partnerships.
It is important to note that by pursuing closer regional alignment with SADC in 2017, SARUA has initiated a process of organisational transformation which will see it undergo structural changes. This is to ensure that SARUA can maintain the engagement process with SADC structures, in an effort to broaden regional collaboration opportunities to all accredited universities. SARUA will in 2018 only implement and participate in new programmes that are fully funded.