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Official Launch of the SARUA Curriculum Innovation Network

The SARUA Programme for Climate Change Capacity Development (PCCCD) reached another milestone on 8 June 2015 with the formal launch of the SARUA Curriculum Innovation Network (SCIN) at the Spier Conference Centre outside Stellenbosch, South Africa.

The PCCCD was initiated in 2010 by a meeting of Vice-Chancellors at the University of Mauritius with a long term vision “to significantly enhance the climate adaptive capacity and resilience of the SADC region through the development of a collaborative network of higher education institutions capable of pooling resources, maximising the value of its intellectual capital and attracting significant investment into the region.”


The first major achievement of the programme was the completion of a regional mapping study in 2013/14 and the publication of a two volume Regional Knowledge Co-Production Framework, which recommended the establishment of four collaborative networks among SADC universities to address the impacts of climate change:

  • Curriculum Innovation Network: to develop shared curricula and courseware at a Master’s degree level, with an emphasis on the inter-disciplinary study of climate change issues;
  • Macro Research Network: comprising seven transdisciplinary research clusters, to collaboratively produce new climate change knowledge relevant to the region;
  • Capacity Development Network: to build human capacity within SADC universities related to teaching and learning, research, community engagement and institutional management;
  • Policy and Institutional Development Network: to strengthen institutional leadership and networks in order to better inform and influence regional climate change policy.

In January 2015 a process commenced to determine initial interest among SADC universities and other stakeholders to participate in the development and/or offering of a customised Master’s programme in climate change and sustainable development. Through a formal evaluation process a multi-country university delivery consortium was selected to develop the Master’s curriculum and courseware, and on 7-8 June an inception workshop was held at the Spier Conference Centre involving SARUA, the university delivery consortium and the PCCCD technical partners.

The university delivery consortium comprises the following universities:

  • Open University of Tanzania (TZ)
  • Rhodes University (ZA)
  • Sokoine University of Agriculture (TZ)
  • Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (MZ)
  • University of Cape Town (ZA) – coordinating university
  • University of Mauritius (MU)
  • University of Namibia (NA)

Over two days a team of 25+ people worked on the format, structure and themes of the Master’s curriculum and agreed on important principles for the delivery process.

Parallel to the SCIN inception workshop, SARUA also hosted its first Leadership Dialogue of 2015 with the theme Universities and Innovation for Inclusive Development. The inception workshop ended with a formal launch of the SARUA Curriculum Innovation Network, the first climate change network to be established. This was also attended by Leadership Dialogue delegates. Keynote speakers Piyushi Kotecha, CEO of SARUA and Prof Goolam Mohamedbhai, ex-Secretary General of the African Association of Universities (AAU), reiterated the need for regional collaboration. Ms Kotecha reminded delegates of the value of leadership dialogues, since the SCIN was the culmination of a process initiated at a meeting of Vice-Chancellors in 2010. Prof Mohamedbhai stressed the uniqueness of what SARUA is embarking on and emphasized the importance of networks and network building in Africa.

The launch event also signified the start of a period of hard work for the SCIN team. Once the final work plan between SARUA and its partners – the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) and Higher Education Management Africa (HEMA) – are finalised, the curriculum development process will start in earnest. The development of the selected core and elective modules will take approximately 12 months, and participating universities will also be able to access resource packs and a toolkit to develop their own electives to add to the Master’s curriculum.

Organisations or individuals who wish to participate in the SCIN can register their interest as Participating Universities, External Stakeholders, or Individual Contributors by completing the attached form and sending it to or by completing it online at

PDF icon SCIN Registration May15.pdf199.1 KB