Improving Teaching Quality and Effectiveness by Moving Towards a Student-Centred Learning Approach


We are very pleased to report that CR&DALL Deputy Director Muir Houston is member of the University of Glasgow team that has been funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in order to undertake a study of HE pedagogy in Algeria to improve quality and effectiveness with a focus on developing student-centred learning. The team also includes Willie McGuire and Ines Alves.

The project is part of an initiative by the Pan African University (PAU) to establish five institutes to enhance Pan-African integration in higher education and science. PAU is envisaged as an academic, continental network of higher education institutes of excellence for postgraduate studies and advanced research at the core of Africa’s development. One of the objectives of PAU is to tackle the problem of “brain drain” to other parts of the world and improve the employability of its graduates in Africa.

The five Institutes of PAU will be hosted in the five geographic regions of Africa (Northern, Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa), and are supported by Key and Thematic Partners (K&TPs).

This project involving Glasgow is based at the PAU Institute for Water and Energy Sciences (including Climate Change) (PAUWES), hosted in Northern Africa at the Abou Bekr Belkaid University of Tlemcen in Algeria.

Founded in 2014, PAUWES aims to provide high-quality post-graduate education for African students in the fields of water and energy sciences (including climate change) in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063. The latter is a strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. It builds on and seeks to accelerate the implementation of past and existing continental initiatives for growth and sustainable development. Currently, PAUWES offers two master’s programmes (2-year programmes) – one in Water and one in Energy. Both programmes have an engineering and a policy track. Each track comprises 120 credits with a set of common courses (to all tracks), core courses and elective courses. The programme was designed in a way that the two policy tracks (in energy or water) are variations of their respective engineering tracks. The research component consists of 30 credits and includes a research seminar, a four-week research internship and the final thesis.

PAUWES students come from over 40 African countries and are between 25-35 years old when attending the programme. Students are selected from a wide pool of applicants and receive a full scholarship (USD 750/month). The class size is between 15 and 20 students, which potentially allows for intensive interaction with the lecturers. Depending on the cohort, women represent between 20-50% of the student’s body.

GIZ is a service provider in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education work, that describes itself as being 'dedicated to shaping a future worth living around the world. GIZ has over 50 years of experience in a wide variety of areas, including economic development and employment promotion, energy and the environment, and peace and security'. Its main commissioning agent is the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

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