Modes of Operation
The objective of the PHEA is the institutional development of African universities. Consequently, the Partnership strives to operate along the following principles:
- The PHEA foundations provide direct support to African university partners. The PHEA does not directly support individuals. Fellowships and research grants are only available through host African universities.
- PHEA support responds to demand from African university partners. The Bandwidth Consortium is a prime example of this responsive approach. Support for US-African university partnerships can only be the result of a request from an African university partner and it must be identified as a clear priority for that university.
- The PHEA prefers to go deeper rather than broader. There is no plan at this time to expand the countries in which the PHEA is engaged or to expand the university partners.
- Consultation is key to effective support. The Partnership takes advantage of regular gatherings of university leaders and higher education scholars but also creates opportunities, such as workshops to discuss commissioned research or a Think Tank to develop a framework to guide PHEA grantmaking on eLearning (also see the PHEA page on the Centre for Educational Technology Web site). In addition, a more formal venue for supporting the interaction of Vice Chancellors was developed. Bandwidth was the topic of the first such roundtable. Convened in 2004, the meeting was attended by Vice Chancellors and information technology managers. In November 2006 the first University Leaders' Forum (ULF) on Frontiers of Knowledge in Science and Technology for Africa was convened at the University of Cape Town, focusing on the university role in harnessing ICT for economic development. A second ULF, hosted by the University of Ghana, Legon, in November 2008, focused on Developing & Retaining the Next Generation of Academics.
In addition to informing the grantmaking of the PHEA, these meetings aim to focus and elevate the level of debate within the African higher education community. Action and advocacy characterize the outcomes of these meetings. The Bandwidth Consortium resulted from the 2004 roundtable, while a competitive grants program followed the 2006 University Leaders' Forum. Both advocacy efforts and new grants for the Next Generation of Academics are emerging as PHEA outcomes from the 2008 ULF.
The PHEA Office should be approached for enquires related to the four PHEA focal areas or for guidance regarding the potential interest of PHEA foundations in an area related to African higher education.