April 22, 2024
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During the first Day of EAC Scholarship Consultative Meeting in Nairobi.

Inter-University Council for East African Community (EAC) Students Mobility held a Scholarship Consultative Meeting in Nairobi Kenya to discuss on revitalizing the regional university student mobility programme.

Various issues discussed included; Achieving harmonized degrees, Accredited Programs and Mobility which is free movement of skills and students in the region.

Present during the occassion were; The Vice Chancellors of Member Universities, Deputy Vice Chancellors, The ChairPerson, IUCEA Student and Staff Mobility Committee,
Executive Directors of Students Loan Board/Student Financing & Loan Boards in EAC Partner States, Deputy Executive Secretary, IUCEA, Prof Rai and Colleagues from IUCEA Secretariat.

“It is my distinct honor to welcome you all to the East African Community Student Mobility Scheme (EAC-SMS) consultative meeting.
I take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for being able to find time to participate in this meeting, which for us is a clear testimony of your commitment as our members to engage in IUCEA initiatives and the development and the transformation of EAC higher education for a successful integration through increased university exchange and mobility of students and staff.” Said Prof. Gaspard Banyankimbona Executive Secretary EAC.

He further observed that, Two years ago 7-9th March 2022, they met in Nairobi to reflect on which direction to take as to deliver on the core mandate, specifically on promotion of students mobility in the region and staff exchange between member universities, and providing scholarships to students and grants to teaching and research assistants.
The meeting was hosted by the University of Nairobi and thanked Prof. Kiama for his continued support.

During that meeting, IUCEA secretariat, as directed by the 10th Executive Committee meeting submitted a proposal to establish a Multilateral East Africa Community Scholarship Programme now known as East African Community Student Mobility Scheme (EAC-SMS).
The proposal had in itself several benefits and was meant to involve different actors ranging from universities, the business community, NGOs, development partners, guardians or parent and others.

These benefits includes:
a. Fast track implementation of the EAC Common Higher Education Area as institutions are expected to operationalize mutual recognition of qualifications, credit accumulation and transfer.
b. Boost internationaization of member universities.
c. Revive more mobility of students in the region,
d. Support EAC Partner States to address key human resource deficiencies.
e. Provide an opportunity to benchmark against each other and ultimately improve the quality of our academic and professional programs.
f. Contribute to a key pillar of regional integration, namely the Common Market Protocol as graduates of this programs will be able to move their skills from one partner state to another.

Vice-Chancellors and other stakeholders present at the Nairobi meeting in 2022 commended the initiative, committed to support it and recommended it for submission to the IUCEA Governing Board for approval on its way towards implementation.

There was a commitment to provide scholarships ranging from Bachelors , Masters, to PhDs.
After securing a considerable number of scholarships through these commitments, IUCEA launched a call for application from potential students which was very successful in terms of applications for both undergraduate and postgraduate programs. However, there were various challenges.

The meeting therefore aims to discuss about the challenges together, to chart on a common understanding on most suitable approach to implement the scholarship scheme.

EAC hence,appealed to its members directly to brainstorm and come out with a way forward on how best to implement this commendable initiative that is expected to revitalize the regional university student mobility programme that was once very popular in the region.

As part of the implementation of the EAC Common Higher Education Area, IUCEA has been running various scholarship programmes. These scholarship programmes are project–based and limited in time scope to the end of the project periods and have few slots for the many deserving students of East Africa. Moreover, only a few universities in the region are involved in these projects-based scholarship schemes.

The EAC Student Mobility Scheme is meant to be our indigenous student exchange, inter-University and Inter EAC Partner States programme. It is one of the ways to demonstrate the self-sustainability of students mobility in the region which will enhance credibility towards the EAC community.

As states earlier, EAC-SMS scholarship program requires joint contributions from universities, parents, and IUCEA, each with specific responsibilities as provided for in the EAC SMS Guidelines and commitment forms.

The two days’ workshop seek to primarily:
a. To enhance an understanding of the EAC-SMS among now the participating institutions.
b. To discuss and agree on appropriate approach to operationalise the EAC-SMS,
c.To enhance EAC-SMS implementation guidelines that are agreed upon by all parties.
d. To revise and agree on the call for applications.

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