DCU holds graduation ceremony for 180 sub-Saharan African students
First participants in ‘future African leaders’ programme collect scrolls
Dr Yvonne Crotty, Jerome Morrissey, Bessie Nyirenda, Prof Brian McCraith, Hensen Seidisa, Solange Mukanurenzi and Dr Margaret Farren were at the ceremony.
Dublin City University held a graduation ceremony yesterday more than 7,000km from home, as the first participants in its “future African leaders” programme collected their scrolls.
About 180 students from sub-Saharan countries participated in the programme, which supports social and economic development in the region.
Speaking from Nairobi, where he presided at the graduation ceremony, DCU president Prof Brian MacCraith said the programme was “not about transferring European ways to Africa” but about empowering leading members of African governments and public services to reach their potential.
He said DCU was keen to get involved in the project as it aimed to be “globally engaged” and to develop its expertise in online learning. “There is a recognition that these countries are going to be the power-houses of the future. This is not about feeding the hungry but about partnership in the knowledge economy.”
Described as a “bespoke professional blended (online and face-to-face) learning programme”, it focuses on developing information and communications technology (ICT) skills in positions of leadership.
Graduates yesterday extolled the virtues of the project. “It doesn’t matter if you are Irish, American or European it’s the content of what is shared that matters,” said Michael Conteh of the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management.
He said he looked forward to applying his learning on return to Windhoek: “Knowledge is not power but the application of that knowledge is power.”
The AU is one of the organisations in partnership on the project, and its commissioner for infrastructure and energy Dr Elhan MA Ibrahim told the graduation ceremony: “The gap between developed and under-developed countries is decreased by the proper proliferation of knowledge.”
Also partnering with DCU on the project are Finland’s foreign ministry and the UN Global eSchools and Communities Initiative (GeSCI). They now hope to roll it out across the continent. Participants to date have represented South Africa, Zambia, Tanzania, Mauritius, Malawi, Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Namibia and Mozambique.