Our Portfolio

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  • The African Economic Research Consortium (AERC) is working closely with NBA to launch an online version of their popular Collaborative Masters in Agriculture and Applied Economics (CMAAE). The AERC’s mandate is to increase the number of effective economists within Africa. The CMAAE’s enrolment had hit a ceiling partly as a result of the courses’ requirement for participants to attend a three month study period at their ‘shared facility’. The facility, however, can only accommodate 60 students. NBA has provided AERC with a number of different technology mediated solutions to the problem and is currently supporting lecturers at the shared facility develop online versions of their courses using a learning management system and develop multimedia content to support online engagement of their courses.

  • NBA has been working with the Institutional Learning (IL) division with the African Leadership Academy (http://www.africanleadershipacademy.org/) to provide strategic and practical support in the development of an institution-wide results framework to track performance against the ALA’s Strategy 2023 (2018-2020). Having developed the results framework, NBA played an integral role in data collection and quality assurance for the baseline data and was responsible for preparing the comprehensive Strategy 2023 baseline report in early 2019. NBA continues to provide capacity building support to the IL, particularly in the areas of monitoring and evaluation and institutional research/learning. This includes participation in divisional workshops, support with data analysis and report writing.

  • Working with the African Union (AU) Commission, NBA conducted desktop research on harmonization of higher education programmes across Africa. We also prepared, disseminated and analysed questionnaires sent to key stakeholders to obtain their views on harmonization of higher education programmes. The results of the research informed the development of a Strategy for Harmonization of Higher Education Programmes in Africa for the African Union, which was promoted and discussed through NBA’s coordination of the AU Harmonization Discussion List. Following this research and advocacy project, NBA was further involved in developing an African Higher Education Quality Rating System for the AU to support the development of institutional cultures of quality and commitment to quality. In addition, it aims to ensure that performance of higher education institutions can be compared against a standard set of criteria, to foster comparability among qualifications, improve the quality of delivery in the institutions, enable Africa to compete more effectively at a global level, provide a means of identifying Centres of Excellence, and determine leading universities in running the AU Scholarship Scheme. NBA also conducted the Midterm Evaluation of the Second Decade of Education for Africa, 2006–2015 for the AU.

  • NBA is contracted to the Anzisha Prize (http://anzishaprize.org/) programme of the African Leadership Academy (ALA) (http://www.africanleadershipacademy.org/) to run their monitoring and evaluation processes and to conduct ad hoc research on specific issues as identified by Anzisha (2018-2020). The Anzisha Prize is a partnership between ALA and Mastercard Foundation. It runs a series of programmes and events and provide on-going support to build entrepreneurial activity of young people in Africa aged 15 to 22 years. NBA’s work with Anzisha has included, amongst others, assistance with the writing of a theory of change, developing a results framework against which Anzisha’s progress is measured, setting up on-going monitoring systems, designing and building a Management Information System (MIS), data collection and analysis and reporting. NBA has also provided management support for research that Anzisha has commissioned from across the African continent, has played a lead role in the conceptualisation and writing of the Anzisha Scenario, conducted background research on behaviours change communications and research to assist Anzisha to identify key moments of behaviour change for very young entrepreneurs.

  • NBA worked in conjunction with the British Council and the Department of Higher Education to develop a set of digital guidelines to introduce stakeholders to the A21, the new South African apprenticeship system. NBA further developed animations and interviewed prominent personnel in order to enrich the guidelines with multimedia assets. NBA also ran a social media campaign, incorporating MailChimp, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and SoundCloud, to spread awareness of the new system and the guidelines. The A21 digital guideline resources can be accessed below:

    A21 Guidelines: https://nadsc.dhet.gov.za/A21

    A21 Animations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVSBQwB8J5c&list=PLwqwK07J4Hqw45xUnVl6Yg52pMYowYxUR

    A21 Podcasts: https://soundcloud.com/andrew-moore-115219849/sets/a21-podcast-stakeholders

     

  • NBA was contracted by the Commonwealth of Learning and the Commonwealth Secretariat to support the Ministry of Education in Guyana to implement the UNESCO Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Competency Framework for Teachers (CFT) in that country. As well as creating a national strategy, NBA has developed pre-service and in-service teacher education courses in Technology Literacy and Knowledge Deepening, both of which are aligned to the UNESCO ICT CFT. Rather than rewriting or changing the resources that had been developed, the focus was on creating appropriate learning pathways by collating/joining suitable resources in their current form. The project has now been taken to scale, with NBA having developed similar strategies in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, and Samoa, as well as sharing the courses for implementation in those countries. All of the materials can be accessed at http://ccti.colfinder.org.

  • NBA was contracted by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) to develop the concept note, questionnaires and related documentation and reports (including the agenda and a country report template) for its regional consultations on open educational resources (OER). Two questionnaires – a survey of governments’ OER policies, and an OER stakeholder survey – were prepared. The responses to these surveys were analysed and updated periodically prior to each regional consultation. Four presentations were prepared for COL based on an analysis of responses to the government and stakeholder surveys. The final report and presentation was prepared for the OER World Congress in September 2017.

  • NBA supported the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) to link Caribbean islands (Grenada, Antigua and St Vincent) into a collaborative forum using OER to build shared curriculum materials. Most used the Guru collaborative platform to create the lessons and, as most chose to build mathematics lessons, a database of open maths materials was developed.

  • The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) jointly developed the Dialogue on Innovative Higher Education Strategies (DIES) programme, and were considering working on supporting quality assurance (QA) efforts in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) through regional capacity building. DAAD thus commissioned NBA to conduct a research study to provide information about QA in the region as a basis for future work of DAAD/DIES and the regional and national partners. The key aim of the research was to gain an understanding of existing QA frameworks in the region, with the research seeking to cover QA systems in all 15 SADC countries. An initial desktop research exercise was undertaken to identify QA practices in each country, followed by more in-depth research conducted via questionnaires, in order to understand external and internal QA systems in higher education, focused on QA-related needs, demands and priorities in each country. 

  • Using action research, NBA is evaluating the effectiveness and potential for scaling the African Leadership Academy’s (ALA) Africa Careers Network (ACN) (https://africacareersnetwork.force.com/s/) Expansion Pilot Programme. ACN is a platform that connects young African talent from ALA and the MasterCard Foundation Scholars Programme to internships and job opportunities across Africa. The pilot programme runs in South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, and Ethiopia and aims to enhance the career trajectory of students. The evaluation adopts a multi-method approach focussing on the effectiveness of ACN’s interventions in skills development, network building, partnerships with employers, placements of students, and capacity building of career guidance counsellors. It also considers the efficacy of how the programme is implemented.

  • NBA has worked with the Global e-Schools and Communities Initiative (GESCI) to supplement the findings of their impact assessment of the African Leadership in ICT and Knowledge Society Development (ALICT) programme in 2016. The purpose of the impact study was to carry out a detailed assessment and analysis based on the information available and information generated through the study, on the results of the ALICT leadership programme effects and influence. NBA also worked with GESCI to prepare country reports in 16 African countries with the aim of understanding the status of the knowledge society (KS) in each of these countries. The work involved conducting desktop reviews, identifying essential policies, strategies, plans and papers on KS development in each of the countries as well as reviewing KS pillar documentation sets related to education, information and communication technology (ICT), and science, technology and innovation (STI). The process also included identifying the major actors, stakeholders and partners in each country and their role in KS pillar development. 

  • NBA currently has a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to explore both the potential for open licensing to enhance the availability of mother‐tongue early literacy reading resources in the global South and the attendant risks. Through an earlier grant from the Hewlett Foundation, research covered the impact of open licensing on the early literacy ecosystem, emerging innovations, and the implications for content creation, publishing, and use of reading materials in developing countries, primarily in Africa. Our research focused on picture books that children can read for pleasure rather than ‘decodable’ texts that are used for instruction. NBA is continuing this work and carrying out both desktop case studies and action research, with participation from key players in Africa and South Asia. This research will explore whether open licensing can be employed sustainably by content producers – commercial and non‐commercial alike – in the global South. The research also examines how the development of new technologies threatens to disrupt traditional publishing chains, and how these threats might be harnessed to create sustainable new business models.

  • In this project, which ran from 2014–2015, Neil Butcher was contracted by Particip (a German consulting firm) to provide technical support on mainstreaming e-learning at South Africa's National School of Government (NSG). The specific objective of the project was to ensure quality, credible and relevant learning offered by the NSG with an increased focus on e-learning in order to meet growing learning development needs. The aim of the project is to ensure the quality of e-learning interventions that are rolled out within the NSG quality management framework for curriculum. The process ran over several months, comprising ongoing consultation, interviews, planning workshops and meetings, engagement with service providers, online surveys, and desktop research. During the project, several deliverables were produced, including an approved Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Strategy, a report on an e-learning survey administered to staff, business requirements statements for an Enterprise Content Management System and a Student Information System, an overview of professional development requirements for staff, and revised workflows for mainstreaming e-learning into curriculum development.

  • NBA has been integrally involved in Saide’s OER Africa initiative (see https://www.oerafrica.org/) as a core project partner. Since 2008, OER Africa’s mission has been to establish dynamic networks of African OER practitioners by sensitizing and connecting like-minded educators – teachers, academics, trainers, and policy makers – to develop, share, and adapt OER to meet the education needs of African societies. By creating and sustaining networks of collaboration – face-to- face and online – OER Africa supports African educators and learners to harness the power of OER. In turn, they can develop their capacity and join emerging global OER networks as active participants who showcase Africa’s intellectual property, rather than passive consumers of knowledge produced elsewhere. This work has involved numerous collaborations with universities across Africa, engagement with key IGOs like UNESCO and the commonwealth of Learning, extensive research on OER, and establishment of OER Africa as a global thought leader in the OER space. In the current grant, OER Africa is undertaking collaborative work to develop the professional competences and skills of stakeholders within African higher education institutions so that they can implement OER practices to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

     

  • The Partnership for Higher Education (PHEA) Educational Technology Initiative (ETI) was a large-scale African university e-learning support initiative funded by a consortium of American foundations and managed by the South African Institute for Distance Education (Saide). The strategic objectives of the project were to:
    • Support teaching and learning initiatives that integrate educational technology; 
    • Promote collaborative knowledge creation and dissemination; 
    • Get core institutional systems to work so that they support teaching and learning more directly; and 
    • Research and report on educational technology activity in African universities by means of a long-term project. 
     
    The PHEA ETI focused on delivering a model for engaging institutions in the development of effective, integrated educational technology (ET) plans. NBA provided project management support to Saide, assisting seven institutions (Catholic University of Mozambique, Kenyatta University in Kenya, Makerere University in Uganda, University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, the University of Education, Winneba in Ghana, and the Universities of Ibadan and Jos in Nigeria) in implementing the ET plans in the following areas:
    • Deployment and stabilization of e-learning platforms, particularly learning management systems, and technical capacity building in their maintenance;
    • Producing, piloting and reviewing e-learning courses;
    • Building instructional design and technical capacity among course development teams;
    • Procuring software applications necessary to produce effective e-learning courses; and
    • Supporting research projects to assess the use and impact of e-learning on campus.
     
    NBA also managed a series of inter-institutional activities, including an annual workshop of project participants, a large multi-site research project, development of case studies of best practice in partnership with academics within the institutions, and production of various tools and resources that are being shared through the website for general use. 
  • Working with the African Union Commission, NBA conducted desktop research on harmonisation of higher education programmes across Africa. We also prepared, disseminated and analysed questionnaires sent to key stakeholders to obtain their views on harmonisation of higher education programmes. The results of the research informed the development of a Strategy for Harmonization of Higher Education Programmes in Africa for the African Union, which was promoted and discussed through NBA’s coordination of the AU Harmonisation Discussion List. Following this research and advocacy project, NBA was further involved in developing an African Higher Education Quality Rating System for the AU to support the development of institutional cultures of quality and commitment to quality. In addition, it aims to ensure that performance of higher education institutions (HEIs) can be compared against a standard set of criteria, to foster comparability among qualifications, improve the quality of delivery in HEIs, enable Africa to compete more effectively at a global level, provide a means of identifying Centres of Excellence, and determine leading universities in running the AU Scholarship Scheme. Furthermore, NBA also conducted the Midterm Evaluation of the Second Decade of Education for Africa, 2006-2015 for the AU.

  • In 2009 the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) developed an Advocacy and Publishing (RAP) Strategy. The strategy defines who should benefit from RUFORUM’s advocacy and publishing activities. NBA responded to RUFORUM's request for a proposal to enhance relevance and visibility of universities in national development.  NBA was involved in the identification and packaging of stories demonstrating success of higher education in African agriculture. The project involved conducting case study research at the University of Malawi (Bunda College of Agriculture), writing up the case study, compiling the research as a brochure.

  • Since 2003, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) has been coordinating the NEPAD e-Schools initiative. A partnership between NEPAD, African governments and civil society, the initiative aims to transform all African primary and secondary schools into e-Schools. With funding support from the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie), the initiative engaged the services of NBA to conduct a three-year impact evaluation study of the Sankoré project. The latter constituted part of the Senegalese government’s efforts to modernize the education system, to develop 21st century skills, and to improve the quality of the provision of education through the introduction of interactive white-board equipment. A regression discontinuity (RD) design was employed to enable the identification of the causal impacts of the programme on learning outcomes. 

    Click here to download Data Do File and Teaching and Learning with Smart Boards: A Case Study of Senegal’s Project Sankoré Phase II.

  • NBA was contracted by the Commonwealth of Learning and the Commonwealth Secretariat to support the Ministry of Education in Guyana to implement the UNESCO Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Competency Framework for Teachers (CFT) in that country. As well as creating a national strategy, NBA has developed pre-service and in-service teacher education courses in Technology Literacy and Knowledge Deepening, both of which are aligned to the UNESCO ICT CFT. Rather than rewriting or changing the resources that had been developed, the focus was on creating appropriate learning pathways by collating/joining suitable resources in their current form. The project has now been taken to scale, with NBA having developed similar strategies in St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, and Samoa, as well as sharing the courses for implementation in those countries. All of the materials can be accessed at http://ccti.colfinder.org.

    In 2013, NBA was contracted by UNESCO to support the development and review of the national ICT strategies of Kenya, Indonesia and Oman for the use of the UNESCO ICT CFT harnessing OER. NBA was also required to support the development of national implementation strategies, including ensuring that other CFT activities being undertaken in those countries are incorporated into the country’s implementation strategy, and to undertake peer review of the course materials, assessment instruments and related tools developed as a component of the national implementation strategies.

    NBA is working with UNESCO to support the ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (CFT) Network of Champions. In 2017 NBA was contracted by UNESCO to research how the UNESCO ICT CFT had been used by different governments and educational institutions around the world and within different language groups. The following year NBA lead a team of UNESCO-appointed education experts revise and update the framework to reflect recent trends in educational technology. (Access the latest ICT CFT at https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000265721)

    NBA also maintains the ICT CFT hub on OER Commons, a repository of openly licenced teacher training materials aligned to the competencies described in the ICT CFT. (See https://www.oercommons.org/hubs/UNESCO). Currently, NBA is coordinating the activities of a community of practice who support the use of the framework and the open licenced materials and provide guidance to governments and educational institutions who show an interest in using the ICT CFT and its resources.

  • NBA was contracted by the University of South Africa (UNISA) to assist in the development of a revised organizational architecture for the institution. The process involved a comprehensive review of policies, systems, work processes, and work culture to help prepare the university for transitioning from printed-based distance education to an open and distance learning methodology in which the entire transactional environment with students is digitized. This highly ambitious and yet crucial change commenced with a full review and summary of key policy positions, and subsequent development, through widespread consultation, of a report on a new operational and business model for the institution, which was prepared for Senate submission with the assumption of a rolling programme of institutional change to follow.

  • The University of the Free State (UFS) has initiated an eco‐vehicle project that aims to develop among senior undergraduate students the necessary graduate attributes needed to address issues of sustainable resources. Through the programme six sub‐teams of senior undergraduate students will work together in larger teams to build eco‐vehicles, powered by solar energy, with the aim of having five teams to compete in a race with the eco‐vehicles in February 2021. Neil Butcher and Associates is currently providing instructional design and materials development support by creating the programme framework and help guides for the six skills programmes.

     

  • Through Neil Butcher, NBA provides extensive ongoing support to the World Bank in its operations around the world, with focus on developing regions such as Africa, South India, and Eastern Europe. This includes support in programme design and preparation, programme supervision, and expert advice, assistance, and research support in several areas. While much of the support offered includes general programme support and monitoring, specific areas of expertise in which support is provided include: TVET, skills development, and labour markets; EMIS; teacher education; and educational technology. While the portfolio of countries changes from year to year, ongoing support has been provided in, amongst others, India, Indonesia, Romania, Serbia, Ethiopia, South Africa, Zambia, Mauritius, Lesotho, Tanzania, Burundi, and Somalia.