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The Network of the “Africa-Asia University Dialogue for Educational Development” (A-A Dialogue) project was initially implemented from 2004 to 2007 in cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations University (UNU), and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with the Center for the Study of International Cooperation in Education (CICE), Hiroshima University, Japan functioning as the secretariat. The nature of this initial stage (Phase I) was a join research endeavor by African and Asian universities to contribute to achieving the international commitment of “Education for All” (EFA) particularly in Africa. Thanks to the cooperation and collaboration of participating institutions, Phase I was successfully completed with the fruit of more than fifteen research papers striving for possible solutions to various issues concerning EFA and equally importantly, an inter-university researcher-to-researcher network across two continents, Africa and Asia. The strong willingness and commitment of participating universities has led to the continuation and further strengthening of this collaborative relationship among African and Asian universities. Thus, Phase II was officially embarked upon in June 2009 after a preparatory period in 2008.

The Network in Phase II (2009-2011) consists of 16 universities in 12 African countries and 12 universities in 6 Asian countries. It conducts education and research activities for educational development in collaboration with UNESCO, UNU, JICA and the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The main activities include: i) Formalization of the network, ii) Expanded scope of activities and iii) Comparative study.

  1. Formalization of the Network: In Phase I the network was driven by researchers’ individual relationships, whereas it is more of an formal nature in Phase II with participating universities officially signing an agreement letter to the network Statues which have been jointly prepared by the universities participating in Phase I. Furthermore, the network has applied for a UNU-UNESCO UNITWIN Cooperation Programme, and in May 2010, the Network marked the official launch of the programme.
  2. Expanded Scope of Activities: In Phase II, activities include academic staff and student exchange in addition to joint research projects.
  3. Comparative Study: While in Phase I research collaboration focused more on issues related to EFA according to individual countries’ concerns, in Phase II comparative studies will be conducted in three broad areas of educational development: A) Gender and Equity, B) Quality of Education and Educational Policy and C) Teacher Professional Development.

The most important and highly emphasized aspect of Phase II is that any member university can and should initiate an activity within the framework of the network with relevant responsibility.

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