I have been lucky enough to be awarded a small bit of GCRF funding to develop a research cluster around interdisciplinary themes. It really is an extraordinary opportunity to bring together several institutions working in digital education in sub-Saharan Africa and some wonderful individuals many of whom I have known for many years but have yet been able to find a suitable project to work on. At its onset, this research cluster will involve Ahmadu Bello University in Nigeria, Makerere University in Uganda, the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and the University of Edinburgh.
This project will build interdisciplinary research capacity around the overlapping fields of digital education, sociology, and carbon innovation to reconcile, insofar as possible, the contested nature of the scaling inherent to the SDGs and New Urban Agenda: greater educational provision and widening participation, particularly around gender; greater technological access and use; and a lessened carbon impact.
The cluster will use the New Urban Agenda as an interdisciplinary frame to explore what role higher education plays in executing the digital and educational tenets of this approach, and the environmental impact of such activity in sub-Saharan Africa. The New Urban Agenda is an action-oriented document which sets global standards in sustainable urban development, rethinking the way cities are built, managed, and lived in, which has significant implications for educational and technological provision. The New Urban Agenda binds signatories to provide basic services for all citizens, including access to education and technologies; and to improve connectivity to innovative green initiatives to find solutions to urban challenges, most notably carbon emissions and climate change.
First meeting for us all at the University of Dar es Salaam in June so more to come.