East Africans share a common geography, history and cultures, and have also recognized regional integration as a critical pathway to economic and social development. Before and after independence from Britain in the early 1960s, there was strong economic cooperation and a collective hope for federation. However, irreconcilable ideological differences led to the ignominious collapse of the first East African Community in the late 1970s. About two decades later, the realities of the New World Order helped birth the second Community, intent on proceeding to full regional integration. This intention has been hampered by among other things a low level of awareness and participation by stakeholders in the region. Higher Education, especially the university sector in East Africa, needs to be closely involved in the integration process and thereby contribute to development on a regional basis. One way of doing this is to revive and revitalize the spirit that once linked East African public universities together, and to strengthen and explore new avenues for cooperation. Private universities on the other hand have mainly been established with regional mandates. They have a strong tradition of community development, but need to further expand their presence in the region, as the potential for such exists. Further, the education systems in member countries need adjustments to support cross-border enrollment in East African universities. Discussions on these actual and potential initiatives lead to reflections on possible areas of research and action.
|Keywords:||Regional Integration, Poverty Eradication, Higher Education Policy|
Lecturer, Institute for Educational Development, Aga Khan University, Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania
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