22 Feb, 2023

Reflecting on CIES 2023: ESSA's Contributions to Improving Education

Education Sub-Saharan Africa was excited to participate in the 67th annual Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) Conference for 2023, which took place virtually and in person in Washington DC, USA, from 14 to 22 February 2023.

Our senior research manager, Dr Samuel Asare, together with partners from The Education Collaborative, had the incredible opportunity to present thought-provoking and informative papers around this year's theme, 'Improving Education for a More Equitable World'. ESSA engaged in two-panel discussions and connected with existing partners and stakeholders in education.

The first panel discussion explored ways to improve education research funding and productivity in Africa through a collaborative and inclusive research ecosystem led by African researchers in partnership with relevant northern partners. The panellists provided evidence-based perspectives on the role of African researchers in the production of research, how to improve education research productivity for an African-based researcher, the power dynamics in education research funding, and the role of the African diaspora in education research productivity and funding. The round table also highlighted the potential of initiatives such as the Education Research in Africa Award, the Regional Education Learning Initiative, and the Education Research Fund for Africa to promote equity and inclusion in funding and conducting research in Africa.

The second panel discussion drew on social capital theory to explore how tertiary education institutions and industry could work together to identify relevant current and future skills needs and co-develop a curriculum that enables students to develop these skills. The panel shared insights and experiences from the study's participants, including students, employers, academics, and career services professionals from Ghana, Burkina Faso, Kenya, and Rwanda, and discussed the implications of the study's findings for policy and practice in the region. The panel aligned with the CIES 2023 conference Sub-Theme 1: Social Justice and Inclusion.



  • The first presentation, 'Education Research Productivity in Africa: What do we know?', provided insights into the challenges of funding education research in Africa. The presentation highlighted the need for increased funding for education research and the importance of building research capacity in the region. Download this presentation.

  • The second presentation, 'How Tertiary Education and Industry Partnerships can Improve Students’ Employability: Evidence from West and East Africa', was fascinating. It highlighted the importance of partnerships between tertiary education institutions and industry in improving students' employability. The paper is based on a study undertaken in partnership with the Education Collaborative at Ashesi University in Ghana and Kepler in Rwanda to understand how tertiary education institutions in Africa can enhance their career services outcomes to facilitate students' transition to work. Download this presentation.

It was an absolute pleasure to have you join us at CIES 2023. Your support is invaluable in furthering our mission to use evidence to improve outcomes for young people at all levels of education.

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