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  International research

Report cover for research project in ZimbabweInternationalisation of Higher Education (IHE) Policy Development, Implementation and Review: The Case of Zimbabwe

Between 2017 and 2020, the Chairholder, Professor Juliet Thondhlana and partner, Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (ZIMCHE) embarked on an initiative to develop a national IHE Policy for Zimbabwe, working under the auspices of the University of Nottingham-ZIMCHE partnership supported through the university's ESRC IAA fund. The policy provides targets/milestones for key stakeholders and universities to attain by 2023.

The IHE policy was designed to harmonise the way Zimbabwean universities approach internationalisation. The policy guides universities to develop their institutional policies and strategies, aligning them with national priorities, institutional goals and SDGs 4 and 8. The process included:

  • a baseline study and development of a theory of change (thus, allowing for longer-term impact evaluation)
  • six stakeholder engagement and expert guided policy development workshops
  • presentation and approval by the Higher Education Minister, representing the Zimbabwean Government
  • implementation of the policy by universities between 2020-2022.

The team are now reviewing the extent to which Zimbabwean universities and key stakeholders (such as the Ministries of Higher Education; Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs) have met the targets, the challenges met and the necessary interventions. The review involves a survey and interviews (with stakeholders/policy implementors and beneficiaries) on the achievement of targets, best practices, gaps and possible solutions.

The project is being funded through the University of Nottingham’s Faculty of Social Sciences KE and Impact Acceleration Fund as well as the School of Education RKE funding. Findings of the policy review will be disseminated and discussed at a policy engagement workshop with key stakeholders including universities and policymakers.

Photos below show policy makers, vice chancellors, pro-vice chancellors, registrars, ZIMCHE and researchers at the workshop to present the national policy framework of the internationalisation of higher education in Zimbabwe in January 2020.

Male and female delegates at a conference in Zimbabwe
Group photo of male and female colleagues working on a HE project in Zimbabwe

Writing for Sustainable Development: Developing, mentoring and strengthening African grant and research writing for publication (2023-2024)

In 2019 the Chairholder, Professor Juliet Thondhlana and partners, Professor Evelyn Garwe and the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education ran a successful BA writing workshop for 12 Early Career Researchers (ECRs) selected from six Sub-Saharan Africa countries:

  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria
  • South Africa
  • Uganda
  • Zimbabwe

The workshop was aimed at strengthening the Sub-Saharan African participants’ grant and research writing for publication. 

View official opening of the workshop on Youtube

Building on this success the Chairholder, partner Professor Evelyn Garwe and new partner, the Association of African University (AAU) will run additional British Academy sponsored writing workshops under the UNESCO Chair in 2023-2024 with a view to contributing to UNESCO’s Operational Strategy for Priority Africa.  

The workshops, which target the 2019 workshop alumni, aim to strengthen the research and grant writing, as well as mentoring capacities of alumni, create sustainable networks and train new early career researchers (ECRs). The workshops are inspired by the need to create more impact across the alumni through networking, harnessing, and sharing good practices by those who have done well and strengthening the capacities of those facing challenges. Acquiring grant writing skills would enable alumni to secure funding for research, a critical challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa. The additional workshops will also provide an opportunity to increase impact by taking on board new ECRs who will be mentored by alumni (whom they can easily identify with and get inspiration from) with the support of experts and journal editors. 

The emphasis in this round of workshops is on co-planning, peer learning, mentoring, networking and thereby creating an ‘intellectual community’ able to document research into articles publishable in reputable outlets both in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. The planned workshops will facilitate and strengthen mutual learning and sustainable partnerships among alumni, new ECRs, senior researchers and editors of international journals in the Global South and Global North. Such interaction is intended to strengthen the likelihood of knowledge and work generated by researchers from Sub-Saharan Africa to be recognised, funded, published more widely and cited in international journals where their knowledge and work can contribute to academic debates that shape sustainable futures of development in Africa and globally.

The physical workshop will be held in Accra, Ghana, the headquarters of the AAU, and will leverage the University of Nottingham’s existing relationship with the AAU as the host for the AAU Europe Regional Office. The AAU has a membership base across the entire continent, hence its involvement in the workshops will increase the impact of the writing workshops through its role of supporting networking and capacity building workshops among its member universities. 

Click on flags to find out more about each country

GhanaGhana flag

KenyaKenya flag

NigeriaNigeria flag

South AfricaSouth Africa flag

UgandaUganda flag

ZimbabweZimbabwe flag



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