There has long been a need to bring together all the Enterprise Systems Education for Africa (ESEFA) member universities to discuss the current status of the project, issues currently being dealt with and the future sustainability of ESEFA (www.esefa.ac.za).
The 9th IDIA 2015 Conference in Zanzibar on 8 to 9 November 2015 (co-hosted by the University of Cape Town and Monash University) provided an ideal opportunity to create synergies between an existing international academic conference and ESEFA. By utilizing the funding made available through ESEFA, participating member universities could not only attend the ESEFA workshop, but also participate in the preceding 2-day conference on Development Informatics. In fact, a significant portion of the papers presented for the conference were submitted by ESEFA and SAP UA member universities.
During day 1 and 2 (i.e. the IDIA Conference), 25 papers were presented on various topics such as ICT4D, UX/Visualization, Business Intelligence, Education, Open Data, ICT and Health, Ecology and ICT (here are the hyperlinks to the program and proceedings).
The IDIA conference part of the event closed with a keynote address by Prof. Adenike Osofisan from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria (an SAP UA and ESEFA member university).
Prof. Osofisan shared her vision with an inspiring talk on how Africa should strive to make a number of critical “right-turns” in order to earn its rightful place in the world. She stressed the fact that the African context is unique and that Africa should not expect the rest of the world to provide solutions to African challenges.
Universities should stimulate critical thinking amongst students so that innovative solutions to the challenges of Africa can be derived for Africa, by Africans.
The day was aptly concluded with an unforgettable beach dinner in true Zanzibar style.
The ESEFA workshop on 10 and 11 November covered the following topics:
SAP University Alliances – Overview
ESEFA project – what we have achieved
ESEFA curriculum and ES Fundamentals exam analytics
ICT Skills for Africa
ES Fundamentals teaching challenges
ESEFA programme collaboration and governance
Suggested improvements to the ES Fundamentals curriculum
Long-term sustainability of the ESEFA programme for ESEFA partners
New Curriculum modules:
- Industrial Engineering: Production Execution & Planning
- IS/Business Analysis: Reports Creation (SAP Crystal and SAP Dashboards)
- Accounting – Financial Accounting Integration
- IT/Computer Science – Customising, ABAP
Closure / Wrap-up
The workshop was well-attended by delegates, despite the temptation of the azure water and tropical sunshine outside. The value of the workshop lay in the fact that it addressed not only the achievements of ESEFA over the past two years, but also the challenges that the ESEFA community needs to face to keep the programme running in the future. Financial sustainability was identified as the biggest challenge, especially when viewed against the backdrop of the increasing strain on the financial resources of African universities.
In order to address these challengers collectively and to be able to approach stakeholders such as the SAP user community, a working group was appointed to draft a first version of a constitution for an Academic Board for Africa. The working group’s task is to create a discussion document for review by all ESEFA and interest SAP UA member universities.