Expanding Horizons: PNG University of Technology and University of Fiji Embrace Collaborative Learning for Energy Access in Nairobi

By Kai Forster, Nomanesi Makhonco and Jiska de Groot

In a dynamic meeting of more than 50 educators from Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Indo-Pacific, the University of Fiji and the Papua New Guinea University of Technology (PNG UoT) participated in the transformative Course Uptake Workshop hosted in Nairobi from 5 -9 June 2023 at Strathmore University. This workshop, organized by the Transforming Energy Access Learning Partnership (TEA-LP), marked a pivotal moment in the evolution of capacity enhancement in the TEA Platform, highlighting the importance of cross-cultural collaboration and innovative teaching approaches.

TEA-LP team with Papua New Guinea University of Technology and University of Fiji representatives

Dr. Shoeb Ahmed Syed and Dr. Tingneyuc Sekac from Papua New Guinea University of Technology (PNGUoT), along with Dr. Sekovo Vodo and Dr. Ramendra Prasad from the University of Fiji (UF), came together with other distinguished educators to explore innovative teaching methodologies tailored for a rapidly evolving and dynamic world. The central objective of the workshop was to facilitate the integration of three new Master’s-level courses developed by TEA-LP (Course #1 – Local solutions for Energy Access; Course #2 – Mini-grids: Planning and Design; and Course #3 – Appliances for Off-grid communities), signifying a significant step forward in higher energy access education. This initiative gained further momentum as representatives from both PNGUoT and UF found themselves immersed in a vibrant sharing of perspectives and discussions about the future of education for achieving universal energy access.

Fostering Collaborative Exchange

The workshop, part of a broader suite of activities of the TEA-LP Network, provided a fertile ground for the exchange of ideas and constructive debate, as academics from diverse backgrounds engaged in conversations about improving energy access and the future trajectory of education.

Exploring differences and similarities for curriculum uptake in discussion group. From left: Prof. Nofri Yenita Dahlan, Prof. Mohd Najib Mohd Hussain Prof. Azlin Mohd Azmi (Universiti Teknologi Mara), Dr. Shoeb Ahmed Syed, Dr. Tingneyuc Sekac (Papua New Guinea University of Technology), Dr.Keith Phiri, Miss Precious Ngwenya (Lupane State University), Dr. Ramendra Prasad, Dr. Sekovo Vodo (University of Fiji) and Prof. Zaffar ( Lahore University of Management Sciences).

Beyond the realm of the curriculum development approach of the TEA-LP, attendees recognised the potential for joint projects, research collaborations, and student exchange programs. This exciting prospect could pave the way for a more integrated, internationally equitable and globally aware approach to energy education. Dr. Ramendra Prasad from the University of Fiji expressed enthusiasm about the workshop, stating:

“I am looking forward to strengthened collaborations and working together.”

Dr Sekovo Vodo, Dr Ramendra Prasad, (University of Fiji) and Dr. Shoeb Ahmed Syed (Papua New Guinea University of Technology) presenting at course uptake workshop.

Forward Momentum

As the university partners returned to their respective institutions, they carried with them a wealth of insights, strategies, and connections that are poised to shape the future of their teaching endeavours. Dr. Tingneyuc Sekac from PNGUoT expressed his gratitude for the workshop’s success and the connections formed during the event.

“It has been a great opportunity to participate in this workshop. Thank you all for being together for 5 days knowing each other and establishing connections”

The collaborative effort of the workshop and its participants embodies the spirit of progress and unity of the TEA-LP. As these universities continue their individual TEA-LP journeys, the echoes of this workshop will undoubtedly reverberate in the classrooms, research initiatives, and collaborative projects that lie ahead. The TEA-LP Course Uptake Workshop serves as a testament to the transformative power of collaboration among universities from different corners of the globe. It showcases the remarkable impact that can be achieved when institutions with shared goals come together to share knowledge and forge new pathways in education.

 How to get in contact with the TEA-LP Network

For more information about the TEA-LP Network and its activities, please email Jiska de Groot (Jiska.degroot@uct.ac.za).