Strategic Leadership and Planning in Higher Education and Research Institutes: policy directions for the learning futures

Executive Seminar 
Wednesday 1st August 2018 (10:00-14:00)
Khartoum – Sudan

National Center for Research 
World Association for Sustainable Development (WASD)
Sudan Knowledge (SK)
Middle Eastern Knowledge Economy Institute, UK
P3 Transform Ltd, UK
Salih Hamad Training & Capacity Building Centre, Sudan

Target audience: Higher Education and Research Centres/Institutes officials, minsters, undersecretaries, vice chancellors, directors, deans, head of department, academics, researchers, students, youth, NGOs (voluntary) and civil society groups (public), professionals, businesses and other stakeholders particularly the private sector managers responsible for leading change and transformation efforts, Managers and directors responsible for transformation, projects, programmes, knowledge, innovation or change management.

Focus: Higher education, universities, research institutions, colleges, knowledge-based economy and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Aims and objectives

This seminar has been designed to introduce a variety of perspectives on leadership in the public and private sector with more focus on the higher education institutions (universities and research institutes). The seminar aims to enable leaders and decision makers to introduce fit-for-purpose leadership styles and approaches to their universities and research institutes. At the end of the seminar attendees should be able to acquire a comprehensive knowledge and practical experience about leadership styles and approaches in alignment with the local needs and capabilities.

The key objectives of the seminar are:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of the theoretical and practical aspects to leadership within HE, and to develop the essential skills and competencies necessary to plan, monitor and control different tasks and events.
  • Develop an understanding of the different approaches to leadership and management to ensure HE is at peace with itself.
  • How universities and research institutes can reposition and rebrand themselves as an excellent provider of transformative education and research, achieve national and international recognition.
  • How universities and research institutes can handle effectively the changing expectations of students; increased competition in the sector; reduction in income; changing technology and other issues.
  • How to ensure universities and research institutes are confident about their future.


Today, more than ever before in human history, the wealth or poverty of nations depends on the quality of higher education (HE). Revolutionary breakthroughs in the knowledge economy are leading to remarkable changes in the way forward-looking nations capacitate their graduates. In this era of global skills and knowledge race, all universities cannot fail to realise, accept and accomplish its natural and ascribed roles as a strategic agent for national development. Universities must confront new realities rapidly manifesting themselves in a diversely complex and fast-changing world. Business as usual will not suffice. Universities need to be expansively re-focused in order to become more sensitive and responsive to its mission of developing graduates who, in addition to conventional graduate training, are also able to fight the intellectual battle for self-confidence and self-assertion as equal players in the global and intensely competitive knowledge economy.

Whilst there has been a tremendous growth in size, the expansion of HE in almost all Arab countries has caused average quality of education to decline as resources are stretched increasingly thin. Essentially, the expansion has been less differentiated and, therefore, ill-planned to confront emergent development needs. Rather, what is evident is a stupendous replication of traditional disciplinary-based techniques of knowledge production. These have, nevertheless, increased the richness of knowledge about the universe we live in but without apparently translating or transforming the catchment societal environments in terms of measurable productive capacities. There are also grave concerns that HE in most Arab countries is becoming increasingly obsolete which, in part, is why development programmes are stultified even from the outset. There are also serious issues regarding the under-performance in research – state of academic research is less-than-satisfactory in almost all universities in the Arab countries. Therefore, Arab HE institutions must confront the ‘new realities’ evident in the environments in which they operate. Many scholars and policy makers have called for a transformative innovation agenda which embraces radical change for new synthesis and approaches for transforming HE in the Arab countries.

Youth in the Arab region are growing fast and governments in the region expect their universities and research institutes to make a leading contribution by producing graduates ready to grasp the various opportunities generated in the digital economy. It is therefore important that all HE institutions and societies to consider the youth in all their curriculum design, programs development as well as fulfilling their role as major agents in the realisation of the various future strategic visions in most countries in the region. According to recent reports by the World Bank, with a large youth representation and youth unemployment ratio, the Arab region faces a potential crisis and the education sector should be reformed to include specific qualifications and specialisations in the digital economy. The private sector can play a larger role in helping governments and academia focus investments on high-priority and high demand skills, thus young students are ready for employment the moment they graduate.

  • Understanding the problems in managing HE
  • Aspects of transforming learning and teaching
  • Role of HE in knowledge-based economy (KE)
  • Effective leadership in HE
  • Strategic leadership and planning
  • Leadership skills and tactics
  • Discussion and reflection

Venue and Registration

The seminar is co-organised and hosted by the National Centre for Research. ALL participants must register in advance to attend the seminar, to register please contact the coordinator on 00 249 112070825 to pre-book your place at the seminar.

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