The Transforming Energy Access - Learning Partnership (TEA-LP) aims to support higher-education institutions based in Africa in the development of new curricula centred on the theme of sustainable energy access for all.
The TEA programme aims to foster the development of innovative technologies, business models, partnerships and skills that will accelerate access to affordable, clean energy services for households and enterprises in developing countries.
Energy access is expected to grow rapidly in the medium-term (up to 2030) as the continent strives to achieve SDG 7. While grid expansion remains the prioritised means of African policy-makers for delivering electricity, recent years have witnessed notable shifts towards off-grid and mini-grid renewable energy systems.These shifts have driven by pay-as-you-go business models and ‘plug-and-play’ solar technology (SHS and pico- generation), which have the potential to provide increasing employment opportunities for creative and innovative professionals who have the necessary competencies.
However, there are very few tertiary programmes with a specific focus on energy access (defined here very broadly to cover multiple clean generation, storage and appliance technologies, as well as the requirements of the broader enabling environment). TEA-LP aims to address the skills and competency gaps at the tertiary level by supporting the development of new postgraduate courses and degrees that respond directly to the longer-term needs of this sector.
There was an overwhelming response to the Request for Proposals with 40 universities applying for the curriculum development support. Eight universities have been selected to participate in the Learning Partnership. TEA-LP will help them with the development of a clean energy access focused Master’s curriculum, with the long-term objective of providing talented professional graduates with the skills and competencies to support Africa’s growing clean energy access sector.
Objectives and activities
Technical and financial assistance to African universities to develop new curricula
The selected universities will receive direct financial support to develop their new curricula and will be provided with additional technical assistance by a team from the University of Cape Town. This technical and financial assistance will support universities with the following activities:
The development of a market needs assessment, curriculum and content development, staff training, business plan development for sustainable operation and accreditation process.
UCT will also host three capacity building workshops for university teams, with the first one to be held in Nairobi in August 2019.
Building an African academic network for energy access
The second component aims to build an academic network beyond the initial eight universities participating in this first phase. It aims to stimulate both north-south and south-south academic linkages, as well as foster greater industry-academic linkages. These activities will include an online web information resource, webinars, mobility funding for attending conferences and industry events, facilitating industry/academic linkages and continuing to seek co-funding to support further expansion of the network and continued financial support for the eight universities in implementing their new programmes.
The first phase of the TEA-LP commenced in March 2019 and will run until September 2021.
The ACDI is implementing the programme. The TEA-LP team is responsible for managing the selection of universities, overseeing their curriculum development processes, provision of further technical support as required and fostering an active partnership between the universities, linked to other TEA projects.