Dar hosts data-driven regional programme for University leaders

Fifty senior leaders from higher education institutions and donor-funded projects in Nigeria were in Dar es Salaam for a five-day data-driven regional programme delivered by UONGOZI Institute in collaboration with Sao Koopman of Nigeria.

The regional programme which began on Monday sought to leverage data analytics for better decision-making and strategic planning in higher learning institutions and donor-funded projects.

It was part of Uongozi Institute’s short-term executive education programmes which are supported by the governments of Tanzania and Finland.

Participants have been exploring ways to transform data into actionable insights to inform decisions and create sustainable solutions.

Uongozi Institute’s Acting Head of Executive Education, Emmanuel Tessua, told the ‘Daily News’ that the programme is delivered face-to-face and the format is highly practical and interactive.

It features lectures, stimulating discussions, case studies, group exercises and applications to participants’ business contexts for a varied and dynamic learning experience, he said.

According to him the programme allows participants to comprehend the core concepts related to data for decision-making, and learn how to interpret data and share findings in a way that inspires action.

The programme helps them to understand key metrics to monitor organisational performance and predict future trends, and identify the right team to build a data-driven culture at their organisations.

Sao Koopman Executive Director, Saryum Okorare said her organisation and Uongozi Institute teamed up to deliver the programme because leveraging data analytics has increasingly become crucial for making informed and strategic decisions.

She said the programme would help participants shift from intuition-based or gut feeling decision-making to data-driven decision-making.

“Upon interaction with leaders across Africa we realized most of these leaders, currently at the age bracket of 45-65 thereabout, are alien to evidence-based decision making with respective data.

“Whether we like or not these people are leading agencies, projects and interventions and are expected to give us good results but we usually see some of them make decisions out of intuition…and gut feeling…”

“We want them to go beyond that gut feeling. We want to see objectivity in decision-making. We want to see risk mitigation in decision-making. We want to see scalability in decision-making,” she said.

The Director of Special Interventions at Lagos State University, Prof Oseni Taiwo Afisi said the training programme would help them to make more informed and evidence-based decisions and strategic planning.

“The lessons we learnt here will help us quite significantly in data collection and management and making informed decisions from evidence,” said Prof Taiwo Afisi.

“Most of us are not specialists in data science, so the training is entirely different from what we learnt. It will give us more insight on how we can use data for development of our institutions,” he said.

Prof Lami NNamonu of the Centre Director of World Bank Project Spesse Project at the Federal University of Agriculture, at Makurdi, Nigeria said the programme was important because data-driven decision-making had become an essential skill for modern leaders.

“The data-driven programme is teaching us how to get information from data we gather so that we will be able to make informed decisions that will take our organisations forward …(and) our projects to help us achieve the desired goals,” she said.

The programme would help them excel as leaders as the use of data analytics has become an essential component of contemporary decision-making and problem-solving.

We have learnt a lot of new things that will help us survive and excel as leaders in the 21st century. We have learnt different methods and technology regarding data collection, data analysis and managing data to make informed decisions to go to the next step,” she said.

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