2021 Pan African School For Emerging Astronomers (PASEA) Call For Hosting

Release from Centre for Basic Space Science, Nnsukka, Nigeria

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Some participants at WAISSYA 2019

The Pan African School for Emerging Astronomers (PASEA) formerly known as West African International Summer School for Young Astronomers (WAISSYA), is an innovative short course in astronomy for African university students and high school teachers that are designed and taught by a global collaboration of astronomers using educational research principles. 

The school is designed to allow African science students to further develop their interest in astronomy, inspire their scientific curiosity, and enhance their practices of scientific thinking; it is also designed to allow instructors to exchange educational ideas between Africa and North America/Europe. The most recent school was held between 21 October – 1 November 2019, at the National Space Research and Development Agency, (NASRDA), Abuja Nigeria. 

PASEA already has 250 alumni, many of whom are teaching science or attending graduate school in astronomy or related fields. The 2021 edition of PASEA will be the fifth in the role. Click here for more information. PASEA is designed to rotate between countries in Africa, this is targeted to ensure that as many African students as possible are exposed to Astronomy. The local to foreign students’ ratio for each session of the school is about 70:30. The previous schools were held in Ghana and Nigeria, but students also attended from Burkina Faso, Senegal, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Cameroon, Congo, and Togo. 

Having expanded the scope of the school to include all African countries, the PASEA team are hereby calling any interested country or Institution in Africa willing to host the next edition of PASEA, in 2021, to indicate their interest. 

The school

The School runs two (2) streams of postgraduate and undergraduate, with a total of 70 students; 20 postgraduate students and 50 undergraduate students. The school is taught by a team of instructors working in North America, Australia, and Africa, who are familiar with our innovative curriculum. We aim for at least 12 Instructors to attend each school, some of whom should come from the host institute/country. The school is a one-week intensive teaching and learning experience for students, preceded by a one-week instructors’ workshop to enable instructors to acquaint themselves with the Inquiry-based method of teaching. Instructors are usually paired for effective delivery and to facilitate the exchange of teaching ideas. 

Benefits of hosting PASEA

PASEA has a team of instructors drawn from different parts of the world. Students/participants from the host country will have the opportunity of getting both national and international exposure as well as mentorship. PASEA will enable the host country to promote her academic programme and build capacity for its students and staff.

PASEA will provide an opportunity for existing Astronomy community in the host country to come together. 

Expression of interest

Interested institutes/countries should indicate their interest to host the 2021 edition of PASEA by writing an expression of interest, explaining why they would like to host PASEA 2021. Please email your expression of interest to paseadirectors@gmail.com, you may call or WhatsApp any of the following numbers for further clarification: +234 806 466 2538, +1 647 783 4096, +44 7835 296079. You will be contacted for more information after receiving your expression of interest. 

Two institutes or countries could decide to co-host the School in terms of funding, to give access to more resources and allow students from neighbouring countries to attend more easily. Some Instructors can raise their travel fare. The Centre for Basic Science Nsukka Nigeria has designed acceptable selection criteria to enable the host institution to make a selection of participants without bias. 

Hosting criteria

We will consider these criteria when choosing a host for the School. We recognize that it may be challenging for some interested institutes to meet all of these criteria; if one of them is problematic for you, please talk to us and so that we can together find a way forward. 

  1. Travel safety: The country must ensure the safety of all participants and instructors (local and foreign) and must be free from any contagious disease outbreak.
  2. Local organization: The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) should be reliable and easy to reach, and will coordinate all local logistical aspects of the School. 
  3. Organization’s resources: The host country should be able to provide accommodation and feeding throughout the school, for all instructors and students selected to attend.
  4. Raising further funds: The host should have a plan for raising further funds for hosting the School to cover students’ travel. The host Institute, CBSS, and a team of Instructors can collaborate to write joint proposals for funding. These may also be needed to cover some Instructors’ travel expenses. 
  5. Local student-base: Local students usually make up 70~80% of the participants. Having that level of interested local students is vital, especially with limited funds for supporting the travel of international participants. This suggests an organization located close to a metropolitan area or university. 

The deadline for the expression of interest is July 31, 2020