Meta-profile and competencies for harmonisation of higher education in sector-specific technology areas: A case study of Renewable Energy in Southern Africa

  • Wilfried Zörner Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt, Institute of new Energy Systems
  • Nawaz Mahomed Stellenboch University
  • Ackim Zulu University of Zambia
  • Tobias Bader Botswana International University of Science and Technology
  • Chifundo Tenthani University of Malawi
  • Boaventura Cuamba University Eduardo Mondlane
  • Hilton Chingosho University of Zimbabwe
Keywords: harmonisation, generic competencies, specific competencies, metaprofile, curriculum development, renewable energy


The aim of this study was to develop the profile and competencies of a harmonised curriculum for a multi-country regional sector-specific higher education programme. The study, which was based on a case study of Renewable Energy involving six countries in Southern Africa, was based on established methodologies proposed by previous studies on harmonisation and profiling of higher education programmes. The study uses a general curriculum development approach leading to the definition of generic and specific competencies and feeding into a learning taxonomy to create alignment with specific learning outcomes at the intended qualification level. However, the approach extends the harmonisation concept to include industrialisation potential, which is crucial in the developing-country context. This allows for the exploitation of shared resources in sector-specific technology areas and supports the development of regional standards on technology and practice, as part of developing a sustainable regional economic sector. Twentytwo competencies, encompassing both generic and specific competencies, were defined. These competencies were grouped into six key competence areas, and later transformed into four clusters of competencies: core competencies, hard skills, soft skills and attitudes. These four clusters were then placed on a planetary system to represent the meta-profile for the qualification, which forms the framework for the future design of learning materials for the qualification.

Received: 24 June 2019
Accepted: 5 October 2020

Author Biographies

Wilfried Zörner, Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt, Institute of new Energy Systems

Holds a Ph.D. degree as Dr.-Ing. in Mechanical Engineering (Solar Energy Systems) from the Technical University Munich, Germany. Besides his current position as Professor for Product Development and Design (since 1998), including teaching in Renewable Energy, Solar Engineering, Product Design, Design Elements, Pneumatics and Cost Management, he is the Head of Institute at the Institute of new Energy Systems (InES) at Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt, Germany. His research works includes, but is not limited to, the responsibility for numerous national and international research projects in the area of bio-energy, solar energy and energy systems technology. Prof. Zörner has built up a strong network of local, Bavarian state, German federal and international funding institutions. He has seven years of professional experience in the engineering and plant construction industry, is a member of numerous tasks within the Solar Heating and Cooling Programme of the International Energy Agency, the advisory committee of the German Solar Thermal Technology Platform (DSTTP) and of numerous scientific conference committees. Prof Zörner provides consultancy for industry in the field of (renewable) energy provision and energy efficiency. Mail:

Nawaz Mahomed, Stellenboch University

Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He obtained his bachelors and masters degrees in engineering at the University of Cape Town, after which he completed his PhD in the field of computational mechanics at the Institute for Fundamental Technological Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw. He initially started his career as an academic from 1995 until 1999 at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). He then spent the following 10 years at various organisations which included the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Department (Ministry) of Science and Technology and the Institute for Maritime Technology (ARMSCOR), before being appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at CPUT in 2010. He joined Stellenbosch University in 2015, mainly working in the fields of solidification, heat treatment and performance optimisation of steel. Mail:

Ackim Zulu, University of Zambia

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at University of Zambia (UNZA) with research interests in energy & power and in education development. Before joining UNZA in 1993, he worked for one year for the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines as Senior Assistant Engineer. He has a PhD degree in electrical machines from Newcastle University (UK). He is a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) (UK), the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) (USA) and the Power and Energy Society of IEEE. Mail:

Tobias Bader, Botswana International University of Science and Technology

Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical, Energy and Industrial Engineering at Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) with research interests in renewable energy, sustainable urban building energy and engineering education. Before joining BIUST in 2017, he worked for five years as Research Engineer at the Institute of new Energy Systems in Germany and held positions in Quality Management and Technology Management in the Industry for 6 years. He has a PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering with specialisation in Solar-Air-Conditioning from De Montfort University Leicester (UK) in Collaboration with TH Ingolstadt (Germany). He is a YEP Member of the World Energy Council and Founding Secretary of the Renewable Energy Association Botswana (REAB). Mail:

Chifundo Tenthani, University of Malawi

Senior Lecturer in the Department of Physics and Biochemical Sciences at the Malawi Polytechnic of the University of Malawi with research interests in renewable energy, and climate change. He has a Master of Science degree in Renewable Energy with specialisation in Solar from Makerere University (Uganda). He is a Country Representative for Malawi for the African Network for Solar Energy (ANSOLE). He is also the Country Counterpart for IAEA’s AFRA 2010 Project for Malawi. Mail:

Boaventura Cuamba, University Eduardo Mondlane

Holds a PhD degree in Energy Physics from the Northumbria University in the UK, in 1996. He is now Professor of Renewable Energy Systems at the Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique. He teaches different Physics modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well as courses in the renewable energy. Professor Cuamba has been participating in many national and international research programmes in the field of renewable energies, funded by organisations like the Norwegian Development Agency, NORAD, the Swedish Development Agency, SIDA, the German Development Agency, DAAD, among others. He also participates in several consulting activities in the energy field with organisations like the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the European Union, among others. He is a member of professional associations like the German Physical Society (Deutsche Physikalische Gesellschaft-DPG), of the British Institute of Physics (IoP) and of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES). He is Member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the International Journal “Management of Environmental Quality (MEQ)” from Emerald Publisher and member of several scientific conference Committees. Mail:

Hilton Chingosho, University of Zimbabwe

Registered engineer and currently a Lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Zimbabwe, with research interests in Renewable Energy, Energy Storage, Energy Efficiency, Management and Auditing. Before joining UZ in 2016, he worked as a Projects Officer for UNICEF, Practical Action and as a Lead Energy consultant for HIVOS, a Netherlands Humanist Development Organisation. He is a PhD candidate and a holder of a Master of Science Degree in Renewable Energy from University of Zimbabwe (UZ). He is a Certified Energy Manager CEM (USA), an International Member of the Association of Energy Engineers (USA) and a professional member of the Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers. Mail:


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How to Cite
Zörner, Wilfried, Nawaz Mahomed, Ackim Zulu, Tobias Bader, Chifundo Tenthani, Boaventura Cuamba, and Hilton Chingosho. 2020. “Meta-Profile and Competencies for Harmonisation of Higher Education in Sector-Specific Technology Areas: A Case Study of Renewable Energy in Southern Africa”. Tuning Journal for Higher Education 8 (1), 75-97.