Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Africa varsities asked to reform programmes

The Director of Research and Programmes at the Association of African Universities, John Ssebuwufu, has advised managements of tertiary institutions in Africa to reform and tailor their educational programmes to meet the projective sector of the economy.

Mr. John Ssebuwufu

“School authorities need to shift from the colonial programmes and repackage their courses to train graduates with critical thinking and analysis as well as problem solving to help develop interventions to solve the continents many developmental challenges”, he said.

Ssebuwufu gave the advice at the sideline of a two-day forum in Accra to deliberate on a synergy between tertiary institutions and productive industries.

The event was organized by the Association of African Universities (AAU) and the Association of University and Colleges of Canada (AUCC).

It was held under the theme “Strengthening Linkages between, Industry and the Productive Sector and Higher Education Institutions in Africa.”

“Africa is endowed with natural resources and we need to train graduates to be entrepreneurs to help optimize these resources with creative talent and facilitate rapid development in the continent,” Ssebuwufu said.

Synergies between higher education institutions and industries, according to him, could play a critical role in securing and leveraging additional resources for higher education, promoting innovation and technology transfer, and ensuring that graduates had the skills and knowledge required to effectively contribute to the workforce.

He observed that there was a lack of data to provide a comprehensive and informed picture of what steps African higher education institutions have already taken and what is needed to provide a strengthened, more comprehensive platform for building partnerships with the productive sector.

Ssebuwufu added that a study conducted by the AAU and AUCC, revealed that about 133 institutions across Africa had taken initial steps to promote industry linkages through the establishment of dedicated offices and personnel, the promotion of industry linkages in strategic plans, consultancy services, and student attachments, among other actions.

“However, limited funds to support such linkages, lack of research infrastructure, including the absence of science parks and technology incubators, lack of qualified researchers and limited expertise in entrepreneurialism, and marketing, among other factors, represent significant challenges.”

Source The New Times

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