The Association of African Universities (AAU) in collaboration with Ghanaian Universities on Tuesday marked African University Day in Accra.
The occasion, which was held on the theme “Changing Higher Education Landscape in Africa: highlighting success stories,” brought together key figures from the various universities in Ghana and international donor agencies, alongside an exhibition show mounted by the institutions.
In his address, Professor Etienne E. Ehile, AAU Secretary-General said since the 1980s, higher education in Africa was given reduced focus by leading donor countries, international agencies and some African governments, resulting in the relative neglect of Africa’s higher education institutions.
“But we are pleased and exceedingly encouraged that this situation has turned and sanity has prevailed leading to a renewed global focus on higher education as the pivot for national development.
“In fact, as the new century dawned in Africa, democratic ideals and an eagerness for a more robust higher educational system deepened in a number of nations seeking African solutions to African challenges,” he stated.
He said the African University Day was instituted and given international backing as a result of the close link between the Organization of African Unity (now African Union) and the AAU.
He said the AAU is the designated lead implementing agency on higher education in the African Union’s Second Decade of Education for Africa (2006-2015).
Prof Ehile observed that through its Quality Assurance Programme, the Association is collaborating with the African Union Commission, to among other things promote quality development and assurance in African higher education in all its dimensions, including the development of regional and continental frameworks, to facilitate the mobility of students and staff.
He said the AAU had also been instrumental in building the capacity of member universities through its programmes, notably the Leadership Development Programme and the Management Development Programme.
The Secretary-General said leaders of most African Universities are now focusing on strategic planning, decentralization, innovation and experimentation in their efforts to revitalize the Universities.
He said the AAU had been appointed by the World Bank as the facilitation unit for African Centres of Excellence (ACE) Project.
Prof Ehile explained that the ACE Project seeks to promote regional specialization among universities within areas that address regional development challenges, and strengthen the capacities of these universities to deliver high quality training and applied research.
He said of the 15 Centres of Excellence in West and Central Africa, selected under the ACE Project in October this year, three of them are from Ghana.
Prof Mahama Duwiejua, Executive Secretary of the National Council for Tertiary Education urged African Universities to provide hope of a better and fuller life for the present and future generations.
Prof Joshua Alabi, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), who chaired the function, gave an overview of the success journey of the University.
He said UPSA is rebranding itself to provide and promote quality higher academic and professional education in the business and other related social sciences. GNA