Intellectuals call for support for African universities

Members of the academia have appealed to African governments to support universities on the continent to churn out graduates who can create jobs for themselves, other than depending on governments and others for employment.

That, according to them, would help reduce the high rate of unemployment among the youth in many African countries.

Contributing in a discussion to commemorate the African Universities Day Celebration hosted by the All Nations University in Koforidua, the representatives from both the public and private universities in Ghana emphasised the need to bridge the gap between industry and academia.

The African University Day was instituted in 1967 with a close link to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) now African Union to bring African universities together.

In 1994, the then OAU declared 12 November of every year as the African University Day and had since been observed and celebrated.

It currently has over 320 member institutions from both private and public universities across Africa.

Professor Kwasi Adarkwah, former Vice Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), who spoke on the theme: “How Can African Universities Enhance Capacity for Job Creation,” called for partnerships between universities and industries.

He said to be able to monitor the relevance of university programmes to the job market, universities should take interest in the destinations of their graduates and that, he said, called for partnerships.

Professor Adarkwah said it was time African universities implemented suggestions that had been made several times during previous fora of the African University Day to give practical meaning to the objective of the celebration.

Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile, Secretary-General of the Association of the African Universities (AAU), said there appeared to be a mis-match between the educational provisions in Africa and the needs of the labour market, resulting in the twin problems of graduate employability and graduate unemployment.

He noted that Ghana had an association of unemployed graduates, saying the situation was not peculiar to Ghana, but was that of the whole of the African continent, indicating that Africa cannot withstand the impact and therefore must act decisively.

Professor Ehile emphasised that there should be an eagerness for a more robust higher education system, that should seek African solutions to African challenges.

That, he said, must start with public policy reforms, market principles and good governance.

The Secretary-General said the AAU, whose role was to help sustain the dynamic renewal in the universities and promote best practices as per the policy direction of the African Union (AU), would continue to offer support to achieve the expected change. GNA

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