Professor Etienne E. Ehile, General Secretary of the Association of African Univesities (AAU) says improving the quality of education is the best investment any nation can make, as economies thrive on their human resources.
He said African nations could reach their full potential in development only when their human resource base was of very high quality through the best education.
‘It is in this light that we, as the pacesetters of the Higher Education (HE) in Africa have a great responsibility to focus all our efforts, expertise and knowledge in ensuring that we do not fail our countries.
Professor Ehile was addressing the 18th Conference of Rectors, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of African Universities, (COREViP) in the Rwandan Capital, Kigali, to deliberate on improving higher education in Africa.
He said, ‘In meeting the high expectations of society, we must acknowledge that we each have our weaknesses, strengths and challenges and can therefore not remarkably meet these expectations in solitude and It is for this reason that the organization of the COREViP is highly critical.
The Conference of Rectors, Vice-Chancellors and Presidents of African Universities is an assembly of the Chief Executive Officers of member-institutions, or their representatives.
It meets every two years with the purpose of collectively examining themes identified as common concerns and priorities for the development of higher education in member-institutions.
The AAU, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education of Rwanda and the University of Rwanda (UR), is organizing the Conference which is on the theme: ‘Internationalization of Higher Education in Africa’.
Ghana has a 21-member delegation attending the meeting, including Professor Joshua Alabi, Vice Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Dr Fred Awaa of the All Nations University, Prof Esi.Awuah, University of Energy and Natural Resources, Prof Sam K. Offei of the University of Ghana, Prof Dabire Kuupole, Cape Coast University, and Prof E Y Danquah from the University of Ghana.
Professor Ehile said the theme for the conference was timely and relevant, for a number of reasons.
For example, he said, the world today, had become more interconnected across boundaries and so was the boundaries of higher education.
‘Internationalizing exudes an infinite set of opportunities that we all need to take advantage of.
In reflecting internationalization in every aspect of our discourse; curriculum, research, students and staff body, as well as, in all other areas of our work, we overcome our individual challenges and tap into the rich pool of expertise of each other.
Professor Ehile said as members of the global knowledge economy, universities all over the world were increasingly being encouraged to internationalize or plug into the “world system,” in order to reap the benefits of global interconnectedness.
He added that to be effective in internationalizing, the capacity of Higher Education Institutions HEIs needed to be built and ‘It is in this line that the African Union Harmonisation strategy for HE, supported by the revised Arusha Convention, covers among other things: the design of common curriculum development frameworks to enable comparability and equivalences of learning outcomes in African Universities.
‘I am optimistic that these initiatives are going to strengthen our efforts and we are all going to vigorously pursue the discourse of internationalization.
The four-day meeting will be reflecting on the conference’s theme and five carefully selected sub themes: Quality and Harmonization; Mobility and Transferability of Credits; New Modes of Teaching and Learning; Curriculum Relevance and Employability and Emerging Centres of Excellence in Africa.
As an Association, the AAU is dedicated to conceptualizing the new African graduate, examining how universities can become effective vehicles of sustainable development, how to improve higher education advancement and how to develop new partnerships with diverse stakeholders both in and outside Africa. GNA