Accra, Professor Etienne E. Ehile, the Secretary General, Association of African Universities (AAU), has said that the Association has aligned itself with the continental educational policies.
These include the African Union’s (AU) global agenda 2063.
He said in pursuit of these goals, AAU has been working harmoniously with several development partners all over the world for capacity building, research and collaboration; whereas, it continues to strengthen its relationship with the AU Commission.
Prof Ehile made this pledge at the opening of the Association’s 14th General Conference and Golden Jubilee Celebration in Accra.
The four-day conference on the theme AAU at 50, Achievements, Challenges and Prospects for Sustainable Development in Africa, is being attended by over 500 chief executives from academia and industry across Africa.
The conference, which was officially opened by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, would discuss the way forward for higher education in Africa.
It would also highlight curriculum reform as key to graduate employability and entrepreneurship, mobilizing resources for higher education in Africa, and higher education as a tool for promoting democratic governance.
The conference is being hosted by Ghana, the National Council for Tertiary Education and the Vice Chancellors Association.
Prof Ehile said the AAU supported networking by African Universities to improve the quality of teaching, research, information exchange and collaboration among themselves and with external stakeholders.
He said there was the need to create a unique platform to promote critical dialogue among stakeholders on how to improve higher education in Africa.
He explained that the conference theme would therefore, help the Association reflect on where they came from and what steps to take in future.
The Secretary General also commended the government for the investments made towards the construction of AAU’s new ultra-modern secretariat.
“Of the 50 years of existence, 47 of these have been lived in Ghana and the Association has tremendously benefitted from the government and people of the Republic of Ghana,” Prof Ehile declared.
Prof Is-haq Olanrewaju Oloyede, former President of the AAU said higher education in Africa had helped Africans to improve their sense of self-worth and provided employment opportunities for millions of people.
He noted that the state of education in Africa reveals largely a gloomy picture but the situation was not insurmountable; adding that, “besides, Africa is not where it was yesterday and things can get better if the necessary things are done”.
Prof Olanrewaju Oloyede said if African governments were busy spending money but not investing sufficiently in education, definitely stakeholders like the AAU should continue to take the bull by the horn and deploy limited resources to the advancement of higher education.
Mr Badara Alieu Joof, The Gambia’s Minister for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology stated that Education must empower the youth and it would therefore, be meaningful if it could provide the requisite skills needed for Africa’s development.
He pointed out that it could only be meaningful if it could provide for the revitalization of agriculture, development of peace and the eradication of poverty, and the removal of politics of identity; adding that African Education and AAU would have made progress to the development of the Continent.
Mr Joof urged African governments to strengthen their commitment towards improving higher education.
He said increasing dividend budget would only harm Africa.
“Let’s make sure that at least we make a commitment to the education of Africa and the education of the African Child,” he stated.
Professor Olusola Oyewole, AAU President, presented a citation to President Akufo-Addo.
Source: Ghana News Agency