More than 300,000 students are pursuing their education in institutions of high learning in the country, including 10,398 foreign students, says Deputy Minister of Education Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

At the continental level, sub-Saharan Africa’s higher education sector has expanded massively over the past two decades with student enrolments across all levels growing from about 200,000 some 40 years ago to an estimated 10 million today, he says.

Ablakwa disclosed this when addressing an international symposium for Harmonisation Initiative and Third General Meeting of the Turning Joint Africa-European Union (EU) Strategy in Higher Education here Tuesday.

The two-day conference, which brought together 130 participants, was organized by the University of Ghana in collaboration with the Africa Union (AU) Commission and the Association of African Universities (AAU).

The African Higher Education Harmonisation and Tuning Pilot initiative has been instrumental in addressing key areas of skills and competences for employability and transparency of curriculum, the development of a common academic credit currency, teaching, learning and assessment related to the achievement of learning outcomes, skills and competences, quality assurance and enhancement.

Ablakwa said Ghana, like most other African countries, was at the stage of progressing from low productivity agricultural economies to industrialised economies with focus on manufacturing and services and therefore a strong focus on human capital development was needed.

“We need highly skilled technicians, engineers, health workers, agricultural scientists and researchers; particularly in the rapidly growing sectors of extractive industries, energy, water, environment and infrastructure,” he added.

He said Africa needed to produce future leaders who would promote better governance and management in all sectors, and facilitate innovative solutions to society’s problems.

Such harmonisation, when fully achieved, would offer adequate instruments to help institutions of higher education assess and understand their performance through meaningful comparisons among universities in a given country and among similar institutions across countries at the same stage of development, he added.

Ghana, like many other countries, was working to develop a standardised national qualification framework in line with best practices across the world, he said. “A uniform qualification framework is required to facilitate qualifications transfer across Africa,” he said.