African leaders call for inclusive and equitable education

Temitope Mustapha, Accra

Heads of Government of African countries have called for more emphasis on youth development, inclusive and equitable education, good governance and accountability in education management.

President of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo and representatives of other African leaders made this call in Accra, Ghana’s capital during the 14th General Conference and the golden jubilee celebrations of the Association of African Universities, AAU.

The Ghanaian President challenged the government of all African countries to summon political will in making Africa a better place.

He also tasked that each African country should set priorities on education and locates where to invest its funds in the sector.

“Africa must set her own priorities on any of its education level and locate where to invest its funds in the education sector. Africa must never rely on the World Bank or any other development partners on where to focus between the basic and higher education.

We should recognise our critical role in developing and promoting knowledge fuelled by skilled human capital. We reiterate that you continue to place emphasize on youth development, inclusive and equitable education, good governance and accountability in education management,” Addo stated.

He emphasized on the rising numbers of Universities across the continent saying that the supply is yet to meet the demand.

On the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Association of African Universities, the Ghanaian President expressed worry that Africa is not doing very well in research, adding that Africa has not made so much clear progress in her higher education sub sector.

He decried that Africa is not doing very well in research and not doing well at all in science and technology.

“Africa is not doing very well in research and we are not doing well at all in science and technology.”

President Addo urged the Association to harness and document Africa`s success stories and achievements.

“African governments are optimistic that AAU will continue to be a key player and instrument to achieving the African Union’s vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful continent, driven by its own people and representing a dynamic force in the global arena,” he added.

He appealed to the AAU to interact more with the private sector, governments and development agencies at the local, regional, continental and global levels and as well appoint representatives of these bodies on its advisory boards.

The Gambian Minister of Higher Education Research and Science and technology, Dr Badara Joof, said Education in Africa will be meaningless if it fails to address challenges of corruption, tribalism and radicalisation of youths.

“Africa education must provide for youths crossing the Mediterranean, it must empower youths and provide knowledge,” Dr Joof stated.

The Former President of the Association and the keynote Speaker at the Conference, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, said in his address, on the contributions of the AAU to higher Education Development in Africa: from Early Independence to the present, that Education in Africa is an obstructive catalyst to Africa’s development.

Professor Oloyede hinted that only 6% group of young people in sub Sahara Africa enrol in Higher Education.

He challenged the AAU to call for good governance among African leaders.

“AAU was able to convince governments of Head of states that Higher education is as important as basic education,” Prof Oloyede said.

He also emphasized on the need to change Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees to first degree and second degree.

“This has a vibrating effect on the psyche of gender mainstreaming; therefore it is a policy program that needs to be put in place right now. Contrary to Amina Mama`s position, policies that restore, reform and transform higher education in the continent into a more gender friendly one. I hope this will be achieved before the AAU marks its centenary,” Professor Oloyede added.

The Secretary General of the Association, Professor Etinne Ehouan, who was also present said that the AAU aligns itself with the continental educational policies such as the African Union’s global Agenda 2063, the continental Education Strategy, Science Technology and Innovation strategy for Africa among many others.

Professor Ehiouan, stated that the AAU has worked closely with the African Union Commission to develop the Pan African quality Assurance framework and associated African quality rating mechanism.

Representative of the EU to Ghana, William Hanna, said in his goodwill message that “education for us s is top priority on EU`s future agenda.”

Hanna added that the EU and the AU are working together as reflected in issues of climate change.