The Association of African Universities, this year held its biennial Conference of Rectors, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of African Universities in Cairo Egypt from 8-11 July 2019.
The conference was co-hosted by the Government of Egypt and the Al-Azhar University; attracting higher educational instuitions and practitioners from Africa and its diaspora. Other stakeholder in participation were; Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency , Carnegie, AU, European Universities Association, , Education Sub Saharan Africa, League of Islamic Universities, Arab Academy for Science Technology and Maritime Transport, the European Union , Joint Admissions and Matriculations Boar of Nigeria, DAAD, and the African Union graced were present to share and also bench mark practices of mutual interest.
Within the broader theme “The Role of Higher Education Institutions in Promoting the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA)” the conference saw presentations on twelve (12) key thematic areas; Focus On Science and Mathematics Curricula in Youth Training and Disseminating Scientific Knowledge and Culture in Society; Expansion Of TVET Opportunities at Tertiary Levels and Strengthening Linkages Between the World of Work and Education and Training Systems; Revitalization and Expansion of Tertiary Education, Research and Innovation to Address Continental Challenges and Promote Global Competitiveness; Promoting Peace Education and Conflict Prevention and Resolution at all Levels of Education and for all Age Groups; Improving Management of Education as Well Build and Enhance Capacity for Data Collection and Management; Harnessing the Capacity Of ICT to Improve Access, Quality and Management Of Education and Training Systems; Promoting Mobility Through Harmonization of Quality Assurance and Accreditation Systems; Identifying New Directions in Improving Management of Education through Enhanced Capacity for Data Collection and Management, Research and Scholarship and Efficient Governance Of HEIs in Africa, ; Update on AAU New Strategic Plan(2020-2024) ; Graduate Employability and Funding Opportunities For African Higher Education and the final section was dedicated to reading reports from discussions on conference subthemes.
In line with sub theme 4(IV) promoting peace education and conflict and resolution at all levels of education and for all age groups, participants resolved to revitalize research, innovation and conflict management. Participants asserted that, Africa’s growth and development in every spheres of its life is hinged on relevant research and reduced conflicts at all levels of education and for all age groups. This they believe, will be the hallmark for Africa’s development. The resolution as captured by the draft communique of the conference speaks more to the issues.
a. Demonstrate commitment to revitalisation, research, innovation and conflict management by allocating specific proportions of their internal annual budgets to these areas.
b. Insist that host governments implement (i.e. release) the CESA-agreed one per cent of GDP to Research and Innovation; and promote intra-Africa R&D cooperation as well as publication review mechanisms.
c. Leverage the AAU African Research & Education Network (AfREN) project to facilitate improved teaching, learning and research collaborations, as well as use network economies of scale to reduce the cost of high-speed internet access and promote linkages of academics to industry, government and other international research/educational networks.
d. Subscribe to large scale academic research infrastructures, such as Africa Light Source Initiative, to encourage African scientists to do research in Africa.
e. Embed “Educating for a Peaceful Society”, into all curricular at all educational levels, empathy, respect for human rights, the golden rule (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) and the culture of non-violence in conflict resolution.
It is the believe of this writer that, Africa’s higher education will be enhance, if the resolutions of the African higher education conferences, including COEVIP will be implemented by all stakeholder organizations after the conferences.
University of Professional Studies- Accra