Africans urged to build quality human resource

The Association of African Higher Education Financing Agencies (AAHEFA) has urged African Governments to find alternative means of financing higher education in their respective countries.

African Gov’ts urged to find alternative means to finance higher education
African Gov’ts urged to find alternative means to finance higher education
African Gov’ts urged to find alternative means to finance higher education
African Gov’ts urged to find alternative means to finance higher education

An alternative such as national revolving funds or students’ loan schemes, according to AAHEFA, would aid more people to access higher education and contribute to the transformation of the continent.

Mr. Charles Ringera, President of AAHEFA was speaking at the opening of the 2015 annual general meeting of the Association at Elmina in the Komenda- Edina-Eguafo- Abrem Municipality of the Central Region on Monday.

He explained that an alternative means of financing higher education was pertinent because underdevelopment challenges were dwindling the amount of money being channeled to higher education by various African Governments.

To countries that already have such revolving funds, he indicated the need for the funds to be increased and maximized so that more students would benefits from it, stressing that “It is only through education that we can transform our societies.”

AAHEFA- Is an entity that brings together institutions from the African Continent which deals with issuance of loans, bursaries/ grants and scholarships to higher education students as well as collect back the loans issued.

Currently, it has 15 countries made up of nine member institutions from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Lesotho with Ghana being the only West African country, and six observer countries

The five day event, on the theme ‘Financing Africa’s Human Resource Capital as a catalyst for Accelerated Development” is being attended by officials from member institutions, various Governments and relevant stakeholders from 15 African countries.

Mr. Ringera bemoaned the high unemployment rate and shortage of critical skills on the continent and urged various higher education intuitions to ensure that graduates were equipped with required job skills to enable them find jobs and repay the loans soon after they complete their programmes of study.

Mr. Ringera said the recovery and repayment of loans had been a challenge of the member institutions since some graduates moved from the after country when they completed school but added that the Association was putting measures in place to ensure global recovery of loans.

In an address delivered on his behalf, the Deputy Minister of Education, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, urged Africans to build on the quality human resource of the continent in order to shift global emphasis from the continent’s vast land and natural resources to its youthful population.

He said though the continent has, in the last two decades, seen tremendous improvements, it still hosted some of the world’s poorest countries and for such reasons social intervention remained the only lifeline to inspire citizens to attain higher education.

Mr. Ablakwa said the competing demands on Government’s scarce resources made funding for sectors as crucial as education a daunting task and therefore reiterated the need for alternative means of financing higher education.

He indicated that being a member of the Association, Ghana had benefitted from innovative solutions, policies and IT support which had saved the country high consultancy bills and therefore urged all African countries to join the Association.

The Board Chairman of Ghana’s Student Loan Trust Fund (SLTF), Mr. Andy Osei Okrah, noted that skills and knowledge could not be developed to its maximum potential if it does not travel beyond basic and secondary education.

According to him, a study had shown that an additional year of secondary or tertiary education attained by citizens raised national output by 19 percent and GDP growth by half a percentage point

He indicated that for Africa’s human capital resource to compete globally there was the need for the development of industry –relevant academic programmes as well as aids, grants, bursaries to students pursing industry-specific programmes.

Mrs. Sheila Naah-Boamah Chief Executive Officer of SLTF in an interview with the press indicated that since the inception the Fund a decade ago, about 73,000 students had benefited, out of which about 60,000 had repaid the loans while the remaining figure was in the repayment process.

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