The Association of African Universities (AAU) has hailed Ghana for generously providing it with a new ultramodern two-storey secretariat building.
Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile, AAU Secretary-General, said Ghana was one of the key countries on the continent which continue to strongly promote the advancement of higher education, which was worth recognising.
He said the new ultramodern AAU Secretariat, located in Accra, would be inaugurated in June 2017, as part of activities marking the golden jubilee celebration of the AAU.
“Fifty years of serving the African continent as its voice for matters on higher education and development issues, is indeed, a great feat worth celebrating,” Prof. Ehile remarked in Accra over the weekend at a high level panel discussion on the theme, “Entrepreneurial Learning and Communities of Practice”.
The panel discussion, which was hosted by the University of Professional Studies, (UPSA), was held as part of activities to climax the week- long celebration of the annual African Universities Day Celebration.
The objective of the 2016, African Universities Day is to promote critical dialogue among stakeholders on how to improve higher education in Africa.
The panel discussion featured high profile personalities such as Prof Goski Alabi, Dean of the Centre for International Education and Collaboration, UPSA; Mr Mike Henaku, Chief Executive Officer, BEIGE Capital and Dr Josephine Larbi-Apau, Presbyterian University College.
Prof. Ehile said the AAU was playing a key role in promoting and sustaining best practices across high education institutions on the continent.
He said the rate of unemployment among graduates in Africa could be said to have reached a worrisome level.
The World Bank in 2014 reported that 50 per cent of graduates who leave Ghanaian universities and polytechnics failed to find jobs two years after their national service, and 20 per cent do not find jobs even after three years.
Prof. Ehile noted that this situation was similar in Kenya and Mozambique, where the majority of university graduates relied on work in the informal sector, which was considered vulnerable employment.
“Due to this uncertainty in employability, mainly brought about by the lack of expansion of existing firms and lack of graduates with the requisite skills needed by specific industries, many calls have been made for African universities, in particular, to expose their students to the possibility of creating their own jobs by deepening their entrepreneurial skills,” the Secretary-General said.
“Quality entrepreneurial education/learning is arguably one vital tool for fighting against poverty and unemployment in Africa,” he added.
He said the effective implementation of quality entrepreneurial learning and systems by higher education institutions would therefore, enhance job creation, which would subsequently reduce unemployment, poverty and social vices in various economies on the continent.
Prof. Joshua Alabi, UPSA, outgoing Vice-Chancellor, in a speech read on his behalf, said the theme could not have come at a more opportune time given the high number of unemployed youth particularly graduates from higher educational institutions across Africa.
“This situation is indeed, a matter of deep concern and has engaged the attention of policy makers, educators, and managers of higher educational institutions; regarding the urgent need to stimulate job creation for the youth, who graduate from various higher educational institutions in Africa,” he said.
“It is also heart-warming that AAU is engaging the various stakeholders, especially, from industry, to bridge the gap between research and industry and to ensure the relevance of curricula to national development,” he added.