Next week over 500 preeminent educators, students, business leaders, and politicians will gather at the African Higher Education Summit to discuss how to revitalize Africa’s higher education system. While prior summits tackled the needs of Africa’s rapidly growing secondary education sector, this year’s summit seeks to address challenges facing tertiary education.
The summit seeks to draft proposals addressing several key challenges, but particularly the slow expansion of graduate and post-graduate education. Other agenda items include combating brain drain, strengthening the higher education labor market, and the increasing dearth of secondary and tertiary educators. Unless addressed, these challenges threaten to damper Africa’s economic growth, reduce interest in higher education, and inhibit Africa’s future scientific development. Despite these challenges, African stands to substantially gain from a revitalized tertiary education system. Although Africa contains over 15% of the world’s population, it still only produces 1.5% of global research publications and has an average of 35 scientists and engineers per one million residents. Expanding Africa’s base of scientists, engineers and educators through will provide the backbone for Africa’s future economic growth and help achieve the continents development plan, called Africa Agenda 2063.
Solutions under consideration include steps to more effectively regulate higher education without discouraging the establishment of particularly private and privately sponsored universities, increased funding for higher education, and higher retention rates for post graduate professors. The conference will also seek to encourage the local and international businesses community to invest in Africa’s education system.
The Global Business School Network applauds the integration of the business community and education, particularly when focusing on increasing access to education. We are excited to see the ideas and solutions that will come from the African Higher Education Summit.
Logan Billman is the IFAMA Intern