THERE is a renewed focus on the importance of higher education to the continent’s development, and Africa’s leaders are coming together to address it at a key summit to be hosted by Senegal.
“Higher education plays a critical role in social development and economic transformation across the continent. We, as the Government of Senegal, are pleased to have been recognised among nations as a suitable partner and host for this summit, said Senegal’s Minister of Higher Education and Research, Professor Mary Teuw Niane, at a press conference.
The summit, taking place in Dakar from the 10-12th March, is expected to draw an impressive line-up of over 500 participants, including Heads of State, representatives of academic unions, members of the business community and policymakers, from various African nations.
But this won’t just be a talking shop, TrustAfrica, a pan-African development body that is taking the lead in organising the event, created the summit with the primary goal of developing a common vision and contributing towards the development of an action plan to transform the African higher education sector in the next 50 years.
“The summit will provide a wonderful new opportunity for those in the sector to explore learn and debate a wide spectrum of topics including regulatory, technological and supply issues. With the continuing boom in enrolment figures and the rise in the number of higher education institutions, there is an urgent need to build a quality higher education sector”, said Omano Edigheji, TrustAfrica’s summit director. For this reason the summit was aptly themed “Revitalising Higher Education for Africa’s Future”.
It is a culmination of a three-year initiative undertaken by TrustAfrica, in partnership with the Carnegie Corporation and others, to broaden the dialogue about the role of the higher education sector in Africa.
“What we immediately identified from this work was that there were no inclusive national and continental platforms for stakeholders to come together to discuss and seek solutions to the issues facing the African higher education sector”, said Tendai Murisa, Executive Director of TrustAfrica. “The continental summit will therefore provide a platform for key stakeholders to engage and come up with an agenda to transform the sector.”
The summit will present a world-class panel of speakers who will offer solutions to revitalise the African higher education sector, addressing topics including graduate employability, gender, science, technology and innovation; nation building and democratic citizenship; equity and access; differentiation and harmonisation; role of business in revitalizing African higher education sector; and quality, excellence and relevance.