Over the weekend senior lecturers and professors from public and private institutions of higher learning committed to improving the quality of education in the country. The academics, who signed performance contracts, best known locally as Imihigo, made the commitment after undergoing a week-long civic education course that ran under the theme, “Higher education at the forefront of national transformation”.
The dons, who met in Gabiro, Gatsibo District, reflected on the quality and relevance of the education they offer their students, among other pertinent issues.
The workshop could not have come at a better time. It comes at a time when some employers are increasingly questioning the skills of many of our graduates. As such, much more is expected from these academics and their institutions as the country looks to turn around the education sector, especially by equipping students with hands-on skills that are relevant in the labour market.
Universities and other institutions of higher learning also need to work more closely with the private sector to better understand the nature and importance of the skills gap in the local labour market and subsequently work toward bridging it.
As the country’s bid for self-reliance gathers momentum, it is essential for educators to adjust accordingly to help deliver envisaged growth. The country badly needs a skilled workforce with practical skills and relevant competences to move to the next level of its development agenda.
The onus is, therefore, on the education sector generally to produce personnel that will drive this agenda. It is not possible for any country to become self-reliant without the skills it needs to grow its economy.
Last but not least, our academics need not forget the role of research in national development, especially developing technologies and systems that can ease operations and foster growth.
Yet the academia can only do so much. They will need concerted and sustained efforts from all stakeholders, especially government and the private sector, in their bid to help produce competitive local workforce.