A two-day forum on tertiary education convened by the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa ended in Kigali last week. The summit evaluated the status of higher education on the continent and several issues emerged pointing to a gloomy picture about the sector.
Participants including, Dr. Abdalla Hamdok, the acting executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa called for more efforts to allocate adequate resources to tertiary education on the continent.
The Forum noted that higher education in general is grappling with the challenge of financing.
This calls for collective efforts from African governments to seek measures to ensure that tertiary institutions like universities are empowered to play the critical role required of them in development.
A struggling tertiary education sector is a stumbling block to development because it is at universities that scientific breakthrough and research takes place.
Universities in developed economies have been at the centre of planning and setting the agenda for development, but this has been a result of investing the best resources both human and finance into these institutions.
Therefore, like the Kigali meet observed, African tertiary institutions must do more in terms of assuming their rightful role in the transformation of the continent.
Rwanda has already moved to ensure that quality in tertiary education is restored. Government has allocated more resources to fund research, which should ideally be the core objective of tertiary institutions. Also several higher institutions of learning were closed over cases of flouting regulations and poor quality.
There are calls to bring the private sector on board too; however, investments in tertiary education are not only costly but take a long time to pay back. This calls for good incentives which will attract the private sector to invest in tertiary education sector.