Speaking at the 40th anniversary of the United States International University (USIU) in the Kenyan Capital, Nairobi, President Paul Kagame, Wednesday, challenged African universities to step up to the plate, and produce graduates with the capacity to drive the continent’s development agenda.
Indeed, the continent’s current challenges are different from those of the past, and our education systems, especially at university level, must adjusted to cater for the needs of the marketplace if we’re to truly tackle today’s challenges.
Recent experiences around the world have shown that graduate numbers don’t necessarily bring about the desired impact. This is because many of them remain unemployed or underemployed for long, or even find it difficult to cope up with the ever-changing world, where innovation, creativity and other entrepreneurial skills are synonymous with success.
Today, academic transcripts are no longer an end in themselves, they make a difference when the graduate is able to use them to create wealth and to address the challenges around them.
Our institutions of higher learning, therefore, need to come up with practical solutions to the deficiencies in the current curricula and refocus on empowering students with the skills that are responsive to the needs of the labour market.
More importantly, the syllabi must be designed in such a way that graduates will become job-creators, since this will create more jobs and increase household incomes.
The East African Community (EAC) partner states, in particular, need to come up with a joint strategy on how to enable our training institutions to churn out not only highly skilled but internationally competitive graduates, capable of delivering the region’s economic aspirations.