The Academic Future of Africa

I have spent a few days at The University Leaders’ Forum 08, organized by Partnership for Higher Education in Africa (PHEA) in collaboration with University of Ghana. It was a conference around the topic of the New Generation of Academics.

Because of the emergence of a global knowledge society, enrollment rates world wide are increasing, in Africa even more so, putting pressure on the aging group of university lecturers and highlighting the need for new blood. At the same time, young well educated people move abroad in search of better opportunities, hence increasing the pressure on those remaining.

Even if the enrollment rates are increasing, its not enough. Many drop out, many more do not have access to tertiary education and finally very few become university lecturers in Africa. The consequences are two; there will not be enough teachers to educate the new generation, even at lower levels. Additionally, with a low output of tertiary graduates, Africa will be left behind in the knowledge economy.

My research looking at why Ghanaian students migrate (or don't) was a perfect fit for the conference. I was the most junior participant and enjoyed the discussions and academic input. It was highly rewarding to meet with Vice-Chancellors from the whole continent, researchers whose works I've read and foreign founders who work relentlessly to change the academic environment in Africa, but will the change come from them?

The map from Worldmapper.org shows the territory size by world wide proportion of people enrolled in tertiary education, who live there. Thanks to the VC of University of Western Cape, Brian O'Connell for pointing me to this effective visualizing aid.

5 comments:

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Interesting (and very worthwhile) stuff you are getting involved here. I, for one, have seen a high number of young 'uns join the new generation of academics lately. Take a look at the faculties of law in both Accra, where my best pal, Kissi, lecture, and Kumasi, and you'd be surprised/impressed.

salem said...

My first time on your page. nice page. i will visit again

Uli said...

Hey Kajsa,
I LOVE the worldmapper maps, use them for my malaria stuff all the time.. finally got round to RSS your blog - great stuff! Take care & keep in touch, Uli xx

Adaeze said...

Thanks for sharing Kajsa! Very interesting indeed. I'd definitely like to hear more of your thoughts on the subject. Braindrain is such a significant problem, and solutions are hard to find. I'm happy to hear Nana Yaw Asiedu's points on this though. I do not think the change will come from foreign founders, though their contribution is very helpful. What do you think?

Uli said...

Hey again,
mhh, somehow my last comment got lost. what I wanted to say: I LOVE the worldmapper maps, use them for my malaria stuff all the time. Just RSSed your blog - great stuff! keep in touch & take care, uli xx

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