The Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Ishaq Oloyede, has stressed the need to build bridges as a way of changing the narrative of higher education in Africa through what he called profound bottom-up approach.
He stated this while presenting a paper during the 22nd Conference of Rectors, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of African Universities (COREVIP 2023) holding in Windhoek, Namibia.
In the paper entitled “Breaking Barriers and Building Strategies for Advancing Excellence in African Higher Education” , Prof Oloyede said higher education is a key driver of economic development and social progress which plays crucial role in shaping the future of any nation.
The JAMB boss identified inadequate funding, limited access to quality education, brain drain and outdated curricula as some of the challenges and barriers affecting higher education in Africa.
Mr Oloyede said several factors were also responsible for the decline in thebquality of higher education in Africa listing some of them as institutional factors, poor governance structures, lack of academic freedom and inadequate funding.
To overcome the challenges, Mr Oloyede challenged institutions and authorities in Africa to come up with appropriate policies and governance structures.
The former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ilorin noted with concern that despite progress made in recent years, millions of young people still lack access to higher education in Africa due to poverty, distance, gender, disability and other factors.
To get out of the barriers, he recommended the expansion of capacity of existing institutions, creation of new institutions, provision of scholarships and bursaries and the leveraging technology to reach remote and marginalised communities.
“We must develop policies and programmes that promote inclusivity and equity in higher education, providing equal opportunities for all regardless of their background, gender or socio-economic status,” he said.
Mr Oloyede added that there is need to ensure that higher education is affordable and accessible to all, promoting research and innovation.
The professor, who is the former Chairman of Association of African Universities (AAU) from 2009 to 2011, lamented that African Universities often operate in isolation, which limits their ability to benefit from the expertise and resource of international universities.
“Let us create a brighter future for the generations to come by expanding access, enhancing quality, promoting relevance and building bridges. We can create a higher education system that is truly transformative for our continent and our people,” he said.
On funding, Mr Oloyede canvassed the coming together of governments, private sector operators and philanthropists to find sustainable solutions to the funding challenges facing higher education in Africa.
He said there is also urgent need to identify priority areas that need attention in African higher education and establish partnerships with international institutions.
On brain drain, which he identified as another barrier against advancing excellence in African higher education, Mr Oloyede said there is need to create opportunities that keep the talented students and educators in Africa by offering competitive salaries and improve working conditions.
He argued that it is important to turn brain drain to brain gain and create opportunities for career advancement for staff as well as use technology to transform education by making it more accessible, affordable and flexible.
The five-day conference, with theme “Advancing Excellence in African Higher Education ” has over 600 participants which include rectors, vice chancellors, researchers and other stakeholders in attendance.
Support PREMIUM TIMES’ journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: Call Willie – +2348098788999