University heads ask African leaders to tackle graduate unemployment

Job SeekersAfrican governments have been asked to declare the next decade as a period to comprehensively address the problem of graduate unemployment.

They should also invest in higher education by increasing substantially financial commitment to the tertiary schools.

African leaders should also draw more from local researchers as consultants who could plough back their local knowledge into the income generation activities of universities to enhance the employability of graduates.

These was contained in a communiqué issued as panacea for the unemployment of graduates in Africa, at the just ended 13th General Conference of the Association of African Universities (AAU) held in the Gabonese capital; Libreville.

The meeting hosted by the University of Omar Bongo was held on five sub-themes under the major theme of “Transforming Africa Higher Education for Graduate Employability and Socio-Economic Development”.

The sub-themes were: “The Connect between Higher Education and the Productive Sector, Graduate Employability, The Role of the Organised Private Sector, Socio-Political Environment and Employability and Funding Issues.”

Delegates at the conference included vice-chancellors and rectors from higher institutions in Ghana headed by the Education Minister, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang.

The communiqué said African governments, with the assistance of international development partners, should promote and advocate open and distance learning, e-learning and online learning and instruction as the future response to increase on the job training and further training of graduates.

In addition, stakeholders in African higher education should ensure that, in the selection of leadership and management of universities, meritocracy should be the prime driving factor.

The communiqué said funding agencies and the international development partners should consult African universities in the setting of African development agenda and that the curricula should be constantly reviewed to ensure relevance to the needs of industry, the global environment, immediate and remote societies.

“Youth employment should be addressed through functional, adaptable and ethical education which places emphasis on self-worth, respect and high motivation.”

For the AAU and African Universities, the communiqué said, the process of transforming the African higher education for graduate employability should be a collaborative effort amongst universities, governments and the organised private sector.

The universities must devise deliberate intervention activities in the total life of their institution to focus on graduate employability, diversify their funding sources and encourage shared search for funding by creating networks of institutions with common agenda for research, teaching and learning.

The AAU is an international non-governmental organisation set up by universities in Africa to promote cooperation among themselves and with the international academic community.

Headquartered in Accra, Ghana since 1970, the AAU was formally inaugurated on 12 November 1967 at a conference in Rabat, Morocco, attended by representatives of 34 of the then 47 existing universities in Africa.

The vision is to maintain the AAU as the representative voice of the African higher education community, both within and outside Africa with a mission to raise the quality of higher education in Africa and strengthen its contribution to African development by fostering collaboration among its member institutions among other things.

The General Conference is the supreme authority of the Association and is responsible for determining the general policies of the Association.

Source: GNA

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