Forum links dearth of capacity in Africa to educational systems
For the continent to meet set goals and agenda, it must break away from inherited educational systems, while focusing on areas of educational needs that are specifically targeted at meeting African developmental goals and aspirations, particularly technical education.
“Africa still needs to develop the capacity to successfully design, implement and monitor policy measures and reforms,” participants at the just concluded Third Pan-African Capacity Development Forum (3CDF) chorused.
The event, which also coincided with the 25th anniversary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACDF), was held in Harare, Zimbabwe.
Executive director of the foundation, Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, said the African continent can no longer afford to do business as usual, even as matters of capacity building cannot be reduced to a one-off thing, but should be embedded in national and continental fabrics.
Speaking specifically on the standard of functional education in Africa, particularly technical education, at one of the plenary sessions, Nnadozie said it is lamentable that less than 20 percent of graduates from various African universities are in engineering or sciences, while vast majority are in humanitarian and administrative courses.
“Part of the problem is that when the idea came that for the continent to develop, it must neglect the secondary and tertiary institutions in favour of primary education, we embraced it without giving it serious thought. But we have all realised that under no circumstances should we have neglected our tertiary institutions,” he said.
Currently, the continent needs at least 4.3 million engineers as against less than one million it currently produces.
But, “The point is that presently, our universities do not produce graduates to solve African problems and needs,” Nnadozie said.
He, however, informed that the ACBF currently has no desire to have an academy of its own, stressing that, “We will continue work through existing institutions on the continent.”
Other speakers during the plenary included the African Union Commission (AUC) Commissioner for Economic Affairs, Dr. Anthony Mothae Maruping, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Prof. Edward Maloka, Secretary of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. W. L. Manungo, and representatives of UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and various economic and developmental agencies, governmental concerns, non-governmental organisations, as well as, members of the civil society organisations.
Various speakers praised the efforts of the ACBF in deepening capacity building on the continent and called on leaders to guide the foundation seriously as it was one of the most important tools for the achievement of the African Agenda 2063 and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
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