Professor Ernest Aryeetey, immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, has called for more investment in research and technology to enhance education and development in Africa.
Prof. Aryeetey made the remarks at the 57th Founders Week Celebration of the Ghana Science and Arts Academy (GAAS) on the theme: “Sustainable Land Administration in Ghana.”
Delivering a lecture on the topic: “The Future of the University in Africa,” Prof Aryeetey said Africa was capable of developing globally competitive universities to deal with its numerous development challenges.
This, he said, could be achieved by an appropriate use of new technologies and an overhaul of government systems in the universities.
He said poor, inefficient and highly bureaucratic management, lack of training, low Information and Communication Technology (ICT), and overburdened management were challenges that faced the African universities.
Prof. Aryeetey said globalisation, internationalisation and technological changes were key factors influencing change in the importance, scope and complexity of higher education environments.
He said African universities lacked active and co-ordinated research community and cited Asian and European universities to have heavily invested in new technologies in their universities to attain a world class status.
“Are African universities generating, transferring and applying knowledge that can be used to solve contemporary African and global problems such as poverty, climate change, low infrastructure, low academic advancement in technology, international terrorism, Ebola and lifestyle diseases?
“Are the universities preserving knowledge for future use? Providing solutions to these and several other questions is key if the university in Africa is to remain relevant.”
He, therefore, suggested that African universities need to maintain acceptable levels of autonomy with accountability and double efforts to re-engineer instructional pedagogy.
“Restructuring and re-engineering university governance in Africa will provide the means to become a combination of corporate, virtual, governance, African culture, advanced technology, and developmental university,” he said.
Prof Aryeetey said there was the need to build partnerships for university governance to fill the funding gap created by the retreating African State and other traditional donor agencies through markets and performance-driven funding arrangements.
The Academy’s Anniversary programme started in November 1960 with intense activities as attention is firmly focused on important national or topical issues.
The Founder’s week starts with the Presidential Address delivered by the President of the Academy.
It is followed by a three-day symposium on a selected subject of topical or national interest.
The last day is usually dedicated to what was formerly called the Anniversary lecture, now renamed the “Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Lectures” in memory of Ghana’s first President.
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