Faced with donor fatigue and decreasing public funding, universities throughout Sub-Saharan Africa need to browse for new designs of financing specific efforts such as hubs for research study and development. One proposal from highercollege experts gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, just recently was to tap Africa s growing number of billionaires.
Dr Omotade Akin Aina, executive director of the Nairobi-based Partnership for African Social and Governance Research study, stated the time had actually come for Africa to raise money locally and not just seek to foreign donors.
A few of Africa s billionaires have been funding projects in several leading universities in The United States and Canada and Western Europe, however we have not approached them for help, he said at a conference held from 24-25 March under the auspices of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program.
However Teacher Ilesanmi Adesida, emeritus dean of engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the US, commented that for African universities to draw in assistance from African billionaires and millionaires, they requiredhad to transform themselves as centres of quality.
There is no African billionaire who wishes to offer money to a second-rate university simply because it is locatedlies in his house village, said Adesida.
Quantity versus quality
The conference faulted some African universities for declaring to be world-class despite their inability to attract highly encouraged students, researchers and teachers globally and their absence of cutting-edge research or innovation transfer.
It is regrettable that many African universities are promoting themselves as world-class, simply by signing memorandums of comprehending with equally low-grade universities in other parts of the world, said Teacher Chacha Nyaigotti-Chacha, previous executive secretary of the Inter-University Council for East Africa, or IUCEA.
Dr Emmanuel Akyeampong, a teacher of history and African American research studies at Harvard University, encouraged African universities to search for talent, carry out research study and install reliable postgraduate programs in order to raise their profiles.
Just then, African universities will be able to attract financing, not simply from African millionaires but even from other personal sources worldwide, said Akyeampong.
He stressed that universities such as Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology raised financing not by signing memorandums of understanding but from research study propositions, patenting and innovation.
There was likewise aggravation among the academics over African universities being proud of their high student enrolment levels while cannot produce new knowledge or supply quality education.
Universities must be charged to demonstrate their research study and development, stated Dr Catherine Kyobutungi, director of research study at the Nairobi-based African Population and Health Research Centre.
We are surrounded by mediocrity in that there is absolutely nothing to show in terms of additional research and knowledge production, although in the last 15 years universities in Africa have actually increased from 300 to about 2,000, said Kyobutungi, who is on the advisory council of the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program.
Marketisation versus research and development
According to Dr Ibrahim Ogachi, program officer at the Dakar-based Council for the Advancement of Social Science Research study in Africa, college student numbers in Africa are growing much faster than in any other region of the world.
Enrolments in universities in Africa more than doubled between 2000 and 2010, increasing from 2.3 million students to 5.2 million students, stated Ogachi. Student numbers are increasing by 15 % or more a year.
The experts were dramatically divided about whether universities in Sub-Saharan Africa ought to entrench an entrepreneurial design, continuing to enhance access to higher education and education services according to moving needs of society, or must revert to the conventional objectives of knowledge generation and transmission in particular disciplines.
There were fears around the increased commercialisation of higher education, as is taking place in Kenya and Uganda, where for the past two decades20 years public universities have established full tuition fee-paying tracks in degree, diploma and certificate courses.
The concern has actually become a hot subject of scholastic questions as fronted by Ishmael Munene, associate teacher of academic leadership at Northern Arizona University in the United States, who suggests that as universities inch closer to the marketplace they drastically move in character and can not be relied upon to offer academic leadership.
In the very first location, governance shifts from checked notions of university autonomy and professors scholastic freedom to market forces anchored on the sale of teaching, research and services, wrote Munene in his research study, Revenues and Pragmatism: The business lives of market universities in Kenya and Uganda.
So even as the education experts in Nairobi deliberated on the needhave to have brand-new sources of funding, there were sensations that there requiredhad to be a review of the extensive marketisation of universities that has actually been most apparent in Kenya and Uganda.
While suspending opening new satellite schools by public universities last month, Dr Fred Matiang i, Kenya s cabinet secretary for education, science and innovation, castigated universities for focusing on intensive marketisation ventures and forgetting their core required of research, development and academic excellence.
Some universities have actually gone to the degree of offering funeral services, stated Matiang i.
On the other hand, given the disregard of universities by African federal governments and the unmet demand for highercollege, dropping an aggressive model of marketisation might lead to stagnancy in public universities.
Need for a Marshall Plan Those were a few of the hard realities that challenged the specialists in Nairobi, who proposed a Marshall Plan to save African universities from the current quagmire of severe resources lacks, run-down facilities, overcrowding and lecturer lacks.
Professor Alexandre Lyambabaje, executive secretary of IUCEA, stated there was a requirement for Sub-Saharan African nations to discoverlearn how to raise money for greatercollege, or financial development efforts would not be successful.
The issue that is facing us in the region is ways to tap domestic resources for greatercollege. In the search for new models for funding universities, the specialists got in the uncharted area of roping in Africa s money-men. But only time will tell whether this brand-new design to rescue African universities from resource hunger will succeed or will check marketisation, the ugly face of highercollege funding.