The human capital that Africa needs will be reached faster when boys and girls can make equal use of opportunities, Rwanda President Kagame has said.
While delivering a Keynote Address at the opening of the SDG Africa Center conference on Tertiary Education, President Kagame pointed out that it was the stakeholders’ responsibility to create the right conditions for delivering the 21st century education that African youth deserve.
“We are happy to host the expertise gathered here to discuss how Africa can build quality tertiary education and research. Africa needs many more graduates with knowledge and skills to grow and sustain our economies and shape the continent’s future,” said Kagame.
“There has been much progress in education including through the catalyst that was the Millennium Development Goals. This is important to acknowledge because it shows that we can do it. Young Africans are ready, capable and willing to learn. More efforts are needed to give technical education its right value so that it contributes to Africa’s transformation.”
Experts say while Africa is emerging politically and economically, the continent is not represented in the global initiatives to boost the quality and impact of its tertiary sector.
Notably, higher education’s power to accelerate national and economic development, innovation and cultural enhancement is widely acknowledged around the world.
Concerning the relationship between public and private sector in transforming education in Africa, President Kagame observed that since governments alone cannot sustain the momentum needed, they have to find innovative ways to attract resources from private sector.
Kagame said education requires heavy investment and returns are long term and not immediate.
“But there is no way around this. Businesses have vested interest in the quality of graduates and skills they bring to the market. I fully understand and support the idea that we must have this triangular relationship and between the private sector, government and the education sector,” said Kagame, adding, “When you have the three together you have more of a chance to succeed with these efforts.”
The Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A) conference is being held under the theme, ‘Mobilizing African Intellectuals Towards Quality Tertiary Education’ at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre, Kigali from July 5 to 6.
The primary objective of the conference is to create a coalition of African intellectuals who will brainstorm and hold principal discussions on practical actions, explore solutions and build consensual approaches on the major themes relevant to SDG implementation in tertiary education and research throughout Africa.
As a platform for intellectuals’ engagement, the workshop is featuring keynote addresses from Mr. Aliko Dangote, Owner, Dangote Group and Co-Chair of SDGC/A Board; Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director, Sustainable Development Solutions Network and the Earth Institute; Her Excellency Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations, as well as other prominent speakers.
In addition, a panel discussion with a diverse range of dynamic speakers and five thematic group discussions is being held on comprehensively improving the education curriculum, quality of research outputs, universities infrastructure, international outlook, and financing and cooperation.
President Kagame further said modern technology, including ICTs, present Africa with unprecedented opportunities to overcome barriers to delivering information and skills to our populations.
“In particular, affordable broadband will open up new pathways to world-class education, and vastly improve global collaboration on research,” said Kagame.
The president also pointed out that although the poor perception of technical education in many African countries was starting to change, more sustained efforts were needed to give technical education its right value, so that it can contribute meaningfully to Africa’s transformation agenda.