The National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) on Tuesday said it is working closely with the nation’s universities and the Ministry of Education to set up a true research fund.
Such a fund would be maintained at the Ghanaian tax payer’s expense.
Professor Mahama Duwiejua, NCTE Executive Secretary made the disclosure in Accra during a public lecture organized by the Association of African Universities (AAU) to mark African Universities Day.
The public lecture was on the theme “Changing Higher Education Landscape in Africa: highlighting success stories”.
He said Africa’s over reliance on external funding for higher education resulted in the decline of higher education institutions during this period of austerity.
“We have blamed the World Bank and other financial institutions for that state. If Africa wants truly successful higher education, Africa should stop whining and invest in higher education with our money. This requires both greater commitment from political leadership and leaders of our universities,” the Executive Secretary stated.
Prof Duwiejua said a true African university in the real sense is therefore one that encompasses or reflects all these aspirations - African initiative, maintained at African expense, and provide hope of a better and fuller life for their children and grandchildren.
He said such institutions must be devoid of the weaknesses of colonial universities; colonial universities deliberately set out to train an elite who would merely step into the shoes of outgoing colonial rulers and become exploiters of their own people.
Prof Duwiejua said 15 regional centres of excellence located in West Africa specialising in health, science, technology, engineering, mathematics and Agriculture, would be supported with $8 million each, through bilateral agreements between the World Bank and some Western African countries.
He said the projects cover water and sanitation, maternal and child health, agriculture, molecular biology of infectious pathogens, oil and gas and mining.
Prof Duwiejua also reviewed the development of African universities from the 19th century and showed that Africa has a cause to be proud of its universities.
He said although Africa faces several challenges and African economies must be transformed to knowledge-based economies, the universities have a primary role in leading the transformation process.
“We have several spots of excellent institutions within universities in Africa that hold great promise for the future,” he said.
Prof Duwiejua said the emergence of private universities is a welcome addition, as the gross enrolment ratio for access to university education is below three per cent in most of Africa.
“We are confronted with high graduate unemployment. We shall truly celebrate success when our universities become true developmental universities, playing lead roles in innovation and equipping graduates with survival skills - the so-called 21st century skills of critical thinking, creativity and innovation, communication and collaborative working skills,” he stated.
Prof Etienne E. Ehile, AAU Secretary-General said the Association had been instrumental in building the capacity of member universities through its programmes, notably the Leadership Development Programme and the Management Development Programme.
Prof Joshua Alabi, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) urged the NCTE to ensure that in setting up the national research fund, priority areas are well defined in terms of national interest, so that institutions like UPSA are not left out.
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