Participants at the African Universities Summit
A two day 2016 Africa Universities Summit, brought together over 150 delegates from various Universities across Africa, and Europe, was attended by Fr Francis Sehdu Sesay from UNIMAK . An initiative of Times Higher Education, the Summit was held in partnership with University of Ghana. Phil Baty, Editor of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings who spoke at the closing ceremony, indicated that Universities in Africa are in the forefront of playing a major role in the diversity of development needs across the continent.
Fr Francis Sesay writes:
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016 lists the best global universities and are the only international university performance tables to judge World class universities across all of their core missions- teaching, research, knowledge transfer and international outlook. (Phil Baty, Editor, Times Higher Education World University Rankings).
This organ of higher education was founded in 2004 to provide the definitive list of the World’s best Universities, evaluated across teaching, research, international outlook and reputation.
Working towards the establishment of 200 centres of excellence in higher education in Africa, summits have been organized across the regions of Johannesburg, Accra, Hongkong, Bogota-Colombia, California-US and Brisbane-Australia. This Africa Universities summit, which took place from the 27th-29th April, 2016 in the University of Ghana, took place last year in Johannesburg in South Africa.
The Africa Universities Summit brought together some of the continent’s leaders and academics, as well as those from the international community, to dialogue and share best practices concerning the future of Higher Education in Africa. This move was prompted by the fact that, the past years have seen a great interest in many African Institutions of higher learning, to put their Institutions on the global map, specifically as it relates to global ranking charts. It is also an open secret that most African Institutions are striving to enhance their corporate profile in the middle of social and economic challenges. Hence the expected outcome was to produce the needed synergy to bring home workable solutions to turn African Institutions around in the core areas of the higher education enterprise.
Summarizing what the summit was all about Phil Baty, Editor Times Higher Education World University Rankings pronounced thus: ‘’…we are here to promote, and indeed, to celebrate Universities’ vital role in the rise of Africa. We are here to build the case for investment in support of excellence in teaching, research and knowledge transfer.’’
The Summit, which was punctuated by different academic activities, had different topics and speakers each day. Amongst the topics discussed were:
Shaping the future of African Higher Education.
Globalization and policy directions for African Higher Education.
Public and private- are both essential to a strong University sector in Africa?
Capacity building and building capacity- how to educate Africa’s youth.
Internationalisation and collaboration.
Leading change through innovative teaching and research collaboration.
South-south and north-south relationships: two different approaches.
A keen study of the data points of the summit revealed that it was geared towards keeping universities in Africa improve through performance analysis and bench marking. The summit also allowed people to compare their Universities to others, helping them to identify strategic partners and potential competitors.
What is more, through the summit’s data points, participants were exposed to the enabling environment of accessing all the tools they need to understand their institution’s individual performance. Insights were tailored to the participant’s need helping them focus their marketing messages on their key strengths, to attract global partners.
All of the above work towards World Class Research- intensive universities over the next decade; about 125 people, from different universities (including UNIMAK), attended the summit to make World Class Universities in Africa.