African governments need to be sensitized and advised on the critical role played by Universities in development. This were the sentiments expressed by the University of Nairobi’s Vice-chancellor, Prof. Stephen Kiama when he met the Secretary General, Association of African Universities (AAU), Prof. Olusola B. Oyewole.
“There is a dangerous trend that has emerged in Africa where policy makers put more emphasis and give more priority to Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) than university education,” revealed Prof. Kiama who asked AAU to engage African governments and re-emphasize the importance of Universities to the economies of Africa.
“Through universities, you will open people’s minds and transform the society through production of new knowledge and manpower that can question things and provide solutions to the societal challenges through research. African governments should understand that research, just like infrastructure, is an enabler of development and should be prioritized,” said Prof. Kiama.
TVETS equip young people with skills to get employed but the people who create those jobs are University graduates. Africa should not be misled to neglect the University sector.
On his part Prof. Oyewole thanked the University of Nairobi for its continued membership and support to AAU. Prof. Oyewole who was previously the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture in Nigeria praised the University of Nairobi for its role in the formation Kenya Education Network Trust (KENET). KENET is nonprofit network operator incorporated in Kenya to provide cost effective, fast and reliable internet connectivity and related services to enhance education and research.
AAU was founded in 1967 by 37 Universities in Africa including the University of Nairobi. The association has grown and today comprise of 400 members. The Association works collectively with members and partners to help shape policy for higher education, science and innovation in Africa. The Association promotes best practices in undergraduate and graduate education; and strengthen the contributions of research universities to society.
During the courtesy call, Prof Oyewole was accompanied by Ms. Nodumo Dhlamini, Director of ICT services and Communications at AAU. Also present were Mr. Brian Ouma, Chief Operations Officer, UoN and Mr. John Orindi, Director of Corporate Affairs, UoN.