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‘Link curricula to industry' - Akufo-Addo

April 23, 2018, 2:29 p.m.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has underscored the need for Africa to design education curricula that are relevant to the skills and needs of the job market.

In his opinion, if this is done, “the greatest challenge for the entire continent,” which remains “the creation of sustainable jobs,” will be resolved.

Delivering the keynote speech at the London School of Economics Africa Summit, on the theme: “Africa at Work: Educated, Employed, Empowered,” on Saturday, 21 April 2018, Nana Akufo-Addo called for a link between academia and the private sector to make jobs easily available for graduates after school.

He said: “The African Union’s Agenda 2063, titled: ‘The Africa We Want,’ calls for an education and skills revolution to meet the human resource needs for inspiring Africa’s socio-economic development. The African Union has, quite correctly, placed high premium on science, technology and innovation as critical ingredients to the achievement of Agenda 2063. All over the world, governments encourage universities to promote technological advancement by investing public funds into research and development (R&D), and stimulate linkages between academia and the private sector.

“We still have a lot of work to do to in these areas. It is time, ladies and gentlemen, to encourage our researchers to think big, and for governments to offer the incentives and extend the protection they need for their inventions.

“Another important sub-theme, which is also critical to our sustainability as a continent, is graduate employability. Studies have shown that investment in human resource is one venture that yields the maximum benefit to any nation. According to the ‘State of Education in Africa Report 2015’, published by the Africa-America Institute, returns on investments in higher education in Africa is 21 percent—the highest in the world. While this is good news for us, as a continent, we should face the very unpleasant fact that, for many of our graduates, a university education no longer guarantees a job.

“We need to make sure that the curricula we offer are relevant to the skills needs of the job market. Our products should have transferable skills, to enable them cope with the realities of the modern-day world of work, which has embraced the digital revolution. In current global dispensations, where universities are becoming entrepreneurial to remain relevant, our universities have to engage more with the private sector.”