Since its inception in 2017, the Education Collaborative has engaged university faculty, administrators, and leadership through our annual workshops and conferences. In the face of rapid growth in population, globalization, and technology, 2019’s events convened other major stakeholders in education from industry and government as well as educators from the basic and high school level to share diverse perspectives, experiences, and insights on education in Africa.

The first edition of the University Stakeholder Symposium was held on 11th June 2019 at Peduase Valley Resort under the theme, Strategizing for the biggest challenge of our time: Population growth.

The University Stakeholder Symposium brought together 100 key academics, industry researchers, government representatives, and experts from across Africa. Conversations centered on education in Africa and the necessary steps, reforms, and collaborations needed to transform the continent and the next generation of leaders.

The rising student demographic in Africa will put a strain on educators, structures, facilities, and resources on the continent at all levels of education. As stakeholders in education, there is a dire need to begin to prepare for this. Ashesi University through the Education Collaborative saw the stakeholder symposium as a platform to draw all major stakeholders’ attention to this pressing issue.

Ahead of Africa’s Youth Explosion: Implications of Higher Education

Addressing this topic, the keynote speaker, Magali Rheault, Director at Gallup World Poll, presented on Gallups’ key findings from a research survey conducted in Africa between 2016 and 2018 on African youth’s expectations for the future and their attitudes towards education.

The survey revealed a divergence between employment and the benefits of receiving more education. The research showed that educated African youth are far more likely than those with less schooling to want to emigrate.

“If one-half of the most educated youth are more interested in a better future in another country, who will then be the doctors, engineers, teachers and other professionals we need to have here? Even if only a fraction of the most educated Africans leave, what is the impact of this brain drain on human and economic development for countries throughout the region?”

“We all know that education is a powerful factor of change, positive change. The school experience has important consequences on graduates’ outcomes. Creating a school experience that nurtures students, who see that the learning has meaning and practical outcomes may be one of the most successful initiatives to address the youth demographic challenge.”- Magali Rheault.

“There are a number of reasons for migrating which cannot necessarily be narrowed down to one reason or the other. It is a more complex system of factors but the data showed that the reasons were not really as a result of the economic situation as one might think, but more strongly, the perception of the local job market, one’s connections and how one viewed the government leadership, among others. These factors varied immensely across countries and so needs to be studied on a country basis. “- Magali Rheault. Speaking on Africa’s need to prepare for the population explosion, Dr. Patrick Awuah, President and founder of Ashesi University emphasized the urgency for stakeholders in African education to mobilize and maximize available resources to tackle the tasks and challenges ahead in educating leaders for the transformation of Africa.

“In the face of all these pressing issues, education remains the change factor that could drive the wheels of transformation on the continent.”- Patrick Awauh, President, Ashesi University.

Participants during the open forum expressed their concerns, perspectives, success stories, and ideas on the current state of education in Africa, and on the speeches made by Dr. Awuah and Ms. Rheault. The consensus was that other stakeholders besides just the universities have a part to play in educating the future leaders of Africa.

The closing remarks were given by Prof Yankah, Ghana Minister of State for Tertiary Education.

He expressed his satisfaction with the Ashesi’s role in revolutionizing education in Ghana and beyond, creating an excellent center of learning and deemed it significant to expand its wealth of experience to other universities in Africa.