12:22 pm
23 March 2017

African Graduates Half Baked, Fail to Impress at Work – Experts

THE quality of graduates produced by universities in Africa leaves a lot to be desired as they fail to impress in the industry, the Association of African Universities (AAU) has said.

The AAU, whose headquarters are in Ghana, is the Apex of higher education in Africa and implements education mandates on behalf of the African Union Commission to improve the quality of tertiary education.

The continental association is worried about lecturers’ recruitment framework which it says is based on academic qualifications with no due consideration for professional teaching qualification.

Students react during the graduation ceremony of the 2010 class at Hampton University in Virginia May 9, 2010. U.S. President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at the graduation and was conferred an honorary doctor of laws degree. REUTERS/Jason Reed (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS EDUCATION IMAGES OF THE DAY) – RTR2DNV8

AAU’s Quality Assurance Specialist and project officer for Harmonization of African Higher Education Quality Assurance and Accreditation (HAQAA) Initiative, Dr Violet Makuku, said the association has decided to conduct intensive training for lecturers on basic higher education skills.

She said curriculum taught at institutions of higher learning should be relevant and contribute to critical thinking needed in the industry.

“The industry is complaining about graduates who aren’t fit for the market. This is a worldwide problem and some lecturers apply poor teaching practices because they don’t have professional teaching qualification and this is aggravated by poor orientation hence they should be trained for harmonization of the curriculum,” said Dr Makuku.

She said in some instances lecturers fail do teaching courses because they are expected by their respective colleges to conduct lectures.

Dr Makuku said the AAU, which has close to 400 members in the continent, is training lecturers to cover the gap.

“We have chosen the core of what informs best practices in teaching and learning in higher education and the focus is on foundations of education, course content, classroom management and assessment,” she said.

Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education (Zimche) chief executive officer, Professor Emmanuel Ngara, who gave a keynote address, said it was worrying that graduates being churned out are half baked.

“Many African tertiary institutions produce half-baked graduates that aren’t fit for the world of work mainly because of the way they are taught and the absence of curricular reviews that should respond to the calls of industry’s contemporary needs.

“It has been noted throughout the world that institutions realise challenges associated with higher education teaching and learning because lecturers’ recruitment framework is based on academic qualifications with no due consideration for professional teaching qualification,” said Prof Ngara.

The four-day workshop is coded ‘The basic higher education teaching skills (Bhets),’and is going under the theme: “21st Century innovative teaching and learning methods in higher education” started Monday and ends Thursday.

The AAU and Zimche organised the workshop, which is the third since the process started around the five African regions last year in October.

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