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‘SUPPORT HIGHER EDUCATION’

By Vision Reporter

Added 19th May 2009 03:00 AM

ACADEMICIANS across Africa have warned that neglecting higher education spelt doom for the continent and called on the political leaders to resist policies that do not support the higher education sub-sector.

ACADEMICIANS across Africa have warned that neglecting higher education spelt doom for the continent and called on the political leaders to resist policies that do not support the higher education sub-sector.

BY JOHN EREMU IN ABUJA, NIGERIA

ACADEMICIANS across Africa have warned that neglecting higher education spelt doom for the continent and called on the political leaders to resist policies that do not support the higher education sub-sector.

The over 200 vice chancellors who met in the Nigerian capital, Abuja recently questioned the rationale behind the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund’s emphasis on basic education yet the West is developed because it encouraged higher education.

“Basic education is important, but you cannot have a vibrant basic education without a strong higher education,” said Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, the president of the Association of African Universities (AAU).

“Higher education is where doctors, engineers, researchers and great thinkers that can cause a revolution on the continent are created,” added the association vice president, Prof. Shamsudeen Amali.

The conference, organised by AAU in conjunction with the universities of Abuja and Ilorin, was on the theme: “Sustainable Development in Africa: The Role of Higher Education.” It was officially opened by the Nigerian President Umar Yar’Adua and addressed by, among other renowned scholars, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs of the Earthy Institute, Columbia University.

Oyolede, who is also the vice chancellor University of Ilorin, said massive investment in higher education would improve quality in other segments in the education sector. He said Africa had the necessary resources and skills to develop, but lacked the political will.

Oyolede said although the continent’s expenditure in education had improved over the years, actions by some political leaders show they do not value education.

“If you demolish a school to put up a hotel, what message are you sending to the public?” Oloyede asked.

“If you pay legislators more than the university professors, you are telling the world how much you value education.”

Oloyede who was elected unopposed as president said the main concern of his executive shall be getting the political leaders to put higher education on top of their agenda.

“We intend to form a synergy between academicians and political leaders,” Oloyede said.

“We are going to renew our mandate with the political leaders that they should support higher education not only with money, but also their physical presence.

‘SUPPORT HIGHER EDUCATION’

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