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Experts tip public universities on funding

By Vision Reporter

Added 17th March 2015 05:09 PM

Public universities should establish multiple sources of funding if they are to stay relevant to needs of the economy, higher education experts have said.

Experts tip public universities on funding

Public universities should establish multiple sources of funding if they are to stay relevant to needs of the economy, higher education experts have said.


By Carol Natukunda

Public universities should establish multiple sources of funding if they are to stay relevant to needs of the economy, higher education experts have said.


Speaking at the just-concluded conference on higher education in Senegal, experts noted that the limited funding from the government was crippling the sector.

They cited endowment funds and internal innovations as some of the other ways that could generate income.

“We need to find ways to fund higher education training programmes that will contribute to innovation and that way be relevant to the transformation of Africa,” said M. António Leão Correia E Silva, minister of higher education, sciences and innovation in Cape Verde.

“We must not be totally dependent on government for funding, he said.

“We need to be innovative. For instance, we need to look at getting patents for research products and generating funds that way. It is just a matter of thinking differently.”

In Uganda, Makerere and other four public universities are running on deficits because of insufficient funds from the government. Hence, most of the costs are being borne by students and their parents.

Prof. Abdu Kasozi, the former director of the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) talked to New Vision in an earlier interview about the issue.

“No public university receives more than 60% of the money it needs to educate a student, he said.

“To operate well, a university needs to get 100% of the cost of educating a student like the ‘first-world schools’.”

At the conference in the west African nation, participants noted that the percentage of national budgets allotted to higher education in Africa stands at 7% compared to 76% in the rest of the world – making funding of the sector a priority issue in the next 10 years.

'Is Africa ready to bring back diaspora'


AnnClaire Williams, a board member of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, challenged African philanthropists to rise to the challenge like it was in America.

“We need to throw the challenge back to Africa’s philanthropists because when you look at the progress made in America, it has largely been on account of the contribution of philanthropy,” she said.

Some participants called on the need to involve Africans in diaspora in developing the higher education sector.

“The question is not whether the diaspora are willing to contribute. The question is what do Africa’s leaders want to do with their diaspora? Is Africa ready to bring back its diaspora to lead industry and contribute to development” questioned Dr. Nkem Khumba who is from the Centre of African Studies at Michigan University.

Prof Paul Zeleza, Vice President of Academic Affair at Quinnipiac University confirmed that in the US alone, there are 25 000 African diaspora working in American universities, many of whom would be ready and willing to assist universities back home.

The summit, under the theme “revitalizing higher education for Africa’s future," is the brainchild of TrustAfrica.

Financing is among the top higher education priorities identified by the African Union (AU) to ensure economic development. Other issues include relevant curricula, increased PhD numbers and increased access to higher education.
 

Experts tip public universities on funding

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