President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday urged African universities to work harder to advertise themselves in the global village.
He said Africa had a huge potential in higher education, which had been exploited only superficially.
“Knowledge is indeed the most inexhaustible resource any country can possess as well as secure,” President Akufo-Addo said in a speech read on his behalf at the opening of the 2017 International Association of Universities (IAU) Conference in Accra.The three-day conference, on the theme: “Leadership for a Changing Public-Private Higher Education Funding Landscape,” brought together more than 200 participants from IAU member universities across the globe.
Concerning the global ranking of African universities, President Akufo-Addo said out of the six continents - Africa, Europe, Asia, North America, South America, and Australia - Africa was the only continent not represented in the best 100 or the best 300 or the best 2000 universities in the world. All others were represented.
He said the number one university in Africa was placed in the world ranking as number 303, and that the number one university in Sub-Saharan Africa was also ranked as number 1,032 in the world. He said the university that ranked number 100 in Africa was ranked globally as number 3,419.
President Akufo-Addo said Ghana’s number one university was ranked 1,983 globally, and the fourth placed in Ghana, which was a highly respected university, was ranked 5,835.President Akufo-Addo said seven universities in Africa fell within the best 1000 universities in the world.
“Even though the worldwide rankings are not necessarily the most reliable in measuring academic standards, the geographical distribution of universities in the top, middle, and bottom brackets, should give one a sense of considerable inequality between universities in Africa, and the rest of the world.
“Within Africa itself there is a sharp schism in perceived standards, between universities in South Africa and Northern Africa on one hand, and those in the typical sub-Saharan Africa, described as North of the Limpopo River,” he said.
He said the limited academic migration to sub-Saharan African universities, should clearly then be seen within the broad global perceptions, which also feed into the general architecture of migration. The President urged participants to deliberate on skewed migration patterns and resolve to take steps necessary to bring about greater balance and equity, through higher levels of institutional marketing by African universities outside the Continent, as well as the opening up of centres of global studies for networking.
He said the IAU must revise its policies and enable more African universities to enroll as members as well as afford participation in the conferences. Among the dignitaries at the opening of the 2017 IAU International Conference were Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister of Education and Prof Kwesi Yankah, Minister of State for Tertiary Education.
The Conference focuses on the role, responsibilities, expectations and needs of higher education leaders in the new and shifting landscape. The IAU is an official partner of UNESCO; and it comprises more than 650 higher education institutions and organisations in some 130 countries.