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Graduate Unemployment Issues Dominate AAU’s Conference.

AFRICAN universities were yesterday asked to solve the problems of youth unemployment, insecurity, economic development, water and food shortages plaguing the continent, as the 13th General Conference of the Association of African Universities (AAU) began in Libreville, Gabon.

The association’s Acting President, Prof. George Magoha noted that African universities should be deeply concerned about the current high rate of unemployment among the youths, especially university graduates in the continent. The present situation, he observed, should make African academics ask serious questions about the curriculum and mode of training going on in tertiary institutions. He queried: “Are we really training and producing graduates that can improve the lot of Africa? Finding employment has become an issue, so, which is the best way to produce a holistic product (graduates) that can be useful in a variety of ways?”

He warned the academics billed to deliver papers not to waste the audience’s time by talking about theories “that are over 10 years old” but to address the real issues at hand. The association’s Secretary General, Prof. Etienne Ehouan Ehile said it had become imperative for African Universities to become centres of excellence in the face of a rapidly changing world. He stated that quality, in both the programmes being offered and graduates released into the job market must reflect the ability to solve the continent’s problems.

He reminded the audience that the AAU was formed 1967, meets once every four years and “by 2012, 33 African countries have been celebrating independence anniversaries.” Yet, he noted, the continent is still struggling with challenges in the face of a rapidly changing world. He said: “This is an opportunity for us to examine how higher education is fairing. How do we respond to the various challenges? How can universities become centres of excellence?”

Source : Guardian NG

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