• Monday, June 24, 2024
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From Africa-class to world-class: How can Africa’s institutions move from good to great?’ (2)

The last mile syndrome (7)

In last month’s edition I started a piece titled ‘From Africa-Class to World-class- How can Africa’s institutions move from good to great!’ (Part 2).

Below are some concluding thoughts. Happy reading!

Hiring and attracting the best

This has to do with those who teach the next generation- are they really ‘called’ to teach, inspire, unlock passions and potentials?

Our classrooms, lecturer rooms must be powered by educators who really have what it takes and not simply see their responsibility to the next generation as a ‘job’.

We must therefore hire, attract and retain the very best. The educational sector must not be where those who could not make it elsewhere ‘settle’. It must be driven by the very best and brightest.

A system of continuous improvement

A key pathway to transitioning from Africa-class to World-class is by developing and maintaining a system of continuous improvement. How do our educational establishments maintain this? Who checks this? Are there robust peer reviews?

Do students give lecturers and teachers periodic and regular feedback- it is all well and good for the teachers and lecturers to give students feedback but do they take the same from students?

This also extends to how our educators are trained on the job. In order to leap from the current class to world-class this has to be a critical success factor.

Create an enabling environment for entrepreneurship

Now let’s get practical- what is in place to ensure that a culture of entrepreneurship is entrenched into all that we do. This culture must not be simply one of lip-service or make-believe; it has to be real, evidenced in the curriculum and extra-curricular.

What is the link between the institutions and industry? Who is intentionally driving this exchange of ideas and partnerships? The spirit of entrepreneurship must be real and the right enablers put in place. The enablers include creating an ideas lab, providing great internet connectivity on campus, providing start-up funds, providing pathways from taking ideas and concepts within the four- walls of university to market!

These are some ideas on how to create an enabling environment but not exhaustive.

Do everything possible to make every student the best they can be

Very often when you make such grand statements like the above – it is often confused as being a grand statement and a little over ambitious. But this really has to be the cornerstone of a world-class education system!

The best education systems in the world ensure that EVERY child, EVERY Student matters! This would mean devising unique strategies to ensure that every child/ student is carried along in the best possible way.

Read also:From Africa-class to World-class: How Africa’s institutions can move from good to great (1)

It also means there are support networks in place to ensure that every student can be the best they can become- does this mean every student will become an overnight A/First-class student? No but it means every student at the very least gets a chance to reach their highest potential.

Current education system in Africa (without being a general statement) is set up to favour the best and strongest students whilst others are left to figure it out somehow or eventually. Let us remember the English proverbs: ‘a chain is no stronger than its weakest link’ means that a group is only as strong or successful as its weakest or least successful member and therefore a lot of effort must be put into ensuring that every student gets the best support.

Thankfully, technology and all the tools out there allow for personalised learning and support- No more excuses! In fact, simply no room for excuses.

Creators of the future and not reactors

We must be at the cutting edge of creating the future and not simply reacting to the future. This should be evident in the whole educational institutions approach. It must be seen in our vision, mission statements and objectives. It must be seen in the unique way we do education.

What future do we see for Africa if any? And how are we creating programs and students who will be key players in that future? This cannot be left to chance else we have no chance! This has to be intentionally woven into the strategic plan of any institution that aims to move from Africa-class to World-class…

Collaboration – you cannot be world-class alone

Finally, this is where one of my favourite African proverbs comes in very handy- “If you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together.” This will take a collective effort of various stakeholders- universities, polytechnics, technical colleges, private schools, public schools, government and not-governmental agencies.

The journey of taking Africa from the current class to World-class has to be a collective effort. It would take sharing and a higher degree of openness and vulnerability.

It will take a sense of collective leadership i.e. leaders who do not just care about their own institutions, schools, colleges, department, etc. but those who care about the entire education system as a whole. They want to see the whole become world-class rather than just theirs.

We can return Africa’s education institutions back to winning ways and leading global rankings but it would take a collective effort and a sense of belief that truly and indeed- YES WE CAN!

Ogunbode, CEO, International Education Corporation Group, and director at the Africa Education Group, writes from Cambridge, UK.