The 16th International Conference on Private Higher Education in Africa, which was organized by St. Mary’s University, was held at the African Union Conference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from July 25 to 27, 2018.
Welcoming statements were made by Associate Professor Wondwosen Tamrat, Founder and President of St. Mary’s University; Prof. Bakhari Osman Saeed, Vice President, Association of African Universities (AAU); H.E., Prof Sarah Anyang Agbor, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science and Technology (HRST), African Union Commission (AUC); and Dr. Yumiko Yokozeki, Director, International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA)/UNESCO.
In his welcoming speech, Associate Professor Wondwosen Tamrat notified that more than thirty research papers would be presented in the conference whose contributions toward the University’s Strategic Plan would be immense. He also added that the findings of the deliberations will be forwarded to the concerned government organizations, and public and private higher education institutions.
Appreciating the initiative taken by St. Mary’s University and its partners to organize such an important conference,H.E. Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor, Commissioner for Human Resources, Science & Technology African Union Commission, said that “African public and private universities need to give considerable attention to the quality of their Masters and PhD programmes.”She added, “It is necessary that they work to improve the quality of their educational programmes.”The Commissioner further underscored, “It is impossible to achieve meaningful and sustainable social and economic development of the continent without addressing the issues around provision of quality higher education in Africa”
Following the welcoming statement, the conference was opened by Dr. Tilaye Getie, Minister of Federal Ministry of Education. In his discourse, H.E. Dr. Tilaye made it clear that currently the Ministry is revising the existing curricula and the most important inputs to develop the curriculum have been identified. He also mentioned that the positive suggestions and points raised in such an International Conference can be taken as input to develop the ongoing curricula revision.
Keynote remarks were also given by Prof. Damtew Teferra, Founding Director, International Network for Higher Education in Africa, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and Dr. Teshome Yizengaw, from Indiana University, USA on ‘Advancing Knowledge Frontiers in Transforming Ethiopia’ and ‘Private Universities toward Developing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs and Leaders: Lessons from Experience’, respectively.
Following the remarks, high-level panelists discussed key issues pertinent to the theme of the conference- Ensuring Employability and Entrepreneurship through Harmonized Quality Higher Education in Africa.Then local and international scholars presented their papers to the participants who were distributed into two conference rooms. Finally, after the plenary sessions, H.E. Prof. Sarah Anyang Agbor Commissioner for Human Resources, Science & Technology African Union Commission, made a closing speech in which she emphasized the role of theme of the conference which was essential and very strategic to the quality of African graduates and will allow the continent at large to produce graduates to meet the demands of the job market, and will ensure systematic improvement of the quality of African Higher Education. She also called for “an urgent need for quality assurance frameworks, harmonization of curricula, and setting up of benchmarks for quality controls.”
The conference was brought to an end by words of Thanks made by Ato Tedla Haile, Executive Vice President of St Mary’s University.