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The Sustainable Development Goals Center Conference: Mobilizing African Intellectuals Towards Quality Tertiary Education
Radisson Blu Hotel and Convention Centre
5 - 6 July 2017
The Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A) hosted the conference titled: Mobilizing African Intellectuals Towards Quality Tertiary Education at the Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre, Kigali on 5th to 6th July 2017. As a platform for intellectuals’ engagement, the two-day conference brings together over 300 intellectuals and scholars from all over the continent and the diaspora, in an effort to convene major stakeholders for essential discussions on the major themes relevant to SDG implementation in tertiary education and research throughout Africa. The participants include Heads of State, government ministries in charge of education, university leadership including Vice Chancellors and Rectors of public and private universities and Heads of Academic Affairs, and other representatives of African academic networks, councils and research centers. The primary objective of the conference is to create a coalition of African intellectuals who will brainstorm and hold principal discussions on practical actions, explore solutions and build consensual approaches on the major themes relevant to SDG implementation in tertiary education and research throughout Africa.
Over the years, African policy makers have been aware of the pressing need to reform the education sector. For Africa to compete on the global stage, as well as for its countries to meet the SDGs and African Union’s Agenda 2063, the quality of higher education across the continent is in urgent need of improvement. Given that Africa is home to 16% of the earth’s population – 1.2 billion – it is surprising to note that none of the many African institutions of tertiary education are atop the podium of recent international university rankings.
It is evident that no African institution of tertiary education appears in the top 100 podiums of recent international university rankings. Only 10 of the world’s top 1000 universities are in Africa — 8 of which are located in a single country, South Africa. It is critical for the African continent to strengthen the quality of its higher education in order to compete on the global stage, as well as to meet the SDGs and African Union Agenda 2063 (AU2063).
Despite the differences in the outcome, African countries in general have obtained results - quantity wise - towards the attainment of MDG2 - “Achieve universal primary education”. There is an urgent need to capitalize on those results and accommodate the cohorts of young people who have successfully completed their primary and secondary cycles across the continent. The current projections urge us to do so.
The SDGC/A firmly believes that education is the most vital input for every dimension of sustainable development: it should not only be considered as a public value but also as a fundamental human right. In light of these considerations, the SDGCA decided to convene major stakeholders for discussions during the conference with the theme Mobilizing African Intellectuals Towards Quality Tertiary Education.
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