Education, and particularly higher education is no longer only for the elite but a necessity for development! These remarks were made by Dr. Musafiri Malimba Papias, Minister of Education, Rwanda at the opening of a side event organised by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) and the African Union Commission on the Use of science, technology and innovation for implementing the Agenda 2063. The Side event took place on 14 June, 2013 during the FARA Science Week in Kigali, Rwanda under the theme “Apply Science, Impact Livelihood”. Dr. Musafiri noted that Education in the continent had improved significantly, particularly in terms of access but more needed to be done to strengthen quality and relevance to employers. He also noted the need to strengthen capacity for job creation for graduates. Prior to the opening, Dr. Papias visited the RUFORUM exhibition stand. He applauded RUFORUM for its service to Rwanda, including servicing the University of Rwanda as well as the over 34 MScs and PhD students trained who are now working in various sectors in Rwanda, particularly at the Rwanda Agricultural Board (RAB) and University of Rwanda (UR).
Dr. Papias called for joint action by African stakeholders to establish and enhance mechanisms towards improving science, technology and innovation in Africa. “We must work together to ensure that future generations will inherit a strengthened continent with greater hope than we experienced in our lifetime” he concluded.
The side event attracted 98 participants representing Sub-Regional Organisations, private sector, African universities and continental policy bodies. It was organised to provide opportunity to highlight the perspectives of employers of agricultural graduates and share current interventions to strengthen human capacity development in Africa linked to the implementation of the STISA 2024 by RUFORUM and its partners. During the event the African Union Commission debriefed participants on its recently launched research call.
The Side event recommended:
- Increase tracking, collection and analysis of capacity related information to guide the planning/ implementation
- Transforming tertiary education to support skills development that responds directly to national priority needs such as under the Rwanda Workforce Development Authority
- Focus on skilling the youth for job creation
- Revising curricula to reflect the current and future skills needs: business management skills, policy design and reform; systems approaches (AIS), proposal writing, research methods, communication skills, etc.
- Capacity development at individual, organizational and systems level. This should consider lifelong learning and use of ICT tools to widen access.
- Create an enabling environment to enhance capacity retention
- Focused attention be given to strengthen higher education and technical and vocational education including for extension delivery