African Academics Drawn Increasingly to Consultancy

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Yet another challenge facing higher education efforts in Africa is the growing rate at which professors and academic researchers are being drawn to lucrative consultancies outside of the university, due in part to low salaries and a lack of research funds.

That’s the conclusion leaders at Makerere University in Uganda, a longtime Corporation grantee, came to during a recent event with the Swedish International Development Agency. 

Academics lamented the fact that public universities in Africa often fail to secure government funding for applied research, and are thus forced to take their skills to the private sector.  According to Uganda’s Observernewspaper, Makerere university contributes just one percent of its budget to research.

“Because we never invest in research,” said Dr Ssali of the school of Women and Gender Studies at the university, “we largely tend to conform rather than challenge the findings from other research works.”

She also indicated that governments prefer to rely on the research of foreign think tanks and other institutions rather than universities on the continent. 

Building research capacity will be a point of discussion at next year’s Higher Education in Africa Summit, set to take place in Dakar, Senegal in March.

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