Tade Akin Aina: Issues in African Postgraduate Education

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African countries increasingly require highly trained workers, researchers, and teachers as well as locally-generated research to sustain and expand recent social and economic gains.  This demand presents a challenge to African higher education systems.  African governments prioritize access to undergraduate education over investments to expand and strengthen postgraduate — and, particularly, doctoral — education and research.  These investments in postgraduate education would have to be substantial in order to attain sufficient quantity of postgraduates and research products at a competitive level of quality.  Now that African governments are increasingly adopting science, technology, and innovation as a pathway to development, the moment to push the postgraduate training and research agenda may have arrived.  Because the issues that underpin successful development of strong advanced training and research capacity require difficult choices among competing priorities and different models of education, spaces for thoughtful discussion are important.  One such space was offered by South Africa’s National Research Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York in October 2013.  A convening on “Expanding and Sustaining Excellence in Doctoral Programs in Sub-Saharan Africa: What Needs to Be Done?” brought together more than thirty African university leaders, leaders of postgraduate training and research networks and higher education regulatory and membership bodies, higher education researchers, and funders.  The video presented here highlights the central issues discussed.