Magazine article African Business

How China Can Benefit Higher Education in Africa

Magazine article African Business

How China Can Benefit Higher Education in Africa

Article excerpt

Tertiary education in Africa is fraught with problems. Chinese involvement could help it develop at multiple levels.

China's relationship with Africa is usually viewed through the relatively narrow lens of infrastructure, construction, energy, and mining. However, Sino-African relations have the potential to be multifaceted. Higher education is one sector that would benefit significantly from greater cross-fertilisation between China and Africa.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the enrolment rate in 2013 was 77% for primary, 34% for secondary, but only 9% for higher education. This, coupled with the fact that by 2030, the number of youth in Africa will have increased by 42%, points to an urgent need to address higher education on the continent.

However, higher education in Africa is fraught with challenges, including limited financial and human resources and a lack of industrial linkages causing education to be out of sync with the needs of the economy. Africa could benefit from China's involvement at multiple levels.

Technical education

Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in African countries is limited by a lack of industrial support. According to research conducted by the Sino Africa Centre of Excellence, many TVET institutes possess equipment, trainers, and curricula that are not up to industrial and international standards. Consequently, TVET graduates struggle to gain recognition by employers.

To bridge these gaps, African TVET institutions could partner with Chinese companies in Africa. For instance, Chinese firms could be incentivised to invest equipment, technology and human resources in technical training institutes. Alternatively, they could be invited to jointly develop curricula and provide internships to TVET institutes. Africa's technical education could thus benefit from industrial linkages with and technology transfers from Africa's Chinese private sector. …

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