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What African countries can do to make their university certificates more recognized?

06.05.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
University also called College, Higher Institute, Seminary, Polytechnic or Varsity, according to the Oxford Dictionary, “is a high-level educational institution in which students study for degrees and where academic research is done.” There are a couple of internationally recognized universities in Africa such as; University of Cape Town (UCT) South Africa, American University in Cairo (AUC) Egypt, Al Akhawayn University of Ifrane Morocco, University of Nairobi Kenya, Makerere University of Kampala Uganda, University of Legon-Accra Ghana and University of Ibadan Nigeria.

There are thousands of State owned and Private Universities round Africa whose accreditation is questionable although arts, science and technology courses are taught alongside vocational training programs. There is a popular slang which is common to African Parents, “Education is the key to success”, which almost all young African’s who dream to get educated have astutely embraced. Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” In this light, many people actually believe that most of Africa’s problems today can be reduced if education is promoted; why not also recognize the certificates worldwide.

It is also regrettable that Africans accept any certificate from out even without verification while those from Africa are denounced, rejected or demoted not only within but also without; but one controversial question remains unanswered; where shall they work after Graduation?

REASONS FOR THE NON RECOGNITION OF AFRICAN CERTIFICATES AND POSSIBLE REMEDIES

Outdated Curricula

African University systems, teaching methods and administrative structures were instituted during colonization or shortly after. Today, they are outdated, no longer properly implemented and the colonialists who brought them have upgraded their systems thus making them reluctant to recognize African certificates.

African governments, stakeholders and institutions should reform these systems and provide the right equipment and team that can implement them sustainably.

Fake documents

Fabricating fake certificates and other dossier is a common African cankerworm affecting the educational system. Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan is one of the few who attempted to restrict the circulation of fake certificates both in Nigeria and abroad.

Certificates from both private and State from basic to university levels should be processed and produced by the State examination board and the information well documented and kept in state archives.

Educational foundation

In Africa education begins from Basic, Primary, Secondary to High School before University, meanwhile vocational Training is offered to those who cannot afford university studies. Sometimes students skip some of these stages, write public examinations without attending lectures and manage to find themselves in Universities which calls for doubt. In South Sudan, many children do not receive elementary education because of fear of kidnapping and rape due to the political crises.

The university admission processes should demand recommendation letters and transcripts from their former institutions bearing contact information for reference and confirmation of document authenticity.

Reforms carried out under pressure

Africa’s educational reforms are often done under pressure, political debates and civil unrests which leave on lookers wondering how viable the resolutions are. It is clear that these reforms will not be based on policy but aimed to satisfy a particular party. Sometimes lessons are interrupted or even halted making education porous which leads to reconsideration before graduation of students. In Cameroon due to the political crisis in some parts of the country which began partly due to demands for educational reforms, students have written public examinations for the past two years under pressure and faulty results published, but universities round Cameroon and other African countries have given admitted such students; which is not credible enough.

African state educational stakeholders and institutions should provide a free, transparent and credible atmosphere under which suggestions and innovations can be debated upon and adopted to avoid violence.

Lack of computerized data management systems

Very few African countries have a computerized database system which can facilitate document authenticity checks. Wherever this is lacking, unqualified persons, law breakers, ex-convicts and fugitives admitted are likely to find their way into universities. So far, Rwanda, South Africa, Egypt, Kenya and Ghana are some of the few African countries implementing this.

This should be provided to avoid errors so as to make it possible to checked for the authenticity of documents and restrict the entry of unqualified persons.

Lack of professionalism

It is presumed that Africa lacks professionalism in the university teaching and learning process because some of the faculties are under equipped especially science and technology.

Universities especially the private should get mentorship from recognized universities abroad. Both State and private universities should standardize their employment procedures. State examination boards should monitor and evaluate entrance/internal university examinations.

Unqualified Lecturers

Some think that university lecturers are just a small portion of a bigger mistake because most of them are breeds of the same educational system.

For those who are already there, capacity building programs should be done through seminars, conferences, workshops and research projects to empower them with up-to-date teaching abilities.

Unrests

University certificates obtained during periods of war, civil unrest or some other social adversities will definitely not be accredited. This is because during such periods, lectures are interrupted and the time lost not compensated for. These certificates will definitely not be recognized for obvious reasons.

Kenya is now undertaking reforms without any internal or external pressure as Bonaventure Kerre Chairman of Kenyan Qualifications Authority confirmed this during an interview with University World News saying, “The guidelines for framework have been validated; learning institutions have two years to ensure all academic records are deposited in the central database. The framework would provide guidelines on the length of time certificate, diploma and degree courses should take.”

If all these are sustainably looked into, Africa will build a recognized, continuous and sustainable higher educational system in compliance to global standards which will also help in poverty reduction, elimination of corruption and economic development.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

Credit image : google image

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