EAC: Academic institutions and private sector companies in the East African Community (EAC) have been urged to develop strong partnerships to produce graduates with skills to succeed in employment.
Speaking at the 12th Academia-Public-Private Partnership Forum (APPPF) and Exhibition held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Thursday, 16th March 2023, the Chief Guest, the Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Prof. Adolf Faustine Mkenda, urged educational institutions, and the private sector to work together to produce market-driven programmes that are responsive to the dynamic needs of the labour market and train graduates that are relevant for the socio-economic development of the region.
Dr. Irene C. Isaka, the Director Social Sectors at the EAC Secretariat, representing the EAC Secretary General, urged academic institutions to work with the private sector to develop curricula that is in tandem with the requirements of the labour market.
“I would like to encourage you to continue to work together to constantly review and adapt your curricula to remain in tandem with the current development agenda of the region, and requirements of the labour market,” Dr Isaka said.
The IUCEA Executive Secretary, Prof. Gaspard Banyankimbona, observed that skills required to succeed in employment are constantly evolving which necessitates close collaboration between the private sector and higher education institutions to keep pace with the changes demands in the world of work.
“The reality of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning demonstrates the need to continuously revise and alter our training to develop learners that are able to adapt to the changing demands in employment. Some of the skills learnt today in our various learning ecosystems become outdated even before students graduate. Therefore, it is only through strong partnerships between academia and the private sector that we shall be able to identify skills required for future success in the job market,” said Prof. Banyankimbona.
Mr. Johannes Sperrfechter, BMZ Representative and Head of Regional Development Cooperation at German Embassy, on behalf of the Ambassador, Dr Regine Hess, disclosed that the German Government had committed 2.5m Euros additional funds to the East African Skills Directorate project to strengthen its support and initiatives in the Master Programme, digital skills trainings and entrepreneurship support.
The IUCEAA and GIZ signed their implementation agreement on Friday at the conference.
The Chief Executive Officer of the East African Business Council (EABC), Mr John Bosco Kalisa said to achieve greater productivity, countries must focus on demand-driven technical and vocational education, entrepreneurship, and business training programmes tied to sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing.
“Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines require special attention focusing on the transfer and adoption of technology,” said Mr. Kalisa.
The APPPF is a biennial forum that brings together universities, technical and vocational colleges, entrepreneurs, policy makers, and private sector to deliberate on how to foster joint dialogue and enhance the linkage between the private sector and higher education institutions, as well as government institutions.
This year’s forum was organised by the Inter-University Council for East Africa (IUCEA) in partnership with the German Cooperation, through GIZ, the East African Business Council (EABC) and Tanzania Commission for Universities (TCU).
East African Community, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania