Gov’ts advised to scale up and sustain innovations by young graduates in Africa

Adetomi Soyinka, (right) stressing a point during a panel discussion

The Regional Director in charge of Higher Education Programmes at British Council in the  Sub-Sahara Africa, Adetomi Soyinka has said that, it is important to engage government on ways to ensure that innovations by young graduates are scaled up and sustained.

According to her the scale of need versus the resourcing continues to remain imbalanced hence, the need to engage government on how to roll out partnerships that will imbibe the knowledge acquired by a small cohort into the entire education system.

She said Innovation for African Universities (IAU) has begun engagement with government and would continue to provide data on how possible it would be to achieve such a target.

“We have already started government engagements at the beginning of the project. This was to get them informed on what we would like to do and achieve. Now that we are done, we would take the data, insights and learnings back to the government, to say it works and therefore this is how partnerships should be done. For the things that did not work also, we share with government so that they become aware of that without going through the same or similar process,” she said.

Ms. Soyinka added that government must be ready to embed the information provided into the education systems and scale it. This she said would be the way impact and long-term change can happen if government does that.

She made these comments among others at the British Council’s Innovations for African Universities (IAU) conference that seeks to promote entrepreneurship skills among university students and closing the gap between job seekers and job creators for African youth, in Accra.

IAU was created by the British Council in 2021 on the back of the COVID 19 crisis, which represented a critical time for curriculum review and teaching innovation amongst tertiary institutions in the region. Many universities agreed that there was a need to think outside-the-box to evolve teaching practices that equip students to become self-starters.

By pairing universities in Africa and the UK, IAU sought to catalyse the development of entrepreneurship curriculums customised to each country’s unique situation and economic needs in a bid to leapfrog the creation of generational businesses across the continent in response to its rapidly growing youth population, where many are confronted by high levels of unemployment and underemployment.

The conference focused on several broad issues, challenges and opportunities facing the Higher Education sector in the area of employment and entrepreneurship and seeks to bring a range of critical ecosystem players into the same room to develop new ideas for new solutions to address youth unemployment challenges.

On his part, the Executive Chairman, Sakfos Holdings, Accra Ghana, Dr. Abu Sakara also indicated that it is important to take a critical look at the policy environment and what could be done to ensure that successful innovations flourish.

“We must know what is it about the policy environment that is stopping people from scaling up the successful programmes. Once we identify those areas, and we know where the problems are, we must be willing to respect and restructure the economy in order to allow them to flourish,” he said.

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