The Vice Chancellor of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) Professor Abednego Feehi Okoe Amartey, has noted that the future of Africa depends largely on the quality of education offered at all levels of the education ecosystem.
He emphasised that education is a “great equaliser” and African nations must take bold steps to create inclusive, resilient, quality education systems fit for the future they desire.
Prof Amartey is therefore advocating a strategic review and re-orientation of Africa’s educational strategy that can lead to improvements in sustainability and social impact.
Prof Amartey made these assertions in a keynote presentation at the 2023 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Africa Education Forum held at Coventry University in Nigeria, where he was part of a distinguished group of expert speakers.
The QS Africa Forum seeks to unravel the paramount role of education in cultivating sustainability and propelling social impact within the African landscape.
The two-day international conference, themed ‘Education Africa 2030 and Beyond – Sustainability and Social Impact in an African Context,’ brought together professionals and players in the knowledge industry on the African continent.
“Education is the key to national development and the future of nations, communities, and societies,” Prof. Amartey said. “It unlocks opportunities and narrows inequalities. Education is the bedrock of informed and tolerant societies and a primary driver of sustainable development.”
He further stated: “it is a given that the future of our continent, Africa, depends predominantly on the education and training of its children and young people. Through education, individuals are empowered with the knowledge, skills, and values needed to address pressing challenges such as climate change, resource depletion, and environmental degradation.”
Prof. Amartey stressed that with just seven years to hit the United Nations’ 2030 deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Africa is still bedeviled with many challenges, hindering her efforts at achieving sustainability and social impact goals, especially when it comes to SDG 4, which centres on inclusive and equitable quality education for all.
To address these challenges, Prof Okoe Amartey believes there is a need for a paradigm shift in African education towards sustainable development.
“At this stage in [Africa’s] history, it is highly imperative to invest in education as a formidable force, capable of shaping sustainable development and instigating profound social transformation within Africa and beyond,” he said.
“We [also] need investment in digital literacy and infrastructure, an evolution towards learning how to learn, a rejuvenation of life-long learning, and strengthened links between formal and non-formal education.”
The QS Africa Forum, held from September 4-5, 2023, offered a conducive platform for educators, policymakers, researchers, and innovators to engage in conversations centered on the promotion of sustainable lifestyles, entrepreneurship, and transformative projects.
The annual gathering of higher education leaders serves as an intellectual and practical meeting of minds, fostering profound discourse and facilitating the exchange of best practices and experiential wisdom.