We must support innovation and promote it as much as we can.
Our member universities, as well as those in Sub-Saharan Africa, are very cognizant of this. You are now seeing many schools set up incubators and encouraging entrepreneurship.
That will create an environment which allows graduates to set up a business based on innovation and new ideas. As an institution, we are very serious about transformational learning to prepare graduates not just to seek jobs but create them.
Having worked in South East Asia, the UK, and other parts of Europe, I can say that Africa can do higher education very differently.
Africa gets a raw deal in terms of reporting and publicity, but I’m glad that’s beginning to change. Media channels like BBC World are now showcasing positive stories about Africa. My Malaysian adopted son has a book series out known as “Life through My Eyes”. This book changes the perceptions about the education system in Ghana. The book blows the whistle on Europeans who come to Africa under the auspices of charity, just to make money from poor people. We must be wary of post-colonial opportunists who come to Africa to make money by offering watered-down education. These postcolonial opportunists often offer training that is of lesser quality than what is being offered by poorly funded local schools.
"The notion that the fourth industrial revolution will affect everybody, and their job is both true and false. We don't refer to it as the fourth industrial revolution because that makes it unclear to many people.
In our eyes, we interpret it as a time with increased connectivity, better software development, artificial intelligence, as well as other technologies that redefine the world of work. Though some manual jobs will be lost, we must not see the fourth industrial revolution as a threat but rather an opportunity to diversify our economy."
Across Africa's higher education sector there is an awareness that the fourth industrial revolution is here. Educators now have a tremendous responsibility to prepare the people and organisations of the continent for a time of rapid change.
It can be argued that in the time of Industry 4.0 the stakes are higher in Africa than anywhere else in the world. Africa's economic development has been accelerated by an ability to harness technology to leapfrog developmental steps in multiple industries. However, in a continent where many places have never seen the benefits of Industry 3.0, there is a danger of many being left behind as the demands of industry no longer match the skills available in the workforce.
Technology has the power to uplift millions of Africa. Similarly, it carries the threat of leaving millions more unemployed and locked out of the global economy.
How is the higher education sector preparing young Africans for an uncertain future? And how can Africa ensure it remains globally relevant in the fourth industrial revolution?