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Social Media: Digital image

In the last four years, RUFORUM has engaged in using social media as one of the tools for advocating for increased dialogue and investment in the Higher Agricultural Education sector. This has resulted into increased online engagement of both youth and academicians in deliberating on key development issues across Africa. With support from the RUFORUM Network, we have trained of over 250 African graduates.

The importance of social media for universities cannot be underrated when it comes to brand identity, recruitment, and funding. Social Media provides opportunities for universities to solidify their brand, attract potential students and connect with alumni who are potentially useful in funding universities through giving back both financially and in-kind.

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Above: Academic Staff who attended the two day training in Busitema University Main Campus

In light of the above, RUFORUM organized a series of Social Media training’s for graduates and staff within its member network this year. On the 19th and 20th May 2017, Busitema University staff were trained in the use of Social Media to enhance visibility of their research, increase online engagement and teaching. The two day training was officiated by Assoc. Professor S.B Kucel, the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Busitema University. This training was made possible with support from Busitema University. A total of sixteen staff members where trained. Below are a few highlights from the training:

Betty Birabwa.Birabwa Elizabeth: Quality Assurance Officer/Internationalization and Partnership Coordinator, Busitema University

The training provided me with a hands-on experience of the various social media platforms. I realized how versatile social media is, as mode of communication, information sharing and networking with other professionals, staff and students. I particularly appreciated linked-in, because I believe the platform will give me an opportunity to acquire and share professional information with like-minded people.

As a quality assurance officer, I hope to use the various platforms to conduct surveys and seek opinions from students and staff about any quality assurance matters in the University. Given the scope and speed, I expect to reach majority of the stakeholders and of course give an instant feedback about any interventions in place.  It will also be easier to reach University alumni when conducting graduate tracer surveys especially through their whatsApp and Facebook accounts.

Since internationalization is one of the core values of Busitema University, Social Media is an instrument that can enhance branding and increase visibility of the University to potential international students and partners. Recent trends indicate that universities need to embrace Social Media as a tool for improving the quality of services and marketing the institution both locally and globally. You can reach Elizabeth @jokukiriza on twitter.

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Written by Catherine Mloza-Banda

What can Higher Education do for Africa?

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Dr. Emmanuel Fabiano: Minister of Education, Science and Technology opening the meeting at BICC, Lilongwe

Higher Education is instrumental in building human capital that is vital for facilitating social and economic development. Countries such as South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan show undisputable evidence that increased access to higher education creates way for increased strides in development. Thus, it is imperative that Africa is likely to reap social and economic gains if we build the necessary human resource that is critical in exploiting socio-economic opportunities through increasing access to Higher education.

What is the current status of Higher Education in Africa?

About 65% of people in Africa are below the age of 35. However, less than 10% of young people are enrolled in higher education in Africa as compared to the global average of 26%. In 2007, the tertiary student enrollment ratio in sub-Saharan Africa was only around 6%, the lowest quantity of the world regions.

Why is this so?

There are so many challenges facing higher education face in Africa. These challenges range from lack of adequate funding, to inadequate human personnel and facilities.

How can we solve this problem? It is through increasing enrollment? Increasing funding? Building more universities? All these solutions are indeed plausible solutions to improving higher education, but who propels these changes? Who ensures that enrollment is increased? Who will ensure funding is increased? Leaders!

Without harnessing the political will of our leaders in Africa, improving higher education will yet be another mirage; a goal often talked about, seldom achieved. The selection of 10 African champions of Education, Science and Technology during the 25th African Union (AU) Assembly in South Africa demonstrates an appreciation of the importance of political engagement and also the relevance of right policy moves to change things for the better. It is hoped that the 10 Champions will serve to push higher education in the right direction in Africa.

Related articles:

  1. African universities discuss science, technology at Malawi summit
  2. African Union Chairperson announces a Committee of Ten Heads of State and Government to Champion Higher Education in Africa
  3. Strengthening Science, Technology and Innovation in Africa
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