1. University World News
Experts weigh in on higher education challenges (Africa)
A selection of experts and scholars in African higher education share their views on the key challenges and trends facing higher education in the upcoming year. Tertiary education is an essential driver of economic and social development in all African nations. Skilled human capital and a strong research base are not only key elements of a country’s economic growth strategy, but they also determine its capacity to attain the Sustainable Development Goals. African nations must formulate a clear vision for the future of tertiary education, put in place favourable governance frameworks, and mobilise resources to overcome the challenges facing their tertiary education systems: poor access and equity; inadequate quality and relevance; and insufficient research and knowledge transfer. They must also overcome political rivalries and mistrust to promote SouthSouth cooperation and pool their resources in support of regional projects, such as the African Centers of Excellence. The slow verification of qualifications has been a major challenge. The situation has been aggravated by refugees fleeing both natural and man-made crises, who have nothing to prove their academic and professional qualifications. Degree mills and degrees offered by institutions that are not accredited have also become a major challenge. National qualifications frameworks for African countries need to be harmonised and there should be mutual trust among member countries. There is need for a continental database for African universities where all student qualifications are deposited on the cloud with passwords and different levels of administrative powers controlling access. For more details, click here
2. The Daily Monitor
Formula of making money from sunflower farming (Uganda)
Bukedea cattle market, a dusty market centre located off the Bukedea-Kumi Road in Bukedea Town, is just a stone throw away from the ancient rocks, making it a potential tourist centre. The smell of roast chicken wafts in the air as I venture into the centre. Chicken and beef roasting is a popular business here, drawing in hundreds of people particularly at the weekend. It is in this centre that Norah Ebukalim, a farmer, and member of P’KWI farmers association has established their sunflower cooking oil business. The group process their own cooking oil from sunflower that they grow on five acres thanks to the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM). RUFORUM is ensuring students pursuing courses in agricultural related topics reach out to farming communities to sensitise them about agribusiness initiatives especially value addition. Planting. Sunflower grows well in areas with sparse rainfall, and the soil should be slightly acidic with a pH of between 6.0 and 7.5. Several varieties, which include Sunbeam, Mammoth, Autumn Beauty, Teddy Bear and Fedha, are grown in different parts of the country, in particular eastern and northern. They mature in three to four months. One needs at least an acre for a commercial venture, monoammonium phosphate or di-ammonium phosphate fertiliser or farmyard manure and certified seeds, which are readily available at agrovets. For more details, click here
3. University World News
No PhD, no tenure policy – Is it the best way forward? (Ghana)
The importance of higher education in the development of any nation cannot be overemphasised. It has become a major driver of development for most countries. The role of higher education in Ghana’s sustainable social, political and economic development is not contested; its expansion serves the social, political and economic aspirations of Ghana. Hence, successive governments have assumed gatekeeper roles in order to ensure that quality higher education is offered. Central to this goal is the hiring of qualified lecturers to teach at Ghanaian universities. Ghana’s key higher education regulatory bodies – the National Council for Tertiary Education (NCTE) and the National Accreditation Board (NAB) – set the doctoral degree as the minimum qualification for university teaching. However, some circumstances peculiar to Ghana’s higher education sector often lead to the relaxation of this policy. There are often shortages of academics with doctoral degrees in some specialised fields, which compel the universities to recruit staff with lower credentials. This practice seems to be common in both public and private universities but the government has vowed to stop this practice. In mid-November 2018 Ghana’s minister of education made a public pronouncement to the effect that the government was working to enforce in the near future the implementation of the existing policy that requires a doctoral degree as a prerequisite qualification for university teaching. This seems to have won the support of some higher education stakeholders including the president of the University Teachers’ Association of Ghana (UTAG) who claims it is in line with global standards, which Ghana should enforce to be competitive in the global higher education system. For more details, click here
JuFresh Enterprise is the name of a student enterprise made up of five young dynamic students pursuing MSc. Agri-Enterprises Development at Gulu University in Northern Uganda. The enterprise which started operating in November 2018 at Gulu University is venturing into producing a variety of fresh fruit juice and fruit salads. JuFresh Enterprise also engages with fruits producer’s organizations on contract basis to supply fruits as a way of reducing post-harvest loss, improving farmers’ income, alleviating key micronutrients deficiencies, improving food security and boosting the level of investments of fruit the processing sector.
The fruits range from avocado, passion fruit, watermelon, pineapple, as well as fruit salads. And are presented in convenient packaging, sizes, quantity and affordable price hence meeting the growing demands for safe and healthy juice free of preservatives. Currently, the group serve the entire majority of the student fraternity and staff of Gulu University.
The team members are Okello Robine the general manager, Alla Houessou Jemima the accountant, Aciro Lucy sales and marketing manager, Omara Henry the production manager and Amolo Herbert the Quality assurance manager. They also currently employ one female youth to help in sales and hope to employ more youth as the business expands with the goal of reducing youth unemployment.
What works better? Agri-entrepreneurship model inspired us
The inspiration to make dreams come true started after we joined Gulu University for our Master’s in Agri-Enterprises Development in 2017. During the very first entrepreneurship lecture, Our Lecturer opened with this phrase “money defecates money”– narrates Okello Robine the general manager and Team Leader of the group. He says that this meant that one should put money in a business to make more money.
The Gulu University Student Enterprise Scheme (SES) Model
At Gulu University specifically the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment has a well-articulated designed Agri-entrepreneurship model that exhibit practical approach of Agri-entrepreneurship training branded as the Student Enterprise Scheme (SES) in which students work as a group to develop, defend, implement and evaluate agribusiness plans. It was from this hub that we were guided and supported with funds on credit to actualize economically viable and commercially sound business plans. The model also allow students to get connected to credit and micro-finance initiatives to enhance their entrepreneurial success. Action taken by the department of Rural Development and Agribusiness partner with the Agripreneurship Alliance allowed sponsorship for all students pursuing MSc. Agri-enterprises Development at Gulu University to pursue an online course offered by the African Management Initiative (AMI) on “How to write an agribusiness plan” for one month.
In 2018, the Agripreneurship Alliance put up a competition with a prize of $1,000 for the best business plan during the course. JuFresh Team took part in the competition and emerged as the best group selected from Gulu University, Uganda. Because of the potential of the business, the prize money was topped up by the faculty with funding from the Student Enterprise Scheme (SES) project at Gulu University further supported by RUFORUM-MASTERCARD Foundation. The student enterprise loan scheme worth Uganda shillings two million was given to Jufresh Enterprise and expected to be paid back in a period of one year. These sources of finance enabled JuFresh to start the enterprise since it allowed them acquire the basic assets like a juice cooler, blender and the raw materials. They hope to pay back within the shortest period possible as their business is registering increased sales on a daily.
Our average, their daily sales amount to Ugx 120,000/= with pocket friendly prices of juice ranging from 1000ugx to 2000ugx
Jufresh Enterprises future plan
In five years’ time, they hope to expand the enterprise to include fruit drying to reduce on fruit wastage during bumper harvest. They plan to then add value by chaning the dried fruits into powder to with a more prolonged shelf life. The group belives in Skills sharing and therefore plans to introduce business clinics at Gulu University campus where at least 20 students per academic year will be nurtured on various business aspects along fruits value chain. Additionally, in the long run, their vision is to commercialise this business by using bottles for packaging the fresh fruit juices for sale at national and international markets across the great Lakes regions.
- Watch Jufresh team on award winning ceremonies follow the link below at https://www.theagripreneur.org/interviews-video-resources
- Like the Facebook Page Jufresh Enterprises at https://www.facebook.com/jufreshenterprise/
My name is Melas Cayrol Adoko. I am a Beninese by nationality and currently pursuing a masters’ degree in Food Security and Community Nutrition at the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Gulu University, Uganda. My study at Gulu University is being sponsored by the Nurturing grant project which is funded by the Mastercard foundation.
At the end of my first year, I was selected by the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment (FAE) to teach undergraduate students as a graduate assistant. Currently, I am lecturing a course in post-harvest biology to the students of Bachelor of Science in Food and Agribusiness (BFA), year II. The course provides the students with knowledge and skills for understanding internal and external factors determining post-harvest quality of agricultural produce.
In addition, because I know both French and English, I have been recruited by the University as a part-time business French lecturer in the department of public administration, Faculty of Business and Development studies of Gulu University. This course focuses on equipping students with basic skills in business French, with a greater focus on enabling them to hold short conversations in basic French, receiving and serving clients using everyday expressions and structures in French, as well as acquiring the four basic language skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking at an elementary level.
To me, teaching a foreign language (French) to Anglophone students is a unique experience and opportunity that the Nurturing grant program has afforded me. I am delighted to be involved in University lecturing because it has enabled me to improve on my presentation and explanation skills. On the other hand, I have been receiving encouraging feedbacks from students who testify that I am impacting their lives in one way or another.
This experience and mentorship has enabled me to decide on my career path which is to continue teaching both food science related courses and applied French and pursue a PhD degree upon completion of my master’s program.
I am grateful to Gulu University, RUFORUM and the Nurturing grant project for giving me the chance to pursue my master degree at Gulu University.
About Melas Cayrol Adoko
He is abeneficiary of the MCF@RUFORUM Scholarship and was among the first cohort pursuing Masters’ degree in Food Security and Community Nutrition at the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment, Gulu University