There are a lot of education initiatives out there led by Africans itching to revolutionize the continent’s staid educational system. First Atlantic University is by far the most ambitious that I have seen.
A new university in Nigeria structured to provide quality education at competitive cost in Africa. It will have a Technology Park with an open innovation place. We will measure quality with three metrics – employability, citizenship and entrepreneurship. The school to be housed in a 250-acre land offers a vista to close the loop that exists within education, research and innovation in Africa by meeting the triple helix of educational, economic and scholarly impacts.
I had a chat with Ndubuisi Ekekwe, the Nigerian Diaspora, brain child of the project. He talked me through the genesis of the project and his wish to both modernize African tertiary education and setting a new standard of excellence for the continent’s education system. This is what he had to say
More than 10 million kids write the university entrance exams yearly in Africa; less than one million are admitted. There are about 4.1 million students in African universities out of near 1 billion population. In comparison, U.S. has one-third of Africa’s pop but has 22 million students in universities. Every year, 2 millions students write Nigeria’s university entrance exam for available space of 400,000. So, access is a big problem in the continent. That pressure contributes to lower quality as schools admit more than capacity.
I think we share the same fear that the continent’s future leaders aren’t being served appropriately in terms of education. If they are lucky enough to make it through secondary school, finding an upper level institution well-suited with vision to constructively prepare them as competitive job seekers, can prove impossible.
I like this idea and I hope the African Diaspora can get behind this idea and help bring it to fruition. I often talk about how we, as a Diaspora, need to start pooling our resources “harambe”-style to make huge projects like this one a reality.
Surely, it wouldn’t take much out of the $60 billion chunk we send home in remittances every year, to make this a reality. The project can get off the ground for $10-$20 million dollars. If 100,000 to 200,000 thousand of us dedicated $100 to this cause, we could do it! The question is, do we see the same vision that Ndubuisi sees. I surely hope so.
If Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, the open source operating system, can attempt something this audacious, sure the 6-7 million Africans living in the Diaspora and a the one billion on the continent can raise $20 million to fund the next generation university.