Critical Needs of African Universities: A Shared African-Japanese Perspective
Africa is experiencing an explosion in the number of universities and their student population. Borne out of our experience in academia, and informed by a theoretical model of knowledge production formulated by Gibbons (2002), this paper argues that besides the widely recognized need for better mobilization of resources for universities, there are other critical needs, including, a need for increased applied orientation of teaching and research programmes in order to enhance greater impact on poverty reduction and sustainable development and, thereby promote sustainability through demonstrated social relevance in the African continent. A way of achieving this is for the academic programmes to place more emphasis on linkages between the university researchers/academics and farmers, particularly for the purpose of improving locally adapted traditional knowledge systems for managing the continent’s rich biodiversity and natural resources, and upon linkages between researchers and manufacturers toward strengthening the underdeveloped industrial sector through value addition by processing. Other needs are greater external collaboration in knowledge sharing to generate positive synergies, and more imaginative internal revenue generation towards financially self-sustaining universities.
Key words: Africa, Japan, universities, needs, research, linkages, collaboration, sustainable development