On 31 January, heads of state and government convening at the 26th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, adopted the Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016-2025 (CESA 16-20). Developed by the African Union Commission to match 2016-2025 framework of the African Union 2063 Agenda, the ten-year continental strategy sets out 12 strategic objectives for the education and training systems to provide competent and qualified human resources that will drive sustainable development at national, sub-regional and continental level.
CESA 16-20 highlights a number of challenges faced by higher education sectors in Africa. Participation in tertiary education across the world’s youngest continent remains low, and despite a 50% participation rate in secondary education, still only 7% of the age cohort makes it into tertiary education. In this respect, additional infrastructure is needed along with innovative delivery modes such as distance and open and virtual learning to increase participation rates. The quality of university education continues to lag behind, and the underdeveloped state of post-graduate education is reflected in its miniscule contribution to research and innovation. Overall, Africa contributes only 1% of the global knowledge.
With respect to revitalising and expanding tertiary education, research and innovation, the strategy sets out the following objectives:
1. "Honour national commitment to allocate one percent of GDP to research and innovation;
2. Create conducive environments for research and innovation through the provision of adequate infrastructure and resources;
3. Link research to the development of priority areas and enhancement of global competitiveness;
4. Promote research on education and technical and vocational education and training;
5. Consolidate and expand centres of excellence and enhance institutional linkages in the continent;
6. Promote international research and development cooperation based on continental interest and ownership;
7. Expand competitive grants and awards and other support mechanisms to nurture young academics and accomplished researchers; and
8. Strengthen quality postgraduate and post-doctoral education to cater for expanding tertiary education as well as meet demand for high-level human capital."
Continental Education Strategy for Africa 2016-2025 (CESA 16-20)