The high-level two-day stakeholders’ conference, held on the theme: ‘Repositioning Higher Education in West Africa for the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities’, brought together vice chancellors of some of West Africa’s most notable universities, academics and researchers, among others.
In his presentation, Hebert Robinson, vice chancellor of the University of The Gambia, expressed delight and satisfaction on behalf of his institution for being granted the opportunity to host the sub-regional event.
He said the occasion would give stakeholders the opportunity and platform to highlight achievements, as well as areas that need improvement, further emphasising cooperation among universities in the sub-region.
In his address also at the conference, the Chairman of AWAU, Prof. Adullahi Bala, stated: “The fact that this conference is being held here in The Gambia is itself an act of providence of deep significance. We may recall that the present executive committee of AWAU took the mantle of leadership on 10th October 2019, with a three-year mandate, the tenure of which should have lapsed by 2022.
“Additionally, AWAU has since 2013 unfailingly organised annual conferences to deliberate extensively on issues concerning higher education in West Africa. Previous conferences were held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (2013), Cape Coast, Ghana (2014), Abuja, Nigeria (2015), Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire (2016), Niamey, Niger Republic (2017), Dakar, Senegal (2018) and Benin Republic (2019),” he added.
Also, he noted that the engagements and discussions during the conference would further lead to the refinement in their plan to reposition AWAU as major platform for advancing the cause of higher education in West Africa.
AWAU was formed on 10 January 2011 in a well-attended meeting by vice chancellors of West African universities, as need for West African universities to come together to address the challenges facing the sector.
Its purpose include initiating collaboration among universities in West Africa, enhancing higher education in the sub-region, as it is the case in other Africa sub-regions, and the improvement of infrastructure across the sub-region, which will also serve to improve manpower development
Among other things, it is also envisioned that its formation will be relevant to the achievement of the goals of the Association of African Universities (AAU) and that it will aid in the provision of qualitative higher education in West Africa that could guaranty employability.