Wisconsin University wins African Universities Debate

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Accra, Nov. 22, GNA – The Wisconsin International University College, has won the 2016 African Universities Challenge Championship Debate.

While the first and second runner up positions went to the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) and the Ghana Institute of Management and Pubic Administration (GIMPA).

The debate was organised by the Association of African Universities (AAU) as part of this year’s African Universities Day Celebration with an objective to promote critical dialogue among stakeholders on how to improve higher education in Africa.

The event was on the theme: “Entrepreneurial Learning and Communities of Practice.”

 The Inter-Universities Challenge was hosted by GIMPA with three-member students’ teams representing the three participating universities.

The teams were given an entrepreneurial challenge to solve and were scored on their problem solving/ critical thinking/innovativeness by a panel of judges.

Members of Team Wisconsin were Ekanem Blessing Etiene, Michael Nii-Ayitey Hammond and Princess Renice Anni; UPSA; Albert Mawuli Datsomor, Abraham Agblo Junior Teye and Okyere Darko Agyeman and the GIMPA Team; Samuel Aseidu Duah, Queen Agyeman and Polly Amponsah.

Professor Etienne Ehouan Ehile, the Secretary-General of the AAU, said the rate of unemployment among graduates in Africa could be said to have reached a worrisome level.

The World Bank in 2014, reported that as many as 50 per cent of graduates who leave Ghanaian universities and polytechnics failed to find jobs two years after their national service, and 20 per cent do not find jobs even after three years.

Prof Ehile noted that the situation was similar in Kenya and Mozambique, where the majority of university graduates relied on work in the informal sector, which was considered vulnerable employment.

“Due to this uncertainty in employability, mainly brought about by the lack of expansion of existing firms and lack of graduates with the requisite skills needed by specific industries, many calls have been made for African universities, in particular, to expose their students to the possibility of creating their own jobs by deepening their entrepreneurial skills,” the Secretary-General said.

“Quality entrepreneurial education/learning is arguably one vital tool for fighting against poverty and unemployment in Africa,” he added.

He said the effective implementation of quality entrepreneurial learning and systems by higher education institutions would therefore, enhance job creation, which would subsequently reduce unemployment, poverty and social vices in various economies on the continent.

Prof Joshua Alabi, UPSA, outgoing Vice Chancellor, in a speech read on his behalf, said the theme for the occasion: “Entrepreneurial Learning and Communities of Practice,” could not have come at a more opportune time given the high number of unemployed youth particularly graduates from higher educational institutions across Africa.

“This situation is indeed, a matter of deep concern and has engaged the attention of policy makers, educators, and managers of higher educational institutions; regarding the urgent need to stimulate job creation for the youth, who graduate from various higher educational institutions in Africa,” he said.

Prof Esther Sakyi-Dawson, the Director, Academic Quality Assurance Unit, University of Ghana, who chaired the debate panel of judges, hailed the contestants for their impressive performance.

She said, each participating Team, would have to further develop their topics in line with recommendations from the panel for it to be placed on the AAU’s website.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency, an elated Anni, expressed gratitude to the AAU for organising the debate; stating that although very challenging, it was worth participating in.

She also commended her colleagues for the hard work and team spirit, which earned them the first position.

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