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Welcome to the Africa-India
Rising Africa and India’s role in Strengthening Education Sector PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 14 March 2014 08:18

Rising Africa and India’s role in Strengthening Education Sector

Prof Suresh Kumar


The post 1990 Africa has encountered effectively the challenges of the hunger, drought, famine, war, disease, etc and has moved towards the progress. The classical economic theory of comparative advantage teaches that all nations would benefit and more wealth created if every country should:

(a) specialize in an economic activity in which it has relative efficiency (or comparative advantage); and

(b) trade with other countries in activities in which its efficiency is less (Goldstein 1999: 345).


Comparative advantage can occur as a result of a natural niche or, as scholars who have criticized the classical theory argue, through deliberate government policy (Zysman 1983).How such advantage comes about should not detain us unduly so long as a country has it. Post 1990 Africa is on the way of changing economic and political domain through globalization and needs a serious orientationtowards education sector to strengthen political, social and economic development and accountability towards people; at the same time avoiding the colonial pattern of education.

It is the time to recall the colonial period under which the education was given to fulfill colonial master’s economic needs and to mouldsocial orientation of African societies for their vicious motives. The colonial brutal reality is that the access to education remains a privilege- not a right- available to only a small minority and the schools and universities opened to only a small sector in Africa to reflect the social values of the minority they served. Along with it, the most damaging legacies of colonialist presences in Africa is the separation of education from the overall political, economic, social and cultural development of peoples. And yet, neither educational institutions nor the policies which govern them can be neutral because of their link to the economy and the dominant social values of the society of which they are a part. ‘Colonial education had a special function: to provide necessary support personnel for the church, state or colonial economy. If the Africans receiving this education yearned for more knowledge or through their ingenuity read prohibited books or “misinterpreted” their sources, such as the Bible, and exposed the prevailing contradictions to the colonialists, they were considered dangerous to the existing colonial infrastructure and were often incarcerated in colonial jails because of their beliefs. During colonial times, education provided produced both the “docile” or cooperative Africans and others who were able to penetrate the colonizers’ minds and expose the colonizing myth for what it was in reality: the deliberate exploitation of the uneducated masses with the active collaboration of the new educated elite’ (Rodney 1974: 249, 253). The analysis strongly highlights the perspective of schools and universities that were reinforcing rather than challenging the existing patterns of dependence and inequity which impeded relevant development in colonial Africa.Julius K Nyerere opined, “Indigenous African education was relevant and closely linked to the spiritual and material aspects of social life before colonization by European imperial powers. There was neither little separation of learning and productive labor nor any consequent division between physical and intellectual labor. This educational process reflected the realities of African society and produced people with an education which equipped them to meet the material, spiritual and social needs of the society” (Nyerere 1968: 268).


Infact, colonial cultural expansion meant the expansion of school system that measured cultural and scientific advance by the number of students who could clearly demonstrate (by examination) that they had been pumped full of a foreign heritage. Thus, the colonial school was primarily a channel of social upward mobility for a tiny minority rather than a means of educating the entire population. As Walter Rodney has observed, it was never thought necessary to educate the masses “because only a minority of the [African] population entered the colonial economy in such a way that their fully in keeping with the overall objective of colonial education, to produce an indigenous elite to ensure that the colonial settlers and various public services of the conies could meet the personal requirements of the settlers themselves (Rodney 1974: 269).

Post independent Africa (1950-70) worked for the growth of the education sector and has produced large numbers of graduates, at both the secondary school and university levels, but severe financial constraints and political pressures had prevented the economies from diversifying and have greatly reduced the numbers of jobs, relative to the numbers of school-educated people qualified to fill them. The result has been a massive brain drain from Africa to the developed industrialized states of Europe (whosoever acted as colonial power earlier), which has exacerbated the inherited problems of inequality, dependence, and underdevelopment. The period of 1950-1990 dealt with the education pattern tied to a colonial heritage and has contributed immeasurably to the magnification and dramatization of the social distances between the educated and the uneducated. Broadly, the theory and practice of colonial education was to train Africans to help man the local administration at the lowest ranks and to staff the private capitalist firms owned by Europeans. ‘In effect, it meant selecting a few Africans to participate in the domination and exploitation of the continent as a whole. It was not an educational system that grew out of the African environment or one that was designed to promote the most rational use of material and social resources. It was not an educational system designed to give young people confidence and pride as members of African societies, but one which sought to instill a sense of deference to all that was European, American and capitalist culture. Education in Europe was dominated by the capitalist class. The same bias was automatically transferred to Africa; and to make matters worse the racism and cultural boastfulness harboured by capitalism were also included in the package of colonial education. The colonial school education was meant for subordination, exploitation, the creation of mental confusing, and the development of underdevelopment’ (Rodney 1974:241: emphasis mine).

After stating that avoiding the colonial pattern of education today and coming back to the arguments of refreshing education sector of post 1990 Africa, the need is to understand the role of education in building the agriculture, industrial, health, defence, science & technology and civil society. African democratic leaders exert to foster the spirit of self-reliance and sustainable development today that is accomplished through rejuvenated education sector as per the need of the people.

Education has been a means of transmitting one’s culture from one generation to another. It is the process of bringing about a relatively permanent change in human behavior. The philosophy of traditional education was very pragmatic and was designed to form a gateway to the life of the society. Africa needs to pursue an educational policy aiming at shaping the individual into a sound, well informed, useful and patriotic citizen of his country. In order to achieve this objective, the country provides educational opportunities for all citizens at primary, Secondary and tertiary levels. Today, the education system and its products of any country are the pre-requisite for its development and prosperity. Human resources is the most important part of infrastructure where in as good the system, as much will be the availability of manpower. One thing to be taken into account is to provide secure employment opportunities to the graduates so as they don’t leave the colleges disheartened as it was happened in the 1970-1990s with the graduates of African universities. The pattern of Education must produce enough students with post-secondary education to satisfy the nations need for high level manpower.

Demographically, Africa’s median age at present is 20 and that is the strongest pillar of human resource and hence needs better education and employment opportunities in their respective countries. ‘Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown noted at one World Economic Forum session that currently 61 million school-aged children in Africa are not being educated. The demands on educational infrastructures suggested by these numbers are almost beyond comprehension — not least because of the dearth of qualified, or in many cases even literate, teachers’ (Shapiro 2013).The planning and control of education to which the African countries governments are committed as part of the general planning of national development require a concentration of power in the hands of the government sufficient to secure orderly growth and to overcome sectional obstacles to growth. ‘A concentration of power does not, of course, imply dictatorship, since the schools cannot be run without the willing co-operation of a great many people, and such co-operation can only be obtained on terms that imply a measure of decentralized responsibility. The questions that have to be answered are how much responsibility is it right and necessary to delegate to local bodies in order to secure their enthusiastic help for running schools and whether this measure of delegation is compatible with the central government’s responsibilities for planning and general control’ (Carter 1966: 18).

Rightfully, the question arises ‘Is Africa rising? Judging by the buzz and optimism of the young business leaders and political trailblazers from across the continent who gathered in Cape Town for the World Economic Forum on Africa recently, the answer is a qualified “yes.” The African Leadership Network — co-founded by Stanford graduates Fred Swaniker, now the CEO of the African Leadership Academy, and AchankengLeke, director of McKinsey’s Nigerian operations — is emblematic of a new generation of leaders who brim with sophisticated confidence about Africa’s emergence. They are part of the coming elite whose ideas shaped the discussion in Cape Town’ (Shapiro 2013). The world economic outlook had made a comparative study of GDP at constant prices change and found the rising position of Sub-Saharan Africa (Table-1) that shows the rising Africa. It has projected the future growth of the region (2013-2018) and this debate of rising Africa has positive reports. The last decade has shown the six of the world's ten fastest-growing countries belong to Africa (Figure-1). It has grown faster than East Asia and the IMF expects Africa to grow by 6% this year and nearly 6% in 2012, about the same as Asia (IMF 2013 & Figure-1).

Criticizing the rising Africa, it is observed that the continent's future appears to be bright, but do growth figures reflect an improving quality of life? The problem, though, is that most of this wealth is extractive. Patrick Smithsaid, “there is lack of value addition on the African side. The energy companies are seeing massive domestic demand from Asia and they are capitalizing on that” (Smith 3 August 2013). The value addition has become the most important issue in the African economy and post 1990 Africa has taken it as a serious aspect of its economic development. To begin with, it is entitled that rising Africa and India’s role in strengthening education sector enshrines value addition in its relationship with the continent. India shares humane concern and develop its own understanding on food security, climate change and energy security in the current international setting. It takes energy security both as an opportunity as well as a challenge because of its trans-national character that desires a coherent global response. India is dependent on oil and gas and Africa is contributing 15% share in reducing India’s dependency on oil. India believes that refinery technology using for crude oil should access to all. India is leading a campaign to re-write intellectual property rights (IPR) in favour of all the developing countries particularly for oil clean technology. It shows a major difference as compare to other countries practicing foreign economic policy. ‘We urge the international community to give real and immediate effect to commitments on climate change, especially in the areas of technology transfer, financing and capacity building. There is also need for a closer look at the IPR regime to ensure cost-effective transfer of appropriate and advanced clean technologies to developing countries’ (Delhi Declaration 2008: 3).India respects value addition in exploration, assisting in settling their different sectors including education and committed its partnership developing Africa’s capacity building as per the need of individual countries. The transfer of technology needs educated and professional African entrepreneurs and India’s role in strengthening education comes here and will be elaborated later.

The other criticism is raised in terms of that ‘the Africa’s real rise will only come about if resources can be taken control of by educated Africans and used to lessen inequality and spread wealth. As with many countries in the West, a so-called “rise” could really just mean a triumph of free market economics and an increase in inequality. This might suit an elite group of African power-players and Western CEOs, but it won’t do anything for ordinary men and women across the continent’ (Kwapong 1988).This economic growth cannot go long if there is a disparity between educated work force and development. The similar opinion is felt by Ian Shapiro and he stated, “Then there are concerns about the shape of economic growth. Unless economic resurgence steers Africa’s economies in more diversified directions, the dangers of cronyism and misgovernment long associated with the oil curse will remain. Winner-take-all economics begets loser-lose-all politics. Mozambique’s natural gas bounty could do for it what North Sea oil did for Britain and Norway, but there are also the Libyan, Venezuelan and Russian possibilities. Ditto for Nigerian oil” (Shapiro 2013).

Politically, Africa is moving towards democratization and elected government and as a result, around 47 countries have adopted parliamentary system. Positively, Africa has youth in majority today and need education and skill development that will act as a front runner force to run the economic development. The runner force will act as the right working force as being educated and will nourish the family and society in large. The common consensus among Africans today is that the central government must take the responsibility subject to standards in staffing, curricula and building school and infrastructure. The Central government must take the responsibility of financial supervision and grant-aiding of local organs of educational administration.

Need of Education and Africa Development

1.The period of 1950-1990 in Africa

The post 1950 Africa educational system has not developed and fails to solve the socio-economic problems of the population,which is mounting urban unemployment, the problem of underemployment, shortage of critical and relevant skills, dependence on foreign countries for subsistence, and critic availability of basic comforts of life.There is genuine rationale to emphasize the fundamental task of education in the sectoral development in Africa. Jawaharlal Nehru rightly pointed out, “Standard of education and even now the opportunities for education there are meager. But now African students are able to come to India and other countries too for their studies. They will be able to shoulder more responsibilities in the advancement and progress of their country. We are passing through many strange phases of human history. The future of humanity depends on the issues now before the Great Powers. The colonial revolution started earlier in Asia has gone far, but in Africa conditions are different. Nothing can be said how long it will be before the revolution there is complete but it is certain that its pace will gain speed and Africa is bound to play an important role in world affairs” (Jawaharlal Nehru 1953).

Education is an intrinsic part of life and development. Education is a prerequisite to development. The basic parameter of education is to get satisfaction of human need for knowledge, offers to meet other basic needs and accelerate sustainable development.The market economy respects skilled manpower for both the formal and informal sectors of the economy and facilitates the means of developing the knowledge, skills, and productive capacities of the labor force, and acts as a catalyst in encouraging modern attitudes and aspirations. Criticizing the present education system in Africa, Alexander rightly pointed out, “One of the major problems in our educational effort has been that we have been concerned with literacy in its different forms up to university. We called this education. As a result, you have now educated people, but educated for what – referred to as the popular dilemma in education? What is our philosophy for education as countries and as a continent? We have been stimulating basically a salary-oriented education, where the fact that one is educated was considered enough to be able to earn a salary. Not enough emphasis was laid on the ideals of productivity and bettering a country’ (Kwapong 1988:26).Further, the military rule and lack of democratic accountability in most of the African countries till 1990 has ignored the education system completely and eaten foreign assistance cam for the education sector. Hope Eghagha critically observed by saying, “Africa suffers from a persistent imbalance of disparity in educational development between different provinces, inadequate funding, scarcity of educational equipment and supplies, overcrowded classrooms, inadequate library and laboratory facilities, insufficient student housing, violence arising from the activities/operations of cultist student organizations, exam malpractice and general erosion of academic standards, insufficient places for students seeking admission into universities and other institutions of higher learning, and migration to other countries of teachers and other personnel in institutions of higher learning due to repression and infavourable conditions of service (the brain drain) (Eghagha 1999),among other problems.

Besides, the oil and rich mineral resources African countries (had no democratic system during this period) started earning and had US dollars in their reserve has a comparative advantage in their education system. Education begets critical human/labor resources without which economic development is made difficult, if not possible. These countries having rich resources harness its advantage simply by proper performance of the manpower development function and not aiming beyond this limited level. The comparative advantage the country should actually be aspiring for is making education its number one industry and a foreign exchange earner just like countries like Europe, USA and India. Only advantage achieved at this higher level holds the change of diversifying the country’s economy and yielding the other benefits such as depositing in the Swiss Banks and so on. Diamond observes, “Democracy is defined as a political system that meets a set of pluralist conditions or requirements, among them the existence of political parties, entrenchment of basic fundamental guarantees like free speech and free press, accountability to the electorate, and regular elections, to name just these requirements” (Diamond 1995: notes 6-7). The similar argument is raised in the international media explaining the real meaning of democratic system with example of Nigeria in Africa. Paul critically said, “But democracy of the kind we elaborate here, to truly depart from authoritarian military rule, must rise beyond minimalist requirements and procedures. It must be qualitative and its principles must be dynamic rather than fixed, the idea being progressive extension of democratic principles to all aspects of the national culture and political system, including relations within and among groups, governance of educational institutions, and decision making concerning allocations of educational resources, to name but these few elements. Democracy is not something solders just return to civilians after they have claimed their time at the trough. Any democracy that does not soar beyond the experiences of the First and Second Republics or depart qualitatively from the “military democracies” (Niwabuikwu 1999) of yesteryears will not work in Nigeria.

As a result of the broken democratic structure in African countries, the educated youth had left no option except to move to developed world. The remaining youth without the proper system of adequate education had no sufficient employment opportunities. But this stagnant political chaos did not work out with the people and more and more demands has cropped up in the ninties.

2. The period since 1990 in Africa

The post 1990 witnessed the major changes in the international politics and independence of South Africa was one of them. The market open economy has started linking the society into a global village. One of the major linking chains is the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) through the advancement of computer technology. Post 1990 African Societies realized that the future depends largely on the quality of its Citizen’s education. The experiences of unstable political system that forced the African educated youth to migrate in search of employment opportunities. One of the current trends of international African migration is its reorientation towards new geographical destinations. These alternative topographies relate to global transitions towards a new multi-polar world order, in which European and North American destinations gradually lose their attraction: Entry into the so-called Global North has become highly restricted, controlling state practices are applied more rigidly, and expressions of xenophobia and islamophobia are more common than even before. Additionally, labour markets in the Global North shrank due to the global financial crisis of 2008, wages declind and rights to old age pensions needed to be readjusted. As a consequence, many migrants moved for more promising opportunities in other geographical areas. They turned East (to Asia and the Arab World) or West (to Latin-America), mostly with the aim of establishing business or trading partnerships, to find work or to improve their, education. In some cases, they could build on historical alliances, a shared language or religion. In others, they gave preference to countries that provided relatively easy access and seemed receptive to migrants’ entrepreneurial spirit or their specific skills. In this sense, South-West or South-East African migration challenges the theorization of trans-nationalism and circular migration by questioning ideas of center and periphery that have typically entailed a crossing of hemispheres. Here the question is raised that there is a need to change the education system that should fit in the existing market environment to absorb the educated African youth on the land itself and avoid any more brain drain in Europe or America. It needs a major overhauling in the education sector. There is nothing magical about what proportion of its national spending a country sets aside for education-except that such allocation can be a good measure of an affected country’s “commitment to development through education (Habte 1993: 690).Africa seeks to renew the education system by adding the implant and authenticating social values, tackling the collapse of values and anomie so prevalent in the national society, instilling desirable values like cooperation, honesty, equity, justice, consensus, and collaborating and attacking on extant regionalism antithetical to national integration. Briefly, the knowledge that comes from education is necessary for good governance and constitutional guarantees like the free and compulsory education and equal opportunities for the employment barring the regional divisions in the society. Democracy actually needs more participation of people that will provide the basis or environment for the pursuit of higher education. Only democracy can effectively deal with certain constitutional issues such as education, specifically, here, the imbalance in favor of the central government. A constitution in different countries in Africa generally makes education a subject on the concurrent list, meaning it is a responsibility of all three levels of government, local, state, and national, especially the sharing of the last two. This must change and federal balance restored through devolution and decentralization in managing the national educational system. Moreover, democracy and education are the two sides of a coin and the relationship between the two is a two-way traffic. Education can promote democracy; democracy has also been known to benefit education. As Thomas R. Dye recounts, tracing the early history of public education in America, “the logic of democracy led inevitably to public education. The earliest democrats believed that the safest repository of the ultimate powers of society was people themselves. If the people make mistakes, the remedy was not removed power from their hands, but to help them in forming their judgment through education” (Dye 2000: 457).

The education strengthens the means of income today and paves the way for secured education, higher income and better employment for future generation. Education influences social welfare through its indirect effects on health, fertility, and life expectancy and helps to increase the profitability of other forms of social and physical investment. Broadly, the development is the integral element of education throughout the world including Africa with the following objectives such as:

Firstly, the young human resource of African society needs education and human and financial resources permit, with the ultimate goal of developing a comprehensive scientific system of education of all levels and for all age groups

Secondly, the African governments should pursue free and compulsory education taking care of equitable distribution of educational opportunities in urban as well as rural areas to minimize the existing inequalities based on sex, economic status, and geography.

Thirdly, Africa needs to accomplish modern education policy for the betterment and optimum use of resources and avoid the students dropping out or repeating grades. The University of Delhi in India has adopted a four year bachelor program with the understanding to minimize the drop out of students on the one hand and provide the certificate (diploma after two years, graduate degree after passing three years and graduate honors degree after four years) as per their qualifications.

Fourthly, the modern education policy should be directly connected to the job market that will equip the students with the knowledge and skills needed to find employment. The University of Delhi has common foundation course in the first year in their respective disciplines (Art, Commerce, Science and Social Sciences students), discipline course-I in the second year, discipline course-II in the third year and application course in the fourth year. The scope of the students after having diploma can be good teachers in schools with relevant prequalification, can work in NGOs, in retail business, run a crèche or play schools. Similarly, after having Bachelor degree, students can work in NGOs, retail sectors, BPO industry, technical jobs in media industry and fashion houses and after completing four years, students are more specialized in their respective disciplines ; and

Fifthly, Africa needs to strengthen the institutional capacity to formulate and carry out education policy and to plan, analyze, manage, and evaluate education and training programmes and projects at all levels.

These broader parameters of the education policy will enable universal education in Africa. The market based education system strengthens the external and internal efficiency and enhance output quality. The external links of the policy relates to schools, universities, or training institutions provide the necessary skills for the smooth running of the economy and absorbing the school-leavers or graduates into the labor market, find the jobs and the earnings as per their qualifications using their skills in employment. The new education pattern balances the general education, diversified schools, technical institutes and vocational schools, on-the-job training, and non-formal educational programmes. The higher education under the education pattern effectively coordinated or integrated into the overall national educational and research programmes and acts as an effective interface in developing the agriculture, industry, and commerce.

Overall, there is need to improve the quality and relevance of education in the post 1990 Africa. Only a small proportion of children are reaching the minimum required competencies and Africa’s education systems are not performing to the standards as per the expectation of the changing political and economic environment. Primary education should serve to help the child towards self realization and to relate to others through mutual understanding. The Socio-economic progress among the industrialized states has been propelled by advances in science and technology. The objective of science and technology policy was to e-orient the entire society towards scientific thinking in order to develop new technologies and adopt existing ones to improve societal well being and security.

Along with it, the teachers need to be well trained and have a desired motivation for their refresher as well as orientation courses. The education pattern in Africa should be geared towards self realization, better human relationships, self and national economic efficiency, citizenship and national reconstruction. ‘Sub-Saharan Africa pursues an educational policy with aims at shaping the individual into a sound, well-informed, useful and patriotic citizen of his country. In order to achieve these objectives, Africa is moving forward to provide educational opportunities to all the citizens at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Education must make one great attempt at making an individual socially efficient, adequately equipped not only with all mean for earning his bread, but also imbued with the spirit of playing an efficient role in society with the object of making it a richer better and more attractive a medium to breathe in.

African governments have the principal responsibility for adequate financing of basic education and the democratic governments are willing to strengthen this sector as per their needs. The governments need to facilitate the partnership at all levels with civil society, agencies, the private sector, NGOs, religious groups, communities, parents and teachers associations, teachers trade unions and families. The African education system needs to play an important part in strengthening economic development through adopting the following parameters such as:

· To accomplish the socio-economic needs of the children, it must review and redesign education curriculum and teaching methods.

· The reading material should be developed, produced and distributed at affordable prize.

· Integrate education into family, community and the work place.

· Introduce democratic values and practices into the conduct of teaching and learning.

· Develop field work/project work/excursion/co-curricular activities and linkage the education with the industries, NGOs, social sector and others.

· The print & television media network should encourage in organizing the public discourse on current educational issues in school, colleges and universities.

· Develop the internet network to connect the education system of home countries with the international education pattern spreading awareness worldwide.

India’s role in strengthening African Education

Going back to history, post independent India was seriouslyconcerned about education in Africa right from the days of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, when he mentioned, “The whole object of our giving scholarships to African students to come to India must take some positive measures to meet the situation. In fact, we should not mind spending some money. I am told, however, that it is not money that is required, but rather the human approach. They must be made to feel at home in India” (Note to the Secretary General 1954). Earlier, Nehru sent anote to Cabinet Secretary on New Delhi, 8 September 1952 and a copy was sent to Ministry of Education, regarding Scholarships for African Studentsmentioned that ‘I agree entirely with the proposal to increase the number of Scholarships from 70 to 100. I would specially encourage Africans from Africa to come to India, as facilities for their education are terribly limited and they are looking towards India (Note to Cabinet Secretary 1952: 380-81).Indian government keenly shared their available resource in the education sector. Nehru further urged, “Perhaps, you know that we have got nearly a hundred Government of Indian scholars from Africa in India, and we would like to increase them. Their hunger for education is tremendous. They want to get going. Thousands and thousands of schools are being started in East Africa from the pennies of the people. Whether these schools are good or bad, it is immaterial, I do not know, they may have been bad, but it shows their hunger for education. And it is a terrible thing that this desire to make good, is frustrated. It is crushed, because then all that turns into terrible bitterness, and I fear that bitterness is spreading in other parts of Africa too, all parts. And if that becomes, well, strongly entrenched, it is a bad outlook for the future for millions and millions of people in Africa. It inevitably takes a racial aspect, as it must.Of course, the principal economic problem of Africa is land. They have been deprived of their land. Then there is this racial discrimination problem, and unless this is met constructively you get the basis for future racial conflict on a big scale. That is why I am greatly worried about it (Press conference on Urge 10 June 1953: 400). Respecting their freedom struggle of that period, Nehru further stressed, “A variety of reasons has prevented people of Africa from attaining the standard of education and even now the opportunities for education there are meager. But now African students are able to come to India and other countries too for their studies. This pace will gain speed and Africa is bound to play an important role in world affairs.”(Travail of Africa 1953: 639-40).

Continuing the education support to Africa, different governments after Nehru supported this task. Surendra Pal Singh writes, “As for the material assistance to the people belonging to these colonies, the Government’s efforts have been primarily directed towards enabling them to equip themselves with necessary education and expertise to that they can carry forward the political awakening of the masses in their countries. Towards this end, India has been providing education and training facilities to a number of people from these territories. For example, 24 Angolan students received training in nursing and other technical fields in India. India has also been assisting in a modest way the FRELIMO in running its Mozambique Institute at Dar-es-Salaam.(Singh 1970: 4-8).

Hundreds of students from Africa came to India and received degree in the various disciplines right from sciences, law, medical sciences, agriculture, veterinary and social sciences till 1990s and served in their home countries in different capacities such as the former President of Malawi Mr. BinguWaMutharika received his first degree from the University of Delhi. Keeping this tradition alive, University of Delhi had honored President Mutharika with honorary doctorate on 5th November 2010. Many of the students, who attended Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Program (ITEC) courses, have risen to top positions in their respective fields, and some have gone on to become ministers. In Botswana, many officers in the defence establishment have been trained under this programme. In Tanzania, over 24 percent senior government officials have been through the ITEC experience (ITEC 2013).

Post 1990 India has gained its expertise in the science & technology and strengthened education in all spheres of human activities.Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam, the former President of India during his inaugural address to the African Parliament in Johannesburg on 16th Sep. 2004, proposed to connect all 53 AU member countries with Indian institutions with a satellite and fibre-optic network to share India’s expertise in the fields of Education and Health care for accelerated socio-economic development of Africa. Africa Union (AU) accepted the Indian proposal and signed an umbrella MOU with Govternment of India (through Ministry of External Affairs – Nodal Ministry). Govt. of India appointed Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL) as the turnkey implementing Agency of the project network through VSATs in 169 locations in Africa.

The ICT Equipments (Computer hardware, system software, networking equipment, studio equipment and UPS) at 170 locations in Africa (53 LC,53 PEL, 53 VVIP Node, 5 RUC, 5 RSSH and 1 DC at hub) and 19 locations in India (7 UC, 12 SSH and DC at Delhi) has connected the tele-education and tele-medicine application software.

The network would primarily provide e-Services with priority on tele-education andtele-medicine. It is a non-commercial project, funded by the Govt. of India at a budgetary cost of USD116 million. Different Indian Universities has been selected for providing Tele-Education services such as Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi, University of Madras, Chennai, University of Delhi, New Delhi, Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilaniand AMITY University, Noida. Along with it, Indian super specialty hospitals selected for Tele-Medicine such as All India Institute of Medical Sciences (A.I.I.M.S.) Delhi, ESCORTS Heart Institute and Research Center, New Delhi, MOOLCHAND Hospital, New Delhi, FORTIS Hospital, Noida, APOLLO Hospitals, Chennai, SRI RAMCHANDRA Medical College and Hospital, Chennai, NARAYANA HRUDAYALAYA, Bangalore, HEALTH CARE GLOBAL Enterprises, Bangalore, CARE Hospitals, Hyderabad, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), Kochi, Dr. BalabhaiNANAVATI Hospital, Mumbai and Sanjay Gandhi PGI, Lucknow.

The leading regional universities and super specialty hospitals of Africa selected by the AU such as Makerere University, Uganda, Kwame –Nkrumah University of Science & Technology- Ghana, University of Yaounde, Cameroon, Alexandria University, Egypt, Ibadan Hospital Nigeria, Brazzaville Hospital – Republic of Congo, Sir SeewosagurRamgoolam National Hospital, Mauritius and Alexandria University Hospital, Egypt. The major responsibilities of the AU member statesis to arrange to nominate a national coordinator, prepare the identified sites with necessary civil and electrical infrastructure and other required facilities, custom clearance of all materials imported into the country, including the exemption of customs duties and arranging necessary clearances from various regulatory agencies (VSAT, room for X-ray machine etc). Out of total, the beneficiaries African Countries are 47 as of now. As a result, Pan-Africa e-network is connected with 17 Super Specialty Hospitals (India – 12, Africa – 5), 12 Universities (India – 7, Africa – 5), 100’s of specialist doctors of India and Africa, 100’s of educational experts/professors of India & Africa, national coordinators, consignees, university coordinators, medicalcoordinators of African countries and beneficiary doctors, patients, nurses, paramedical staff, students, equipment operation staff in African countries.

The major benefits intended for African nations towards capacity building is by way of imparting education to 10,000 African students over 5 year period (2009-14) in different courses such as 2000 in PG Programs, 3000 in UG Programs and 5000 in skill enabling Certificate, Diploma and Post Graduate Diploma Programs. The tele-medicine components provides online medical consultation for one hour everyday to each country for 5 years, offline advice for 5 patients per day to each country for 5 years, continuing medical education for practicing Doctors and working Nurses/Physicians’ Assistants, to update their medical knowledge and upgrade their clinical skills.

The country-wise implementation status of tele-education refers to 43 countries such as Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad,, Congo, Comoros, Djibouti, D.R. of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Egypt, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea , Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Libya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe , Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.The tele-education work has accomplished in Namibia, Swaziland, Mali and Kenya in 2011. The AU has showed interest in 5 broad areas of education. Along with it, the educational programmesoffers various programs in different universities mentioned in Table-2.

Overall, the feedback from the participating nations about this education networksrelates to 4,000 students who have registered for various courses so far. Seychelles experience the actual reduction in health education budget,Senegal experiences of patients saving time and money, Ethiopia achieves success in all the fields and overall Africa’s demand for extending tele-education and tele-medicine in Rural Areasthrough PublicPrivate Partnership (PPP) model. Along with it, the government strengthens the environmental protection, Science & Technology and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to integrate local with the international community. The use of ICT provides opportunity to skilled human resource development to get the employment in the country and abroad accordingly. It helps the business community introducing their agro & other products, diversifying export and supply the processed goods as per the demand accordingly. The introduction of scientific agriculture implements, irrigation facility and environment friendly fertilizer and seeds,strengthening this sector on the one hand and generating skill-based employment opportunities, infrastructure development on the other hand and thereby strengthens the stability of the government. The investment in horticulture and floriculture are promoted and the government is looking for the Public-Private-Partnership in these sectors. Pan-Africa network has already covered 43 countries in Africa such as: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad,, Congo, Comoros, Djibouti, D.R. of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Egypt, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea , Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Libya, Liberia, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe , Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


Along with it, the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme in 2008 transforms capacity building and skills transfer to hundreds of thousands of students, professionals, and mid-career diplomats in 160 countries across continents, including Africa, Asia, Latin America and East and Central Europe. In-fact, ITEC programme was launched in 1964 as a bilateral programme of assistance; India has been "sharing its knowledge and skills acquired in its own development process with other developing countries going through the same process of development. India is helping 161 countries, with many in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, in a big way in capacity building under ITEC. Under capacity building, the ITEC partner countries send officials to India for training in fields like IT, entrepreneurship and English language, or India sends its experts to advise on how to set up similar institutions. One major part of ITEC is the scholarships - for courses in IT, English and entrepreneurship - provided to countries as part of capacity building, covering the airfare, course fee, accommodation, project allowance and living allowance. The success of the venture can be gauged from the fact that in 2012, India offered 8,000 civilian courses and 1,500 defence courses. There are 47 empanelled institutions with 280 courses on offer. Around 900 slots were given to African countries", Kumar Tuhin, joint secretary, development partnership administration-II, in the external affairs ministry, told IANS (India-Africa Connect 2013). Similarly, “India is very advanced in areas of education and science and technology. India’s developmental experience is very relevant for the African continent,” says DrSalim Ahmed Salim, a former Prime Minister of Tanzania and a former Ambassador of Tanzania to India in the 1960s. In a similar vein, Togo’s Prime Minister Gilbert FossounHoungbo, a former UN official, sees India as “the world’s most populous democracy and a leader in frontier areas of knowledge” (ITEC 2013).

The success of the solar engineering training would ensure that it will become a regular feature of the ITEC. Over the next three years, more than 150 women would train to spread the light in their homelands, as it were. They were from different African countries, ranging from Sudan in the north to Namibia in the south and from Senegal in the west to Tanzania in the east. On an average, India spends about Rs.500 million ($10.8 million) on varied ITEC activities. Since 1964, India has provided nearly $2.5 billion worth of technical assistance to developing countries, including neighbouring countries. Over the years, India has spent around $1 billion over ITEC-related activities involving African countries (ITEC 2013).

Against the backdrop of the burgeoning popularity of the ITEC programme in African countries, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced an additional 500 slots for African students at the maiden India-Africa Forum Summit held in New Delhi in April 2008. “We will enhance opportunities for African students to pursue higher studies in India. As an immediate measure we propose to double our long-term scholarships for undergraduates, postgraduates and higher courses and increase the number of training slots under our technical assistance programmes from 1,100 to 1,600 every year. Both India and Africa are blessed with young populations. It is only by investing in the creative energies of our youth that the potential of our partnership will be fulfilled,” he said in the presence of African leaders (Forum Summit 2011).

Besides empowering them with life-sustaining skills, the ITEC programme also gives students from different countries a taste of the multicultural and pluralistic ethos of India. “Networking and bonding is incredible among students. Many of them have tears in their eyes when the course ends and most of them retain their bonds forged during this short programme,” recalls Primrose Sharma, who handled ITEC in India’s foreign office a few years ago. The ITEC has also become a powerful instrument of projecting India’s soft power and its cultural diplomacy as most of these students retain a life-long association with India long after their brief stay in the country. The extended fraternity, as an ITEC alumnus said, carries a bit of India in their hearts wherever they go (ITEC 2013).

Indian Investors and Africa Education

Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) has awarded scholarships to five Liberians to study for a Master's degree in engineering at the O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) for the next academic year, company spokesperson RashikaKaul told IANS. The students, nominated by the Liberian ministry of education, underwent an online entrance examination as well as interview by faculty members of JGU. The company awards scholarships to students from countries across Africa where it operates. "This is not the first time as we have offered scholarships to students in other parts of Africa," Kaul said in an email communication. Announcing the offer of the scholarships, JSPL's president of Global Ventures for North and West Africa, MilindOza, said the award of the scholarships was the company's way of contributing to human capacity lding in Liberia."JGU is committed to offering scholarship in the amount of one million rupees - the total cost for the entire course. This is in keeping with the Liberian Ministry of Education request for a 100 percent scholarship. It's worth about $80,000," Oza said. "JSPL has always believed in upliftment of the countries it operates in - a key element to this sustainable development focuses on providing world-class professional education to the youth to enable them acquire skills rendering to lifetime employment", Oza said. "The best way to provide value for what we do is through education. The scholarship is a full hundred percent one. From start to finish, we take care of them", he added.
Liberia's Minister of Education EtmorniaTarpeh has commended the company for offering the scholarships (Indiaafricaconnect 2013).

Along with it, Amity University, offers online ‘IT degrees and diplomas to 100,000 students on the African continent over the next five years. The 100,000 IT students will be trained at 53 learning centers in the 53 African Union countries under the Pan-African E-network project. The Pan-African e-Network project is a joint initiative of the government of India and the AU and is funded by India at an estimated cost of US$116 million (Amity University 2012).The projecthas three components oftele-education, tele-medicine and diplomatic communications, which is coordinated by the ministries of ICT wherever it has been adopted. Uganda, has hosted the tele-education component at Faculty of Computing and Information Technology in theMakerere University. The faculty, a partner institution with Amity University, has invited applications for interested students. The courses offer a Bachelor of IT, a post-graduate diploma in IT and a diploma in IT. Amity University will provide virtual educational services through e-learning technology and video-conferencing facilities set up at Makerere University. Makerere University, in turn, will be providing support to universities in eastern Africa. Eligible students enrolled in various programs will be required to attend classes in the learning centers set up in each member country as part of the project. Learning centers would offer pre-defined lecture schedules available at a tele-education portal. The experienced faculty staff delivers the live, interactive lectures from the tele-education studio set up in India and provides the offline access to the lecture content.

Similarly, NIIT has training and educational centres in the different African countries (Table-3). NIIT, the leading Global Talent Development Corporation, ventured into the Africa over a decade ago by setting up its first IT education centre in Botswana in 1997. For more than a decade now, NIIT has been involved in creation of skilled ICT manpower in the continent and has trained nearly 150,000 students till date. The talent development company is touching over 20,000 learners every year, through three dozen learning centres in 8 African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Libya, Sudan, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Similarly, the DNIIT program is the most popular IT training program in many African countries. NIIT has enabled thousands of young people in these countries to join the global IT workforce, many of whom are working in large IT and non-IT organizations such as Debswana, Govt of Botswana, Zenith International Bank, Shell Corporation, Total, Dunlop, Chevron Texaco, Tower Aluminum, Unilever, Mobitel, Grant Thorton, Barclays, Standard Bank, Multilink, Shell, Afribank International, Unilever, First bank, Union Bank, Zenith Intl Bank, UBA, Linkserve, KPMG, Ericsson etc. Along with it, NIIT regularly offers scholarship programs for students. NIIT's scholarship programs in countries such as Nigeria & Ghana have witnessed overwhelming response by over 50,000 students participating in a single event. It now plans to scale up operations and forge partnerships with more Universities and Colleges to extend its IT training offerings for the youth in Africa (NIIT 2013: emphasis mine).

NIIT has also been instrumental in providing IT and soft skills development programs for employees of large organizations. The talent development organization now plans to address the need for developing ICT skills among children by offering its learning solutions for the school segment, in many African countries. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), India's apex industry body and NIIT, leading Global Talent Development Corporation have entered into an agreement to help create ICT infrastructure and foster International Software Talent in the African continent. As part of this capacity building and skill development endeavour, NIIT and CII will share high quality education resources from India and involve other appropriate players from the Indian industry to help Africa develop human capital for the global IT industry. NIIT will provide relevant IT curricula in line with international IT trends, and content for IT, soft skills and entrepreneurship for training in Universities and Colleges in Africa. CII on the other hand will facilitate internship with the Indian industry (CII 2008). This agreement endeavours the capacity building partnership fostering talent in Africa for global IT industry. In future, NIIT and CII will work together and explore modalities of embedding NIIT's industry endorsed IT training programs in the curriculum of universities and colleges in Africa, under its 'NIIT Inside' model. Both organizations will also look at possibilities of establishing 'Centers of Excellence' for Talent Development in different African countries.

NIIT's Corporate Learning Solutions, offers integrated learning solutions (including strategic consulting, learning design, content development, delivery, technology, assessment and learning management) to Fortune 500 companies, Universities, Technology companies, Training corporations and Publishing houses.

NIIT performance in enhancing education

It is better to take some case studies to evaluate the performance of NIIT in different African countries such as:

1. Ghana

NIIT has formed an academic alliance to offer Computing degree programmes. The Open University's widely acclaimed degree programme, BSc. (Hons) Computing and its practice and the NIIT have formed the alliance. Now, the students in Ghana would have the chance to obtain an international degree in IT without leaving the country. NIIT took the initiative in the partnership of the Open University, UK, and offers the joint degree in B.Sc. (Hons) Computing & its Practice in Ghana. It gives an opportunity to address the growing need for trained IT professionals from many more countries. The unique combination of NIIT's global experience and delivery model with the Open University's distinctive competencies in supported open learning worldwide gives the alliance great potential to make a difference in the world of higher education. NIIT offers a new curriculum 'Mastermind Series (MMS)' that incorporates the latest technologies. The students would have a chance to acquire Dual Qualifications by registering for this programme. It is a 360-credit points degree programme. 240 credit points will be achieved by completing DNIIT (Hons) programme at NIIT that comprises of first 10 quarters of MMS (Table-3). The duration of the Top-up Degree Programme would be one year and will lead to an award of the balance 120 credit points. B.Sc. (Hons) Computing and its Practice Degree would be awarded by The Open University, UK (Ghanaian Chronicle 2013).

2. South Africa

NIIT has proposed a framework for developing ICT infrastructure in the country and flagged off series of training initiatives for the youth in the region (Table-3) and it can play a key role in providing talent for the global manpower needs. NIIT develops a growth strategy for the country’s ICT industry in areas including Telecommunications, Broadcasting Digital Migration, e-skills development, Small Medium and Micro Enterprise support and e-Governance. According to Mr. Rajendra S. Pawar, “There will be an estimated shortage of nearly 56 million professionals in the working age group in the developed countries, by 2020. Leading African countries like South Africa can play a key role by leveraging ICT to develop large talent pool for global manpower needs” (NIIT, 2013). NIIT has added 15 more training centres and forge partnerships with more Universities and Colleges to extend its IT training offerings for the youth and launched new training programs in the area of Software Engineering for Graduates since April 2008. NIIT’s plans to start ICT institute under Meraka in Johannesburg next year. NIIT, along with global technology giants Oracle and HP will be starting corporate schools for training employees of IT and non-IT companies in the country.

3. Botswana

NIIT is present in Botswana since 1997 and is one of the leading IT Training companies having 03 centres offering career courses in Botswana such as Gaborone, Francistown and Maun. It offers different program (Table-3) and alliance with International Universities and the government has awarded the TEC (Tertiary Education Council) Accreditation to NIIT. This accreditation offers to students to do a program from NIIT and the government Bursary look after their education. NIIT alliance with the Open University, UK is offering international degree path to the students in Botswana and is a widely sought after course with over 6000 students being currently enrolled in their centers (Botswana 2013).

4. Sudan

NIIT is present in Sudan since 2002 and is pioneering in corporate trainings on Swift and CATS programs (Table-3). There is a huge potential in terms of business in Telecom and other corporate sectors and NIIT is working to address this requirement. NIIT participates in many social activities in collaboration with the Government and private sectors on a regular basis as shown in Table-3 (Sudan 2013).

3. Libya

NIIT is working in Tripoli since 2005 and offers MMS and CATS programs (Table-3) to the individuals, having huge potential in terms of corporate markets especially in the Government sector which can maximize NIIT’s reach in every possible level and the student’s performance has been excellent since inception.

4. Senegal

NIIT is active since 2007 having one center in Dakar with the 500 students undergoing career as well as non career courses (Table-3). The medium of instruction is French language.


Critical Evaluation and Conclusion

Basic education is an essential step for meaningful technology acquisition, creation and transfer. Technology is the product of a very specific human activity within certain socio-economic relations and cultural and value systems. The so-called transfer of technology is no more than the transfer of products of that technology with all the values and lifestyles in them. The mere transfer of technologies does not lead to technology transfer unless one has the capacity to understand fully the knowledge and skills behind these techniques. Therefore, building national and regional research and development systems and improving one’s educational capability should be the major prerequisite for African countries to acquire effective technology and to hold their own in these global scientific and technological revolutions. The cultural dimension must be constantly borne in mind and indeed integrated into research and development programmes. The effective application of such research in the basic sciences and engineering should thus go hand in hand with advances in the Social Sciences and the Humanities but with a different type of relationship between scientists and other peoples and between the R&D systems and the productive sector.

Overall, African higher education, at the beginning of the new millennium, faces unprecedented challenges. The higher education is recognized as a key force for modernization and development. Africa's academic institutions under PPP model can work with the Indian institutions in securing the education, research, and services. Africans should come forward considering the current realities of their social, economic, and political problems.The road to future success will not be an easy one.The access to higher education, the challenges of funding, the growing role of private higher education institutions in Africa, governance and autonomy, management challenges, gender (including the access of women to higher education and the problems faced by women students and academic staff), the role of research and the problems of scholarly communication, language issues, and the brain drain needs to be tackled under the South-South cooperation. India is supporting the Africa's future academic developmentby providing academic and institutional expansion. Post 1990 phase sees the emergence of democratic political systems and a civil society is positively building. The revival of academic freedom and the commitment is seen in the higher education community as building successful institutions to strengthen the viability of academic systems. India enables in providinga vital area for development in African higher education and that is seen positively. This era belongs to the developing world and African higher education with India’s experience can assist in solving Africa’s problem of lack of trained and educated human resource through suitable planning and effective people’s elected leadership.


Last Updated on Sunday, 16 August 2015 10:34